Learning Forward
Conference Proposal System

The Learning Forward Annual Conference is used to advance Learning Forward's vision: Excellent teaching and learning every day. Proposals should align with the conference focus and Learning Forward's Standards for Professional Learning. To learn about Learning Forward's Standards for Professional Learning, visit our website.

December 1–5, 2018
Dallas, Texas
Send inquiries to: conferenceinfo@learningforward.org.

Proposals to Present Are Due February 6, 2018.

You will be notified of the status of your application by April 16, 2018.

Sample Blank Proposal Form


Prior to beginning the proposal submission process:

Once you begin the proposal submission process:

  • Read through the proposal form and draft your proposal in Word. That way you will have a copy if your submission fails for any reason.
  • Complete the online proposal.
  • Make a copy of your proposal and save the confirmation receipt from Learning Forward.
  • IMPORTANT: Once you "COMPLETE" and "SUBMIT" your proposal, no corrections will be accepted. However, you will be able to read your final proposal after you submit it and print a PDF copy.

You will be notified before April 16, 2018 regarding the status of your proposal.

Thank you and good luck!

Proposal Submission Tips

  1. Prepare a draft of your responses to the questions in the proposal form and save them as a Word file. When you are ready, cut and paste your responses into the final proposal form. Please note that ASCII symbols (i.e. trademark, copyright, superscript, etc.) may not appear in the form as they do in Word.
  2. Sessions that include school district/division employees are given priority. Those who work with schools are encouraged to submit presentations with practitioners as co-presenters.
  3. Sessions that include diverse presentation teams are also a priority in terms of selection for the program. The selection committees value diversity of presentation teams in terms of race, culture, gender, level of experience, or areas of educational expertise.
  4. Conference workshops are 5-hours, 3-hours, 2-hours, 30 minutes, and 6 minutes & 40 seconds in length. Sessions should be designed to engage participants. To ensure a high level of engagement, the session process outlined in the proposal is given greater weight than other criteria in the review process.
  5. The intent of our conference is to foster the beliefs, vision, and mission of the organization. All sessions should be designed from a professional learning perspective and align with the conference focus, Learning Forward's Standards for Professional Learning, and Learning Forward vision: Excellent teaching and learning every day.

Proposal Review Process

Proposals are reviewed by Learning Forward staff, the Host Committee, and other volunteers. Reviewers use the proposal scoring criteria below as the basis for scoring proposals and evaluating them. Every effort is made to have each proposal scored by a minimum of three reviewers. If you wish to be part of this review process, either remotely or in the host city, contact conferenceinfo@learningforward.org .

Proposal Scoring Criteria

  1. To what degree does the proposal address the Learning Forward vision, standards, and selected area of focus?
  2. To what degree does the proposal address how professional learning advances school or district/division improvement, student achievement, and educator performance?
  3. To what degree does the session proposal outline a process that models the best in adult learning, participant engagement, and clearly delineated session outcomes?
  4. To what degree does the proposal provide a unique, creative, or innovative solution to Learning Forward members and conference attendees?
  5. To what degree is the proposal informed by research and/or evidence-based practice?
  6. To what degree does the impact statement in the proposal demonstrate the effect of professional learning on student achievement, educator performance, and school or district/division improvement. If the professional learning has been implemented 3 or more years, please include impact data. If less than 3 years, include emerging data.
  7. Presentation teams that include school district/division employee(s) will be awarded additional points.

Conference Areas of Focus

  1. Learning Communities
  2. Leadership/Advocacy
  3. Resources/Technology
  4. Data
  5. Learning Designs
  6. Implementation
  7. Outcomes - Educator and Student Learning
  8. Equity
  9. Global/Emerging Issues
  10. Instructional Materials/Curriculum

Guiding Questions

Learning Communities: What are the essential conditions for establishing collective responsibility, authentic collaboration and trust? What are critical elements of communities/networks within and across schools and systems. How do you create, sustain, and evaluate school- and district-based learning teams?

