Conference Overview

General Sessions

General sessions each day include plated lunches, keynote speakers, special guests, and student performances.

Keynote Speakers

Our general session keynote speakers will motivate, inform, and engage you. Monday’s keynote features Sonja Santelises, superintendent of Baltimore City Schools, on leading for excellence. Tuesday’s EdTalk by Michael Petrilli will speak to designing education systems for equity and excellence. Taylor Mali closes the conference on Wednesday reminding us of “everything worth fighting for” and why you chose to walk this noble path in the first place.

Meals and Receptions

Individuals who register for a preconference program will receive a coffee break and lunch on preconference days. Individuals who register for the conference may attend the Welcome Reception and 50th anniversary party on Sunday evening and the reception with sponsors on Monday evening. Lunch is served on Monday and Tuesday. Brunch is served on Wednesday before the general sessions. Conference meals meet a variety of dietary needs and preferences. Those with special needs must indicate their dietary requirements on their registration forms. Special requests cannot be accommodated on site.

Thought Leader Lectures/Q&As

Thought Leader (TL) lectures and panel discussions feature selected leaders in professional learning, school improvement, and other areas of interest.

Keynote Q&A

Register for sessions QA01, QA02, and QA03 for in-depth conversations with the keynote speakers.

Welcome Reception, Affiliate Network, And Learning Forward 50th Anniversary Celebration

Sunday, December 8, 2019, 6 p.m. – 7 p.m. Kick off the conference, mix and mingle, and help Learning Forward celebrate its 50th anniversary. Enjoy hors d’oeuvres and birthday cake as you cultivate relationships during this fun and festive informal networking event. Meet the leaders from your state or province and expand your network.

Conference Overview and First-Timers Orientation

Monday, December 9, 2019, 8:00 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.

Deepen your understanding of the conference’s format and maximize your learning experience.

Reception with Conference Sponsors

Monday, December 9, 2019, 4:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.

All conference attendees are invited to join us for food, drink, and conversation with our sponsors for this year’s conference. Please help us honor some of the best organizations and companies in the education industry.

Earn Continuing Education Units for the Conference

Saint Mary’s College of California offers you the opportunity to earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for attending Learning Forward’s 2019 Annual Conference. Pick up a CEU registration form onsite or download a packet here. For more information, please contact Jeannie Harberson, program assistant at

Mobile App

Learning Forward’s conference mobile app provides easy-to-use, interactive tools to enhance your conference experience.

1. Receive alerts to stay informed about conference updates.

2. Follow and join on conference chatter with the builtin Twitter feed. #learnfwd19

3. Connect with conference attendees and sponsors.

4. Search for local dining and entertainment options.

This app will provide important information about the conference and exciting ways for you to engage with us. Download the app from iTunes or Google Play.


Wednesday, December 11, 2019

7:30 a.m. - 8:15 a.m.

Roundtables are 45-minute presentations and discussions around a table. Each 45-minute sessionis repeated. Roundtables are excellent venues for giving and receiving feedback, engaging in in-depth discussions, and meeting colleagues with similar interests. See sessions here.


Wednesday, December 11, 2019, 7:30 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.

Gain new knowledge by attending these fast-paced presentations, similar to PechaKucha and Ignite formats. Each presentation includes 20 slides at 20 seconds each (about seven minutes). Followed by up to three minutes for questions and response. See sessions here.

Learning Forward Showcase [New]

Wednesday, December 11, 2019, 7:30 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.

Learn about opportunities available through Learning Forward consultant services, Networks for Continuous Learning and Improvement, the Learning Forward Academy, and the Learning Forward Foundation. Receive the most up-to-date information about programs, services, and scholarship opportunities.

Networking Meetups

Wednesday, December 11, 2019, 7:30 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.

Take advantage of networking opportunities to meet up with colleagues facing similar challenges in job-alike and special interest sessions. These facilitated discussion groups do not require tickets.

NW01 | Networking for Superintendents

NW02 | Networking for Principals and Assistant Principals

NW03 | Networking for District and Central Office

Professional Learning Leaders [NEW]

NW04 | Networking for Coaches and Teacher Leaders

NW05 | Networking for Urban District Leaders (formerly The Big 50 School District Systems)

NW06 | Networking for State and Provincial Education Agencies

The Learning Forward Conference avails leaders throughout the country an opportunity to engage in meaningful dialogue and effective practices for the purpose of supporting educators and improving student achievement. — 2018 Attendee