Deeper Learning 2016

March 23-25, 2016, San Diego, CA


DL2016 is the 4th annual gathering of powerful educators focused on creating more opportunities for students to learn deeply.


At DL2016 you will:
Experience deeper learning for yourself through deep dives, interactive workshops and an innovative makerspace.

Connect with powerful educators who care deeply about preparing students for college and the careers of tomorrow.

Create new ideas, synergies and tools to implement and scale deeper learning.

View the DL2016 Program Agenda

Propose a Workshop

Check out the DL2015 program to see what we did last year!


High Tech High
Graduate School of Education
2150 Cushing Rd
San Diego, CA 92106 MAP →


Tony SimmonsTony Simmons is the Executive Director of High School for Recording Arts (HSRA), an independent public charter school, and Vice President of Studio 4 Enterprises, an educational services and management company.

While working with numerous national recording artists and record companies as an entertainment lawyer, Tony met David Ellis and assisted him in the formation of Studio 4/High School for Recording Arts. During that time, he co-founded Another Level Records, the first national student-operated record label. In addition to his duties overseeing the day to day program at HSRA, Tony continues to work with students in exploring the Business of Music and mentoring those involved in Another Level Records, as well as overseeing the student-operated commercial radio show entitled studio4allaccess, which airs every Friday evening on 89.9FM Minneapolis/St. Paul and is podcasted through iTunes.

Tony has served as board member and/or provided technical assistance to such leading national school reform organizations as Edvisions, Inc. and the Black Alliance for Educational Options. He was recently a part of the working group that lead to the National Association of Charter School Authorizer report entitled "Anecdotes Aren't Enough: An Evidence Based Approach to Accountability for Alternative Charter Schools." He is also a former board member of the Minnesota Association of Charter Schools and recently joined the board of the national education reform group, Reaching At Promise Students Association (RAPSA). Tony has served as a member of the Saint Paul School District Quality Review Team and as a peer reviewer for those applying to the Minnesota Department of Education for Federal Charter School Program grants. He has spoken or presented at numerous conferences including the Oxford Roundtable, Oxford University (Designing Leadership and Practices for the Future of Public Education), University of Illinois at Springfield (In The Mix: Cross Dialogues Regarding Hip Hop Culture), and Minnesota State University at Mankato (Juvenile Delinquency and the Studio Model). He was also part of the development team for Minnesota's first online project-based charter school called EdVisions Online Academy.

Tony attended Howard University and Pace University where he earned a BA in Political Studies. He also graduated from Rutgers University School of Law with a Juris Doctorate.Tony is a native New Yorker who enjoys live music, reading, and traveling with his daughter.

Rob RiordanRob Riordan, Ed.D., retired, is a co-founder of High Tech High and former President of the HTH Graduate School of Education. A teacher, trainer, and program developer for over 40 years, he has worked with teams to develop 14 new schools (11 at High Tech High) spanning the K-12 years. As a long-time teacher in the Cambridge (MA) Rindge and Latin School, Rob developed an award-winning writing center and two pioneering school-to-work transition programs: the Cambridge-Polaroid Technical Internship Program and the Cambridge-Lesley Careers in Education Program. For several years during this time, as a faculty member of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, he led the practicum seminar for Harvard’s student teachers. Later, under the auspices of the Office of Vocational and Adult Education in the U.S. Department of Education, he directed the New Urban High School project that led to the development of High Tech High. Rob holds a B.A. from Haverford College and an M.A.T. and Ed.D. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where his doctoral dissertation was a five-year case history of the evolution of goals and practices in a public alternative high school. He is co-author, with Adria Steinberg and Kathleen Cushman, of Schooling for the Real World: The Essential Guide to Rigorous and Relevant Learning.

Deep Dives Facilitators Deep Dive Den (D3)

