Feedback from #PSP2012 Participants


Thank you for joining nine leading voices in education, and more than 600 educators and parents/guardians from 125 schools and districts, to examine our shared commitments to the learning and the lives of children.

Participants are encouraged to share feedback about your experience, your reflections, your strategies, and your suggestions in a survey at Check out excerpts from that feedback, or contribute to the dialogue, below!

For a press release summarizing events of the day, click here. For a copy of the covenant that served as an anchor for reflection in the afternoon session, click here. To view comments from the live response wall, click here.

Stay tuned for more updates, information, and resources — including videos and presentation slides — in the weeks to come!

  • Thank you for an inspiring conference. I would LOVE a follow-up evening of some kind that could build on the last half hour of the conference where we can strategize and talk about practical next steps that we can take to effect real change in our communities.


    Perhaps send out an e-mail to all the attendees. I’m sure you’d have a great response. Either Curtis or another sponsoring school could host. I think we need to build a real coalition. Perhaps as a group we could decide to meet bi-monthly or something. I think it would capitalize on all your efforts and not just let enthusiasm and passion peter out.

    Let me know your thoughts!

    Thank you.

    Jennifer Schlosberg

  • CurtisCFEE

    Nikhil Goyal should run for John Deasy’s job. -Elizabeth M

  • CurtisCFEE

    Keep ‘feeding’ this revolution you started with this conference! The room was full of passion for teaching, learning and raising happy, well-adapted, self-motivated kids to lead this country in the next decades. You have a group of 400 soldiers ready to win this battle.

    And again, multiply results exponentially by including Latinos speakers next time, and many more teachers and parents.

    – Ana V

  • CurtisCFEE

    It would be extremely helpful to have the video of the event posted so that friends and colleagues can view it. This would definitely foster communication and additional discussions about the topics. -Indy School Parent

    • CurtisCFEE

      The presenters have generously given their permission to post . . . Look forward to videos in the next few days!

  • CurtisCFEE

    The dynamism and individual enthusiasm of each presenter was striking during the morning session. Each presenter contributed very individual platforms and perspectives from which to develop my own. I found Richard Gerver to be a captivating speaker with a “grassroots” type of perspective on education. Indeed, he seems to have built and rebuilt from seemingly nothing, and I found him quite inspiring. I value his opinion and framework for the direction that 21st century education needs to head, and have a renewed commitment to implementing creativity and a space for individuality in the classroom.

    Yong Zhao was a fascinating presenter who took on a perspective of Chinese education that I was not expecting to hear. I began to think of an educational experience as being relative to what the needs of your country and world are, and that there is not a prescribed system that will fit everyone. In some ways, I felt more confused about what the needs of educators and students are, because even the system that is deemed the best in the world (China), has its own flaws and gaps. I am left wondering how it is possible to accomodate everyone’s educational needs.

    -Seneca Z

  • CurtisCFEE

    I hope that the lessons learned and inspirational tone set forth by the Covenant can be carried through to my child’s LAUSD class as well as the public school classes around this country.

    This may need to be a quiet, locally centered parent revolution.

    Thank you for beginning the conversation

    -Jamie P

  • CurtisCFEE

    It’s hard for parents to let go of the idea of content mastery and good grades, getting to good school – thinking it’s the recipe for successful life.

    One grass roots way would be to create in different venues, perhaps for teachers together or at parent meetings together, listening partnerships, where people share about their school experiences – what was good and what was hurtful, horrible etc. We all have plenty of those. That would help to open up our thinking to new ideas of how positive an experience the process of learning can be.


  • CurtisCFEE

    Onward, upward,stay positive, and know that all things are possible if you persevere.

    -Karen I, Educator

  • CurtisCFEE

    I suppose it will have to start in my own classroom. But, you are never a prophet in your own land. 🙁 I am encouraged that we are moving back toward positive practices for students, such as constructivism, project-based learning, and discovery learning. This will be step one – going back to what I used to do and know works.