Leadership/Advocacy: How do you develop, support, and strengthen the leadership of all educators to ensure all students are learning at high levels? How do leaders establish systems and structures that support effective professional learning and ongoing continuous improvement? How do you advance and sustain teacher leadership? How do you build support for professional learning through policy development, advocacy, and implementation? How do leaders support their own learning (self)?

Resources/Technology: How can you leverage technology, time, finances, and human capital for implementation of professional learning? What tools and processes help educators become critical and strategic decisions makers? How do you ensure alignment of resources across a system in support of professional learning?

Data: How do successful schools and teams use data-informed approaches (e.g. improvement science) to make decisions about instruction, professional learning, and resource allocation? How do you demonstrate the link among professional learning, educator practice, and student achievement? How do we measure the impact of professional learning experiences to inform teacher, school, and system decisions to drive continuous improvement?

Learning Designs: How do you apply the evidence base to inform the selection of learning designs? How do you develop learning designs and strengthen skills in planning, facilitating, presenting, and advancing effective, ongoing professional learning? What models and strategies support adults in building knowledge, skills and dispositions? What norms, protocols, processes, and resources support effective professional learning? How do you accelerate new teacher and leader efficacy and develop mentors?

Implementation: How do educators working at the team, school or district/division level apply the change process to transform professional learning? How do you promote sustainable change, increase educator effectiveness, and drive student achievement through professional learning? What support systems and follow-up strategies ensure deeper learning (adults and students) and sustained implementation of new practices?

Outcomes - Educator and Student Learning: How do you integrate educator and student performance standards and research-based practices to improve student learning? What professional learning will support the changes in planning and instruction needed to effectively implement standards or models of effective practice (e.g., deeper learning, content standards, leadership standards, performance standards)?

Equity: How do you acquire the skills, knowledge, and dispositions necessary to create culturally proficient learning systems that meet the academic and social needs of all demographic groups (i.e., race, class, culture, gender identity and learning differences)? What research-based knowledge, skills, and dispositions are required to personal education for each student to achieve educational excellence and equity? How do educators apply research on social emotional learning, the dynamics of systemic change, power, entitlement, and privilege to support learning for all?

Global/Emerging Issues: What future issues need to be addressed to ensure educators are teaching future-ready skills? What innovations will shape professional learning for the future? How do you ensure educators and students are prepared for global competition?

Instructional Materials/Curriculum: How do you institutionalize a coherent and aligned instructional framework? How has new research and resources, including OER, influenced practice in your organization? How do professional learning and curriculum implementation intersect in your PLCs? How doe teachers learn deeply and effectively adapt instructional materials and curriculum to their classrooms?

Presenter Requirements

Proposal Submissions
A presenter may submit or appear as a presenter/co-presenter on two proposals only.

All presenters and co-presenters must be conference registrants. Presenters must register for the conference by September 30, 2018. Presenters are expected to be learners as well as presenters.

Audiovisual Equipment
Session rooms will be provided with complimentary wifi and set with a screen, LCD projector. Sessions with 60 or more participants will get a complimentary wired mic. Presenters are responsible for ordering and paying for any other equipment or bringing their own.

Handouts or Other Materials
We will share handouts digitally with conference participants. Presenters are strongly encouraged to make handouts available online through Learning Forward for conference attendees. Presenters who prefer printed handouts are responsible for reproducing and providing all handouts for participants. All appropriate sources must be cited and permission, where required, must be obtained with regard to the materials used in the session.

Non-Commercial Policy
Learning Forward policy prohibits the sale of products and services during conference presentations. Presenters may not display or distribute brochures or order forms, talk about their services, promote themselves, or sell their publications. Referencing or citing a presenter's own publications is acceptable.

Selection Criteria

In addition to the scores awarded a proposal by reviewers, criteria that can be used to determine the selection of a proposal for the program include:

  • The number of submissions for an area of focus or topics addressed;
  • The number of hours requested in a proposal;
  • The composition of the presentation team;
  • Geographic location of the presentation team; and
  • Presentation history with Learning Forward.