A Deep Dive Into The Minds and Worlds Of Public School Educators Sam Seidel & Jessica Floeh, Business Innovation Factory How might we remove barriers and scale individuals' deeper learning practices in public schools? Using artifacts and insights from a recent ethnographic exploration with public school educators, this Deep Dive will immerse participants in ideation and opportunity mapping exercises to rapidly prototype solutions.
Building a School-wide Deeper Learning System Symon Hayes, Envision Education If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. Participants will create a graphic journey map to help support their journey in creating the systems and structures for deeper learning at their school. We know that deeper learning is important and we know that deeper learning is happening. As schools scale deeper learning, key questions remains: how do we implement the systems and structures that provide the opportunities for deeper learning to happen, how do we measure this Deeper Learning school-wide? In this workshop participants will draw upon the assessment systems from Envision, to identify their desired end results, where they are now in the process, and their next steps to create a school-wide assessment system
Chocolate: Bitter or Sweet? Jessica Wood, EL Education Participants will immerse themselves in all things chocolate as they explore the politics, history, geography, and science behind this delectable treat. From tasting to tears, sweetness to slavery, chocolate is our entry point for learning about the world and how to improve it. Participants will leave full- full of new social justice learning, full of practical strategies for the classroom, and (of course) full of chocolate!
Communicate a Vision for Deeper Learning using Project Based Learning in under 9 seconds Bob Lenz & Cris Waldfogel, Buck Institute for Education As leaders (includes students, teachers, administrators, board and community members) for deeper learning, how do we create and communicate a compelling and actionable vision of how Project Based Learning leads to deeper learning outcomes for all students? Participants will learn and use communication tools and processes that are taught to world leaders to craft a vision statement that is 27 words, 9 seconds long and includes 3 messages. We will tell stories of deeper learning through PBL that give the vision statement life and purpose (HTH students will be available to share their stories if you don't have a story to tell). Finally, using the content of their vision statement and their story, each leader will write, direct and produce a very short video (2-3 minutes) to show to their home community. (Equipment needed: Smart phone with video editing app - e.g., iPhone with iMovie app. HTH students will be available for technology consult.
Creating a Space Science Program through Rocketry Brian Delgado & Andrew Lerario, Gary and Jerri-Ann High Tech High Over the past two years, we have worked to develop a space science program through astronomy, weather balloon science, and now rocketry. In this deep dive we will show you how to develop a high school rocket program from small to very large scale integrating mathematics, humanities, physics and chemistry into a project that engages students at all levels. We will walk participants through how to build and test rocket bodies and engines while scaling it up from air rockets to full-blown solid fuel chemical rockets.
Deeper Learning for Marginalized Youth Matt Simon, Students and Teachers; Juvenile Court and Community Schools of San Diego County In this Deep Dive, Matt Simon, the professional learning lead in San Diego County’s Juvenile Court and Community Schools (JCCS) by way of High Tech High and no-excuses schools in Los Angeles will help you take ownership (at the classroom, school or systems level) of a model of Deeper Learning that is currently transforming the lives and learning of educators and students (overwhelmingly children of color who are incarcerated or on probation, who have been expelled from their district, who are homeless, etc.) in alternative settings in Southern California. The model, known as Thematic, Interdisciplinary, Project-Based Learning (TIP), originated in Los Angeles under the direction of Diana Velasquez at the Road to Success Academies (RTSA) inside L.A.’s youth-detention facilities. Simon has built on the TIP model by blending in elements of EL Schools’ focus on building expertise through reading for evidence and writing/speaking with evidence and High Tech High’s focus on authentic projects refined and refined and refined until they blow the minds of the students’ audience at exhibition. In this Deep Dive, teachers and students from JCCS will help introduce you to TIP and support you in bringing TIP to your classroom, school, or district so that you too can bring Deeper Learning to the students who need it most.
Deeper Learning through Critical Exploration Critical Explorers This deep dive will prepare you to harness the power of critical exploration in your classroom. Through the Critical Explorers Workshop, you’ll experience and discuss exploratory activities and curriculum; observe and reflect on teaching strategies, live and on film; and strengthen your understanding and practice of critical exploration, whatever your previous experience.
Deeper Learning Through a Global Lens Lisa Tyrell, Asia Society Are you interested leveraging the tenets of Deeper Learning to help students develop the Global Competencies they need for success in our interconnected society? If so, this Deep Dive is for you! After learning more about global competence, you will identify strategies and develop an action plan to incorporate global competence and deeper learning into your current instructional practice, ensuring that students are ready for college, career and global citizenship.
Dive Deep into the Disappearance of Honeybees Marissa Adams & Rhea Manguil; High Tech Elementary Explorer How can we engage students in looking at multiple perspectives in research to inform their decisions? Participants will analyze compelling text, consult with an expert, and collaborate to discover the struggles that honeybees face. Where are the honeybees going, and once gone, who will feel the sting? Come prepared to create visual narratives of the vanishing honeybees and to explore ideas on how to BEE the change!
Designing Deeper Equity Learning for Adults Tom Malarkey, National Equity Project What do we, as adults, need to better know and be able to do in order leverage the potential power of deeper learning as an equity strategy? So, then, what kinds of deeper learning experiences for adults might develop this kind of “equity muscle”? In this session we’ll reflect on the types of equity challenges we’ve seen with deeper learning in our schools, then experience and reflect upon several types of “adult equity learning.” Using these insights, we will prototype various approaches to adult equity learning to use in our contexts.