    -Susie W, Educator

  • CurtisCFEE

    We should put more emphasis on each student’s strengths and less emphasis on grades and competition.

    -Enid B, Educator

  • CurtisCFEE

    Mr. Kohn’s points dovetailed perfectly with Mr. Zhao’s and made me even more convinced of the imperative need for a shift in our focus for education. How perfect to have Mrs. Dweck follow with such practical explanations for why learning fall into the traps they do and how to help them get out of those pitfalls. Mrs. Mogel made me wonder how we ever got so far away from honoring childhood in our parenting practices. Mr. Goyal made me remember how daunting it was to be a teacher in a traditional classroom with students of exceptional talent and not be able to bridge the gap between the two. And, Sir Ken brought it all home for me when he tied the need to bring the learning back to the learners with the ramifications to the future if we don’t.

    -Winnie N, Educator

  • CurtisCFEE

    All of the morning speakers were fabulous and stand out in their own way. Richard Gerver brought an important point to the morning’s discussions about knowing our students are people, not just as our students. Delve in and learn about underlying issues as they hold a key to who our students are beyond the classroom.

    Yong Khao brought humor to a topic that I feel quite strongly about, test taking does not tell who the student is as a human being, nor do the test convey the students’s full potential.

    Ken Kay touched on two important skills all of us need to cope in this world, Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving. These skills are necessary for our students to learn through interactive education, collaboration, and peer feedback.

    Dr. Steven Jones spoke of cultural competence and leadership. It is important to understand and respect different cultures and help our students to become informed about different cultures by investigating and learning about what is under the “cultural iceberg”.


    Bottom line: Critical thinking skills are important to help us scaffold our learning and collaboration with students and families are critical.

    – Roxanne B, Educator & Parent/Guardian

  • CurtisCFEE

    I found all of the presentations and speakers incredibly informative. I wish I came to this when my ten year old was first born. As a parent, we want our children to better than ourselves. Although I’ve tried to provide the framework for nuturing a prosperous education and childhood through the ideas of adopting no television and always reading to my children. Allowing them to explore the world that we live in. I feel after the conference that I have done them a great disservice in demanding excellence in grades. And I see the through the eyes Carol Dweck that I’ve triumphed his desire to learn new things. Going forward, I most certainly will adhere to a different approach.

    Thank you for a wonderful, uplifting experience.

    -Pamela P, Parent

  • CurtisCFEE

    I really enjoyed the Skype video by Alfie Kohn. Out of all of the presenters, he changed the way I will parent and the way I will look at schools the most. I wanted to hug my children after I saw his video. Carol Dweck was fantastic, which I fully anticipated, having read her book Mindset. I was the most familiar with Wendy Mogul, having read many excerpts from her book The Blessing of a Skinned Knee, and having many friends who have seen her speak. I could have listened to her speak for hours. I felt like she imparted 15 hours of information in 15-20 minutes of speaking. It made me wonder how much more I could learn from her. Nikhil had me astounded and hopeful that my children will love learning as much as he, so clearly, does. I wish all young people today were as poised, articulate and impassioned as Nikhil. Sir Ken Robinson spoke about areas I never even associated with education and parenting. I would live to listen to him more, just to get a further grasp on the impacts education, parenting and lifestyle have environmentally and fiscally.

    -Jennifer C, Parent

  • CurtisCFEE

    AMAZING…the most inspiring conference on education I have EVER been to.

    -Renae P, Educator

  • CurtisCFEE

    Wendy Mogel’s message was extraordinary, as well as Ken Robinson. Having heard Sir Ken speak before, it is clear that he is troubled with the state of the world. Perhaps there needs to be a symposium on the issues he brings to the forefront to have educators brainstorm solutions to those issues.

