Learning Forward
Conference Proposal System

The Learning Forward Annual Conference is used to advance Learning Forward's vision: Every educator engages in exemplary professional learning so every student excels. Proposals should align with the conference's areas of focus and Learning Forward's Standards for Professional Learning. To learn about Learning Forward's Standards for Professional Learning, visit our website.

December 8–11, 2024
Gaylord Rockies in Denver, Colorado
Send inquiries to: conferenceinfo@learningforward.org.

The 2024 Call for Proposals will close on January 31, 2024. If you submitted a proposal for the 2024 Annual Conference, then you will be notified of the status of your application by May 15, 2024.

Sample Proposal


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 May 15, 2024 regarding the status of your proposal.

Thank you and good luck!

Session Types

  • Concurrent Sessions: Concurrent sessions are 2-hour and 4-hour sessions. These sessions feature school and system leaders, professional learning practitioners, authors, and external providers highlighting practical strategies that improve educator learning and student success. Each session is aligned to the Standards for Professional Learning and highlights research-based strategies that attendees can take back to their schools and systems immediately. Learn what works and how you can apply practical strategies, resources and/or new skills in your school, system, state, or organization!
  • Sponsor Sessions: Sponsor sessions are 1-hour sessions that feature publishers, advocacy organizations, and technology partners. Hear from our conference sponsors about new ideas, innovative solutions, and their work in schools and systems to promote professional learning as a key lever for change.
  • Roundtables/Table Talks: Roundtable/Table Talks are 45-minute presentations and 15-minute informal discussions. They are excellent venues for giving and receiving feedback, engaging in in-depth discussions, and meeting colleagues with similar interests.

Additional learning experiences include:

  • Preconference Sessions: Preconference sessions are full-day Sunday sessions that feature national and international experts in the field of professional learning. Preconference session participants benefit from a full day of working together to deeply explore key professional learning topics that promote systemwide change.
  • Keynote Speakers: Keynotes speakers will motivate, inform, and engage you.
  • Thought Leader Lectures: Thought Leader lectures and panel discussions feature education researchers and selected leaders in professional learning, school improvement, and other areas of interest.

If you are interested in submitting information for a preconference session, keynote speaker, and/or a thought leader lecture, please contact conferenceinfo@learningforward.org.

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. Sessions that provide evidence and/or data that illustrates the impact this work has had in a school, district, or other setting.
  5. Conference sessions are 4-hours, 2-hours, and 45-minute Roundtable/Table Talk and 15-minute informal discussion. 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.
  6. 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: Every educator engages in exemplary professional learning so every student excels..

Review Process

Proposals are reviewed by Learning Forward staff, the Host Committee, and other volunteers. Reviewers use the proposal scoring criteria on the next tab 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 .

Scoring Criteria

  1. To what degree does the proposal address the Learning Forward vision and standards?
  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.

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.

Presenter Requirements

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

Learning Forward values presenters' participation throughout the conference. Lead presenters and co-presenters are required to register for the conference, at least for the day of their session, and pay any fees that are required. Early registration and member discounts are available. All presenters are required to register by September 30, 2024.

Audiovisual Equipment
All concurrent session meeting rooms are set in rounds of 8-10. These rooms will be set with AV within an hour before the session's start time.

Learning Forward will provide sessions with a screen, LCD projector, and wireless internet connectivity. Please be sure that you can connect your laptop to VGA connection. Some laptops, such as Macs, require an adapter to connect.

  • Sessions under 45 participants will need to bring their own speaker for sound, if sharing video(s) or music.
  • Sessions with 45 or more participants will be provided with an audio patch for their computer and one wireless microphone.

Please be sure that you can connect your laptop to a VGA connection. Some laptops, such as Macs, require an adapter to connect.

Any other AV equipment needed must be ordered through the conference AV provider. Associated costs are the responsibility of the presenters.

Experience has taught us that WIFI can be a bit uncertain when it comes to sharing Livestream videos. To prevent any issues during your session, we strongly suggest you download videos to your laptop for sharing.

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.

Areas of Focus

Area of Focus & Concepts

Learning Forward has updated the conference areas of focus to reflect and align with revised Standards for Professional Learning (2022).


Guiding question: How do educators skillfully integrate equity practices into teaching and learning and the range of interactions they have with students?

Key concepts within this area of focus/standard:

  • Educators understand students' historical and societal contexts.
  • Educators embrace student assets through instruction.
  • Educators foster relationships with students, families, and communities.


Guiding question: In what ways do educators identify and implement high-quality curriculum and instructional materials, assess student learning using a range of approaches, and adapt and adjust instruction, including the integration and use of technology?

Key concepts within this area of focus/standard:

  • Educators provide high-quality curriculum.
  • Educators assess student learning.
  • Educators understand curriculum and implementation through instruction.


Guiding question: How do educators strengthen their own expertise and understanding of their areas of responsibility no matter where they sit in the education system?

Key concepts within this area of focus/standard:

  • Educators strengthen discipline-specific expertise.
  • Educators apply relevant standards and research.
  • Educators sustain coherence and alignment.


Guiding question: How do educators address equity concerns within their individual and collaborative learning?