Design Your Dream Home Ron Berger, EL Education Each participant will create scale blueprints for a dream house, learning the basics of residential architectural design and the ways that design and architecture can be used in classrooms to elevate mathematics, science, design-thinking, drafting and arts. No prior experience required. You will leave this class proud to show your blueprints to family and friends and seeking a wealthy patron to fund the construction of your dreams.
Examining the Elephant: Equity, Social Justice & Deeper Learning Jim May, New Tech Network Education has come to be viewed by many as the civil rights issue of our time. Central to this argument is the idea that public schools and public education have a special role to play in disrupting the larger patterns of economic and social inequity found in society. This session will explore literature and data related to those larger patterns of social inequity and invite participants to examine the ways in which Deeper Learning might provide a powerful platform from which to address specific drivers of inequity. Participants in this Deep Dive will construct a visual argument for how Deeper Learning practices might work to address a specific aspect of inequity relevant to their context and community.
Fueling Your School with the Power of Relationships: How to Become a Secure Attachment Figure Megan Marcus, FuelEd Every day, educators serve as counselor, mentor, and parent-figures to the students they serve. They also experience a slew of emotions - their own and others' - that range from happiness to fear, exhilaration, anger, excitement, disappointment, frustration, confusion - perhaps all in one morning! Despite the importance of relationships and emotions to both student success and an educator's day-to-day job, educator training all-too-often focuses exclusively on content knowledge and pedagogy, neglecting the critical importance of teachers' and school leaders' emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills. In this session led by Founder & CEO of FuelEd, a non-profit organization founded to fill this gap in educator preparation, participants will develop the interpersonal skills, self-awareness, and emotional well being necessary to fuel their school with the power of relationships. Key topics include the social neuroscience of education (or why relationships drive learning), how to communicate empathically, and finally an exploration into your personal triggers (or what gets under your skin).
Finding the Sweet Spot: The Intersection Between Performance Assessment and Project-Based Learning Justin Wells, Envision Learning Partners Project-based learning and performance assessment are not synonymous, but they should be synergistic. How do these concepts best serve each other? In this design workshop, apply performance assessment thinking to sharpen the focus and boost the rigor of your project-based teaching. Come with a project or performance task in mind—detailed or fuzzy—and collaborate with colleagues to make it better.
Getting Deeply Inside the Outside -developing ways to deeply engage students through their interests and personal relationships to adults. Elliot Washer, Big Picture Learning & Lynda Armstrong, San Diego Met School This DIVE will feature students, internship visits to off-campus venues, conversation with student mentors and highlight materials and web applications for all to develop an internship program or similar work in their schools.
Going Places Mindy Ahrens and Judy Caarang, Design 39 How might we build a vehicle that “takes us places?” Where do we want to go? Come stretch your creative muscles with us as we design, prototype and test workable transportation devices. We will pull inspiration from Peter Reynolds’ book Going Places as we learn how to think outside the box like his main characters Mia and Rafael. If you want to tinker and get your hands dirty while digging into the Deeper Learning competencies, come build with us.
Hacking toward Deeper Learning Susie Wise, & Peter Worth, Stanford Changes at the school level are often hard to “hack.” In this Deep Dive with the School Retool team, we’ll try on a hack mindset and use designable levers for change—like role, ritual, and space, to take first steps toward change at your school. We’ll brainstorm based on big ideas from Deeper Learning schools, and work together to design hacks that you can try at your school right away.
Kinetic Sculptures to the Extreme! Carrie Lawrence, Charlie Linnik, Kyle Linnik, & Scott Swaaley It is time to get down and dirty with four hours of welding, carpentry, painting, and mysterious beer-themed activities. With this interactive deep dive, participants will be immersed into the making process of building and creating. Take on challenges that require problem solving, and come push your technical skills to the next level.
Learning Deeply in the Elementary Grades Anna Kinsella & Jodi Posadas, New Tech Network Experience an elementary project slice from an integrated PBL unit focused on Math, Science, and ELA as we get a student perspective and learn the “why” behind specific facilitation moves made. Then, embark on a journey to visually map your own project through careful unpacking of standards, backward design of scaffolds and benchmarks and discussion of embedded assessment practices for deeper learning outcomes. Participants in this Deep Dive will create a visual plan for a fully mapped project design.
Unleashing Teacher-Led innovation- The rise of the Edupreneur! Summer Howarth, Educhange, Australia Get ready; we are going to merge the concepts of entrepreneurship and design thinking with the unique demands of education. Participants will be challenged with disruptive education ideas from around the world alongside unleashing powerful innovation techniques. By the end of this workshop the tables will be covered with post-it notes, there will be smiles on every face and participants will leave with both powerful skills and real ideas that will help them to consistently solve the challenges they are facing in their unique education contexts. Tapping into the collective genius of the room, this is an inspiring and practical injection of learning, that will bring powerful improvements to your school and your practice.
What’s Your Problem?: Improvement Science for Deeper Learning Stacey Caillier & Ryan Gallagher, Center for Research on Equity and Innovation High Tech High Graduate School of Education How can we tackle persistent problems of practice and bring deeper learning to more students more often? In this highly interactive deep dive, we will explore improvement science as a promising methodology for innovating, refining and scaling great ideas. Participants will experience various tools and protocols, ranging from empathy interviews to learning cycles, that they can use in their own contexts to guide systematic improvement. This workshop is designed for changemakers at all levels - teachers, school/district leaders and K-12 students.

