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 7–11, 2019
St. Louis, Missouri
Send inquiries to: conferenceinfo@learningforward.org.

Proposals to Present are due by 11:59pm on Monday, February 4, 2019.

You will be notified of the status of your application by April 16, 2019.

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, 2019 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. Advocacy Efforts/Policy Development
  2. Developing and Supporting Leaders
  3. Equity
  4. Instructional Materials and Curriculum
  5. International Perspectives and Emerging Issues
  6. Leading Learning Systems
  7. Learning Communities and Continuous Improvement
  8. Learning Designs and Implementation
  9. Leveraging Coaches and Mentors
  10. Social & Emotional Learning and Health
  11. Using Data and Measuring Impact

Guiding Questions

Advocacy Efforts/Policy Development: How do teachers and school leaders build support for professional learning through policy development, advocacy, and implementation? What is the role of Standards for Professional Learning in establishing effective professional learning? What are the tools that support educators as they advocate for effective professional learning conditions at the school, district, state/provincial, and national levels? How do educators document and share evidence with policy makers about the impact professional learning has on student learning and educator professional learning to mobilize for action? How do external partners support advocacy efforts and policy development?

Developing and Supporting Leaders: What are essential knowledge and skills for leaders and decision makers at all levels of the education enterprise? What is the role of professional learning and leadership standards in leader recruitment, development, support, and evaluation? In what ways do systems identify, develop, and support classroom, school and district leaders? How do systems effectively design, implement and evaluate leadership pathways? How do leaders develop expertise in others about effective professional learning? What policies and practices effectively cultivate the development and support of teachers and school leaders? In what ways can leaders build a culture of trust where educators are skilled at giving and receiving effective feedback?

Equity: What strategies and drivers have demonstrated success in ensuring culturally proficient learning systems that meet the academic and social needs of each and every student (i.e., race, class, culture, gender identity, learning differences and other factors)? What research-based knowledge, skills, and dispositions are required to personalize education for each student to achieve equity and educational excellence? What types of learning might systems craft that help systems address their equity challenges and opportunities? How can systems influence policies and practice related to professional learning to address issues of equity?

Instructional Materials and Curriculum: How do educators institutionalize a coherent and aligned instructional framework/program? How are new research and resources, including OER/OEP (Open Educational Resources / Open Educational Practices), influencing practice? How is the selection of instructional materials and curriculum powerful professional learning? How do teachers learn deeply and effectively to implement and adapt instructional materials and curriculum for their classrooms? How do teachers adapt high-quality instructional materials without reducing rigor? How do systems support curriculum study, lesson study, and other processes that support deep exploration of high-quality instructional materials? How can educative materials be a vehicle for school and district improvement?

International Perspectives and Emerging Issues: What are the critical issues professional learning must address? How are systems transforming professional learning to achieve greater personalization for adults and students? What are some effective professional learning strategies and practices from around the world? What research is emerging from around the world related effective professional learning? How are new technologies changing the landscape of professional learning? What are implications for professional learning from new school models? What innovations will shape professional learning for the future? How do systems ensure educators and students are prepared for global competition? What are structures and policies to support transformation and moving toward deeper learning through next generation professional learning?

Leading Learning Systems: How do leaders establish systems and structures that support effective professional learning and ongoing continuous improvement? What are critical issues for professional learning in the transition to competency-based systems? In what ways can leaders facilitate, support, coach, personalize, and supervise professional learning to ensure all educators and students are learning at high levels? How do leaders support their own learning? What are the advocacy responsibilities of teachers and school leaders and how do they successfully implement them? How do leaders leverage technology, time, finances, and human capital? What tools and processes help leaders ensure alignment of coherent and relevant resources and make critical and strategic decisions? What are critical research findings related to this topic?

Learning Communities and Continuous Improvement: What are the essential policies and conditions for establishing collective responsibility, authentic, collaboration and trust? What are critical elements of communities/networks within and across schools and systems? How do educators create, sustain, and evaluate school- and district-based learning teams? What are policies, tools, protocols, and resources to guide and structure continuous improvement? How do educators promote sustainable change, increase educator effectiveness, and drive student achievement through professional learning?

Learning Designs and Implementation: How do educators apply the evidence base to inform the selection of learning designs? What are essential knowledge and skills associated with planning, facilitating, presenting, and advancing effective, ongoing professional learning? What norms, protocols, processes, and resources support effective professional learning? What are innovative approaches to engaging adult learners and how is impact measured? What support systems and follow-up strategies ensure deeper learning (adults and students) and sustained implementation of new practices? How can reflection and effective feedback lead to stronger and sustained implementation of new practices? How do external partners contribute to effective designs and implementation?

Leveraging Coaches and Mentors: How do systems accelerate new teacher and leader competency and efficacy and increase retention? What are innovative and effective models of coaching and mentoring? How do mentors and coaches provide effective feedback to improve educator practice and results for students? How do systems prepare and support mentors and coaches? What are the critical attributes of effective mentoring and coaching programs?

Social & Emotional Learning and Health: What critical research findings are essential for educator understanding and application? How do educators apply research on social emotional learning, the dynamics of systemic change, power, entitlement, and privilege to support learning for all? How are SEL practices integrated into classroom and school practices? What are some common implementation challenges and strategies to address them? How is impact of SEL documented and used to advocate for continuous support?

Using Data and Measuring Impact: How do successful schools and teams use data-informed approaches (e.g. improvement science) to make decisions about instruction, professional learning, and resource allocation? In what ways are educators documenting evidence about the link among professional learning, educator practice, and student learning? How do educators measure the impact of professional learning experiences to inform teacher, school, and system decisions to drive continuous improvement and enlist decision-maker support? What protocols, processes, and resources support the use of assessment for learning to improve teaching and learning?

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, 2019. 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.