Louise Schultze
A speaker motions toward a presentation about mathematical thinking.

On October 19 and 20, more than 1,200 teachers, parents, and practitioners from public, charter, and independent schools from Honolulu, Hawaii, to Johannesburg, South Africa, gathered for the 2017 Innovative Learning Conference. More than 140 international thought leaders and local experts shared promising practices, inspiring stories, and cutting-edge research across an array of topics including creative and critical thinking, design thinking, wellness, computer science, and social-emotional learning, to name just a few.

Speakers included Julie Lythcott-Haims, author of Real American: A Memoir and How to Raise an Adult, who spoke about her family’s experience with racism and the concept of radical compassion. Lythcott-Haims said that events like the Innovative Learning Conference are vital for those who are continuing to learn and work on the things that matter.

A woman reads an excerpt from a book in front of a crowd.

“A conference like this is valuable, so vital, to the growth of the humans who participate. I deeply believe that, this being our one precious life, we must continually be in the act of becoming ourselves,” said Lythcott-Haims. “A place like Nueva attracts the biggest ideas and the best thinkers. It is an honor for me to have been asked to come, now twice, to be a part of this community. As a presenter, who is here ostensibly to help others learn something, I grow. I benefit from getting to be a part of this community.”

The 2017 conference also incorporated elements of visual thinking as a way to discover new ideas, connect across disciplines, deepen meaning, and communicate to diverse audiences. Consistent with this year’s theme, “Blurring Boundaries,” the practice of visual thinking helps educators and learners use their eyes and minds’ eye to discover new ideas, connect across disciplines, deepen meaning and understanding, and communicate to diverse students across all levels of experience, age, and geography.

Ronnie Kopp, po’o kumu (Principal) for Kamehameha Elementary School in Honolulu, brought seven teachers and five administrators from her district to attend the conference. “The conference has been excellent,” she said. “Many of the sessions align with our strategic plan to emphasize social-emotional learning, and especially the emphasis on the growth mindset. Our academy focuses on math and STEM, and we are looking at innovative ways to integrate SEL into our practices.”

The biennial Innovative Learning Conference, now in its tenth year, is designed by the Nueva School to engage with and inspire educators, administrators, parents, researchers, and social service professionals.

“At Nueva, we are deeply committed to creating opportunities for educators to collaborate, which in turn advance the field of education and serve students everywhere. We know teachers and other professionals who work with students have a strong desire to stay at the leading edge of their professions. The Innovative Learning Conference is our signature way of supporting a passion for lifelong learning in all who join us in meaningful conversations,” said Head of School Diane Rosenberg.

The complete speaker list is available at The next Innovative Learning Conference will be held in 2019. For more highlights from the Innovative Learning Conference, please click here.

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