Deep Dive Den
DL2016 is committed to helping attendees build connections around topics that matter. To that end, DL2016 created the Deep Dive Den (D3), a place for attendees to learn from educational leaders. One of the goals of the deeper learning conference is to propel the deeper learning movement by connecting attendees to inspirational ideas and people. Den talks aim to be a conversational style talk where a pair of educational leaders publicly interview one another about a topic that is of importance to their organization, the deeper learning movement or perhaps to the future of education. No slides, no presentation-just a conversation with a small group on topics that matter.

Deep Dive Den Speakers
Deep Dive Den
Deep Dive Facilitators


Register by February 1, 2016 to receive the early bird discount!

Your entry fee includes materials, amazing meals (breakfast, lunch and dinners) morning activities, access to the makerspace and an all inclusive powerful learning experience!

Spread Deeper Learning!
DL2016 is happy to offer group rates, bring a friend rate or full-time student rates!

Group Rates: DL2016 encourages teams to attend and offers group discounts to teams of 5 or more. Groups of five or more individuals from the same organization are eligible to receive a discounted rate. All participants must register together in order to qualify.

Full Time Student?
DL2016 will offer a limited number of discount registrations to full time students. Full time students, both undergraduate and graduate, who are currently attending a college or university are eligible for the Student Rate.
Apply Promo Code STUDENT when registering.

Learn More

Why attend Deeper Learning 2016?

1. You are an educator who cares deeply about preparing students for college and the careers of tomorrow. You want students thinking critically, collaborating, doing and making. You want them embracing challenge.

2.  You believe in learning by doing. At DL2016, we will experience deeper learning for ourselves through deep dives and interactive workshops.

3. You will leave with new ideas, tools and practices - and new partners in this work. You will leave with inspiration and powerful collegial connections.

Deeper Learning 2016 is generously sponsored by
the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.


What is Deeper Learning?

Deeper Learning practitioners and schools aims to have students master these core competencies:
core competencies

What does Deeper Learning look like in classroom?

What will you do at Deeper Learning?

Full program coming soon! If you missed DL2015, explore the DL2015 Journal to get a glimpse of what attendees did at the conference or view the DL2015 program to see three full day experience.

Who attends?

Deeper Learning attendees come from around the globe and across the education field--from practitioners to policy makers, funders and researchers and others- who are committed to understanding and spreading deeper learning to all students. Deeper Learning attendees are encouraged to be leaders of change, proponents for equity and pedagogical innovators.

At DL2016 you will:

Experience deeper learning for yourself through deep dives, interactive workshops and an innovate makerspace.

Connect with powerful educators who care deeply about preparing students for college and the careers of tomorrow.

Create new ideas, synergies and tools to implement and scale deeper learning.

DL2016 will explore questions like:

  • How can we engage students in deeper learning experiences?

  • How can we support educators in designing deeper learning experiences for students?

  • How can we cultivate leaders who facilitate deeper learning in schools?

  • How can we create and advance equitable learning environments?

  • How do we spread deeper learning to all schools?

Travel and Hotels

Book your hotel accommodations early. The below room blocks are available on a first-come first-served basis until February 5, 2016. All three hotels have complimentary parking, wireless internet, and an airport shuttle. The Courtyard Marriott and Homewood Suites are within walking distance of the HTH campus. The Holiday Inn is located 1 mile from the HTH campus and will offer morning and afternoon shuttles to/from the campus.

Courtyard Marriott San Diego
Airport/Liberty Station
$219/per night
Booking Link with group rate
(800) 321- 2211

Homewood Suites
Airport/Liberty Station
$239/per night
Booking Link with group rate

Holiday Inn
San Diego Bayside
$149 per night
Booking link with group rate