NOVEMBER 11, 2012

[For a .pdf copy please see: PRESS RELEASE – CFEE 111112]

Education Leaders Engage Public & Private School Stakeholders from 125 Schools & Districts

(Los Angeles, November 10, 2012) Several hundred educators and parents, representing 125 schools and districts, gathered at a free conference at Curtis School’s Center for the Future of Elementary Education (CFEE) on Saturday to examine their commitments to the lives and the learning of school-aged children at school and at home. Nine leading voices in education and psychology — Carol Dweck, Richard Gerver, Nikhil Goyal, Ken Kay, Alfie Kohn, Steven Jones, Wendy Mogel, Ken Robinson, and Yong Zhao — invited teachers and parents from public and private schools to examine the practices now known to support effective teaching and healthy parenting, to reflect on how they might transform their practices at school and at home, and to establish a set of principles that might guide such transformation in a system that is changing at a much slower pace than our ideas.

#PSP2012: Teaching and Learning at Home and at School” was a free event for all who registered to attend, owing to the generous financial support of 13 independent schools and the inspiration and support of the education leaders who helped to shape the design of the program. Each shares a commitment to erasing boundaries between private and public school communities, and between teachers and parents, and to facilitate collective dialogue and action amongst all stakeholders. The event was also livestreamed to a simultaneous gathering of educators and parents in Northern California, at the Jackson Theater at Sonoma Country Day School.

In the morning sessions, participants examined crucial themes that support effective teaching and parenting in a series of 15 minute presentations:

Richard Gerver: “Identifying Each Child’s Potential”
Yong Zhao: “Redefining ‘Excellence'”
Ken Kay: “Three of the Most Important 21st Century Skills”
Steven Jones: “Creating Investigators of Culture”
Alfie Kohn: “From a Culture of ‘Performance’ to a Culture of ‘Learning'” (by video)
Carol Dweck: “The Growth Mindset: Non-Cognitive Skills & Learning”
Wendy Mogel: “The Power of Play”
Nikhil Goyal: “Why Learning Should Be Messy”
Ken Robinson: “Let Us Venture … Just to See” (by video)

In the afternoon session, participants examined a “Covenant to Help Inspire Learning and Development” (C.H.I.L.D.) — a provisional list of 16 principles that could guide transformative change in teaching and parenting practices to promote student engagement, develop character and community, and encourage deeper learning. These principles were established by the thorough analysis of crowdsourced input from participants that had been invited prior to the conference, and review and refinement by the event’s presenters in a number of teleconferences leading up to the event. The draft set of principles was provided to all participants as the anchor for facilitated, small-group discussion and panel engagement during the afternoon:


01 | Nurture each child’s great curiosity, interest, and potential to achieve high levels of success
02 | Allow learning to develop at a pace determined by the child’s needs and interest
03 | Honor the voice of students and promote self-awareness and expression
04 | Honor children’s questions and value their opinions
05 | Develop independent thought and self-efficacy in a community of engaged learners
06 | Provide explicit opportunities for unstructured and uninterrupted play


07 | Foster interdependence and collective responsibility as members of a learning community
08 | Encourage resilience, persistence, and responsibility in the face of ambiguity, challenge, or conflict
09 | Promote ethical decision-making with a balance of critical thought and compassion
10 | Develop children’s cultural competencies to include, respect, and support each other


11 | Promote learning in meaningful contexts of experience and ‘real world’ challenges
12 | Develop children’s abilities to solve problems creatively and collaboratively
13 | Support critical thought about information and media to which children have access
14 | Promote interdisciplinary learning without compartmentalizing ‘subjects’ and ‘departments’
15 | Connect children’s learning to opportunities to make a better world
16 | Discontinue practices and policies likely to undermine a child’s love of learning

As Sir Ken Robinson noted in his contribution to the dialogue, “there are many practices to share, but the practices will all be different. They’ll be vernacular in nature. They’ll be customized and crafted to local circumstances.” Nevertheless, our collective efforts, in collaboration within and between our schools and our homes, “should adhere to certain common principles.” In that spirit, participants were invited to consider these principles “a framework for collaborative action that could take us a very long way into creating the kinds of education systems that we need.” Participants were encouraged to seed these conversations in their own schools and homes, to examine what practices might authentically support these principles, and what practices might predictably defy them.

Sir Ken Robinson quoted Teilhard de Chardin as inspiration for this effort, which summarizes the spirit of the day: “Instead of standing on the shore and proving to ourselves that the ocean cannot carry us, let us venture on its waters just to see.”

Further information about the live event in Los Angeles — as well as further resources from the event’s programming — will be made available in the coming days at

Chris Thinnes (CFEE at Curtis School)
TWI: @CurtisCFEE

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