Key concepts within this area of focus/standard:

  • Educators identify and address their own biases.
  • Educators collaborate with diverse colleagues.
  • Educators cultivate knowledge, practices, and beliefs.


Guiding question: In what ways do data and evidence inform professional learning and its evaluation?

Key concepts within this area of focus/standard:

  • Educators examine multiple sources of data.
  • Educators use evidence to inform learning.
  • Educators measure individual and collective impact.


Guiding question: How do educators design professional learning to meet learner goals and address a range of learner experiences and contexts?

Key concepts within this area of focus/standard:

  • Educators set relevant and contextualized learning goals.
  • Educators use the science of learning.
  • Educators implement evidence-based learning designs.


Guiding question: In what ways do educators support learners to enter and sustain effective learning for maximum impact?

Key concepts within this area of focus/standard:

  • Educators understand and apply research on change management theory.
  • Educators engage in feedback processes.
  • Educators implement and sustain professional learning.


Guiding question: How do educators contribute to learning contexts and systems that prioritize equity as foundational to learning for each learner?

Key concepts within this area of focus/standard:

  • Educators establish expectations for equity.
  • Educators create structures to ensure equitable access.
  • Educators sustain a culture of support for all staff.


Guiding question: In what ways do educators create and sustain collaborative learning and collective responsibility as the norm for their daily work?

Key concepts within this area of focus/standard:

  • Educators commit to continuous improvement.
  • Educators build collaboration skills and capacity.
  • Educators share responsibility for improving learning for all students.


Guiding question: How do educators lead professional learning in ways that support and sustain learning practices, systems, and cultures?

Key concepts within this area of focus/standard:

  • Educators establish a compelling vision for professional learning.
  • Educators sustain a coherent system of support.
  • Educators advocate for results-oriented, evidence-based professional learning.


Guiding question: How do educators use resources to establish and support high-quality professional learning that results in success for each educator and student?

Key concepts within this area of focus/standard:

  • Educators allocate and coordinate resources for professional learning.
  • Educators prioritize equity in their resource decisions.
  • Educators monitor the use and impact of resource investment.


Select no more than 3 topics addressed in your session.

  • Advocacy and Policy
  • AI - Artificial Intelligence (the connection between AI and professional learning)
  • Assessment
  • Blended/Online Learning
  • Change Theory/Management
  • Classroom Management/Classroom Support
  • Coaching
  • Collaborative Inquiry
  • College and Career Pathways for Students/Career Technical Education (CTE)
  • Community/Family Engagement
  • Comprehensive System Improvement/Reform
  • Continuous Improvement Cycles
  • Culturally Responsive Pedagogy
  • Curriculum-based professional learning with high-quality instructional materials & student performance standards
  • Data-Driven Decision Making
  • Deep Learning
  • Design Thinking/Human-Centered Design
  • Differentiated Learning Based on Student Needs/Gifts
  • Distributed/Shared Leadership
  • Early Childhood
  • Educator Effectiveness
  • Educators in Crisis
  • Efficacy (Teacher/Leader, Collective, Self)
  • Elementary Education
  • Embracing Aspects of Student Identity (including but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, socio-economic status, gender identity, sexual orientation)
  • English Learners / Linguistic Diversity
  • Equitable Access and Outcomes
  • Equity
  • Evaluation and Impact
  • Facilitation
  • Feedback and Observations
  • Implementation
  • Induction and Mentoring
  • Innovations in Teaching and Learning
  • Instructional Approaches
  • Instructional Coaching/ Instructional Specialist/ Instructional Strategist
  • Instructional Leadership and Supervision
  • International Perspectives
  • Job-embedded Professional Learning
  • Leadership Coaching
  • Leadership Development / Continued Leadership Development
  • Leadership Pathways & Pipelines
  • Learning & Thinking Differences
  • Learning Networks
  • Learning Science/Science of Learning
  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Measuring the Return on Investment
  • Micro-Credentials / Badging
  • Models of Professional Learning (including in-person, virtual and hybrid models)
  • Multilingual Learners
  • Non-credentialed educator support (professional learning, coaching, etc.)
  • Open Educational Resources/Practices (OER/OEP)
  • Partnering with External Resources
  • Partnerships
  • Personalized Learning (Educators and Students)
  • Professional Learning Basics
  • Professional Learning Communities (PLCs)
  • Professional Learning Research
  • Professional Learning Resources: People, Time, Funding
  • Racial Equity
  • Rural Issues and Settings
  • School Improvement/Reform
  • Science
  • Secondary Education
  • Social Emotional Learning/Health/Wellbeing (SEL/SEH)
  • STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math
  • Student Behavior
  • Student Engagement
  • Student or Teacher Voice
  • Teacher (or Educator) Retention and Recruitment
  • Teacher Choice/Teacher Driven Professional Learning
  • Teacher Induction/Leadership Induction
  • Teacher Leadership
  • Teacher Pathways/Pipelines
  • Technology for Professional Learning
  • Technology to Enhance Student Learning
  • Transforming School Culture and Climate
  • Trauma-Informed Practice
  • Unconscious/Implicit Bias
  • Urban Issues and Settings
  • Virtual/Asynchronous Professional Learning
  • Other