    -Mary I, Educator

  • CurtisCFEE

    I felt empowered, validated in my own reinvention efforts, and encouraged toward even greater efforts toward student-centered learning. There was something very special in the air as all of these teachers and parents gathered with a sense of purpose to improve what we do for kids. I shed a tear or two as Chris spoke, even before he got around to introducing the guest speakers and continued to laugh and cry throughout the session. Knowing that my school did not dread what ideas I might come back with, but was a major sponsor and sent me hoping I would act on this inspiration was a powerful piece of this feeling, as well. . .

    Alfie pulled me back from the edge of giving in to extrinsic rewards because it seems to be all that many students respond to. I have never heard such a succinct and powerful statement of what I have always believed. I have followed and loved Carol’s work for years. Wendy takes usually controversial stands and makes them feel like common sense. Nikhil was amazing! He lowered my defenses and opened my ears to the “Nikhils” around me every day. I have read and followed Sir Ken for several years, as well and always find him inspiring.

    -Roger F, Educator

  • CurtisCFEE

    I think any way that you can continue to support teachers, principals and parents to come together and work creatively to “discontinue practices and policies likely to undermine a child’s love of learning”. I think that last statement in the covenant is so incredibly powerful. You could continue to host workshops or support groups for educators interested in reform to come together and continue to talk about actual day to day solutions that they have come up with to avoid undermining childrens love of learning. Also possibly consider drafting a letter or version of the covenant that could be sent to politicians helping them to understand that there is a growing movement to revolutionize education and that people (in large numbers) want to see changes to support what scientifically we know is the best way for children to learn. I have so much gratitude for all of the hard work that you all put into making this conference happen. It was incredible and I hope to attend any future events that you host.


  • CurtisCFEE

    Kohn certainly had me questioning the overemphasis we put on grades and achievement. I, undoubtly, don’t want my kids to lose their intrinsic motivation and curious nature. I want them to be life-long learners. Dweck educated me about the growth mindset and the importance of effort, persistence and good mentoring. Goyal was amazing and I could only hope that my children are as passionate about their learning. He is an amazing young man. Robinson was wonderful, as the closer, because he forced me to realize the importance of the global mindset. That everyone should travel, learn other languages and explore the horizons. All in all, it was a fantastic event and forced me to question my outlook on education in general.

    -Arlett C, Parent

  • CurtisCFEE

    I have been to presentations by all of the presenters, but was introduced to Nikhil Gaoyal. He is someone to watch and I feel he has enough charisma to really make a difference in the future of education. I think some people may find him radical, but he was on target about how kids feel and how a real-world education is about developing the innate and uthentic gifts in children, so they become who they are meant to be, not what someone else feels they should become.

    -Rita B, Educator & Parent

  • CurtisCFEE

    Unbelievable. Inspiring. Funny. Fabulous.

    -Joanna I, Parent

  • CurtisCFEE

    Individually, sessions were good. Cumulatively, it was too much – each unrelated to the next and no opportunity for sharing or collaboration among educators in attendance – even when that was the theme of various talks.

    -Joel P, Educator

    • CurtisCFEE

      Darn! I wish you’d stayed for the afternoon session in which did exactly that! -CT

  • CurtisCFEE

    Your team has certainly made a difference in the lives of those in my household. Best. Conference. Ever.


  • CurtisCFEE

    I have been a middle school educator in the public school system for 20 years and have always taught thinking through challenging, interdisciplinary projects that include differentiation and student choice. I am the teacher that Dr. Dweck mentioned in the closing. I am the teacher supporting and collaborating with new teachers to bring on this learning revolution. As you can imagine, the obstacles I have faced against my pedagogy during these last two decades have come from many directions. While I have persevered and I’m still passionate about my work, I’ve started to feel beaten down. Lately, I’ve even been considering whether to continue to invest my energy and heart in this mission.

    I want you to know that you have provided that inspiration for me through this conference. I am no longer at a crossroads and I re-commit to continue the work in this field. Through your conference, I found inspiration to continue investing my energy and heart in supporting students to rediscover the joy of learning and to continue my education to become a better teacher and a change agent in this field.

    – Cynthia C, Educator