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Nashville, Tenn.
June 26-28, 2015
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2015 ASCD Conference on Teaching Excellence

2015 ASCD Conference on Teaching Excellence

June 2628, 2015
Nashville, Tenn.

Invest in the power of great instruction and learn how to leverage it in classrooms and school districts.



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Publish in ASCD Express


E-mail submission as a link or an attachment (include the issue theme in the subject line) to

ASCD Express is the association's free e-newsletter. Published twice a month, this resource seeks to give educators practical, actionable strategies and information from the most reputable sourcesthe colleagues and experts working in the education field. ASCD Express content is developed and curated for brevity and relevance to the real experiences of working educators.

ASCD Express seeks brief, practical content. Article submissions typically range from 600 to 1,000 words, and multimedia submissions should be no longer than 10 minutes.

We welcome research-based submissions as well as your own examples from the classroom and advice about how to adapt successful strategies or overcome challenges, whether as a teacher, administrator, or specialist.

Read our list of upcoming themes, and consider publishing in ASCD Express. When submitting articles, please write the issue theme in the subject line of your e-mail.


2015 Themes 

 denotes a theme that corresponds to an issue of Educational Leadership.

January 8: Questioning Strategies

Questions can be posed to engage student interest, check understanding, and challenge students to go deeper in their thinking. How do you spiral questions throughout a lesson or a concept? What are your strategies for ensuring equitable student participation? How do you engage students in generating their own questions? How do you get student to dive beyond basic, surface questions? What questions do good readers ask of different types of texts? What do you do with unanswered questions? How do you stay poised for the unexpected, or help redirect students when they got lost on a tangent?

Submissions Closed

January 22: The Second Chance Student

Many students who are capable of doing well in school get tripped up by behavior or a series of bad choices. How do you help these students push the reset button on their school performance? This includes setting expectations, providing a pathway to achieving or exceeding goals, reframing student and teacher mindsets, providing opportunities for restorative justice and advisory groups that guide student decision-making.

Submissions Closed

February 12: Improving Schools: What Works? 

Many schools have implemented successful improvement efforts—yet others are struggling to lift their students to acceptable achievement levels. Articles in this issue will examine important components of school improvement, such as education policy, leadership, curriculum, school climate, and community support. We will look at obstacles to school improvement and how they can be overcome. What can we learn from the research on various turnaround models, including turning management over to a charter organization, replacing most of the staff, or even shutting down "failing" schools? We welcome profiles of schools that have gone from low-performing to high-performing, as well as those that have gone from good to better to great.

Submissions Closed

February 26: The Future of Education

Flipped classrooms, competency-based education, personalization, and cloud-based computing are some of the disruptive innovations shaking up education. But in many schools, the basic systems of teaching and learning look a lot like they did fifty years ago. What trends will significantly affect the future of education? What changes are already underway? What should we fix, keep doing, or abandon?

Submissions Closed

March 12: Culturally Diverse Classrooms 

Children everywhere are coming to school with an array of cultural and linguistic strengths and challenges. How do students' cultural backgrounds influence their interactions with both teachers and classmates, and how can schools improve the academic achievement of their fastest-growing group of students—English language learners? Articles will tackle how schools can personalize learning, promote acquisition of academic English, increase students' access to challenging coursework, and close achievement gaps. What kinds of professional development do all teachers need to serve their culturally diverse students? We welcome articles that address the benefits of classrooms that have a vibrant mix of cultures as well as the challenges associated with poverty, mobility, and interrupted formal education.

Submissions Closed

March 26: Writing for a Purpose

Students who are college and career ready possess skills to communicate effectively in academic and work world environments. According to the 2011 NAEP, writing is a stumbling point for many students – only about a quarter of the students studied can write proficiently, and about three percent of students are deemed "Advanced" writers. For many students, writing is disconnected from their personal goals; it's something "you do in school." How do you engage students in writing for a real purpose? How do you design authentic writing assignments? What happens to the work, once it is published? How do (or don't) the standards support writing for a purpose? How can content area classes foster the skills related to academic writing?

Submissions Closed

April 9: Communication Skills for Leaders 

From teachers to principals, formal and informal leaders must communicate well to forge a strong school climate and enhance learning. This issue will examine how school leaders can keep communication transparent and supportive. How can teachers, coaches, resource specialists, and other professionals communicate with one another constructively? How can leaders build strong connections with students, families, and business partners; use social media effectively; talk with teachers in ways that promote their professional growth; hold the inevitable tough conversations; communicate clearly in school crises; and shape their school's image?

Submissions Closed

April 23: Minds-On Learning

How do you design learning that strengthens connections in the brain, accounts for processing time and working memory capacity, engages multiple sense for deep inquiry, and otherwise capitalizes on how the brain learns? How do you develop students' metacognition and teach them about their own brains? What myths about the brain and learning persist? What new discoveries are most promising (and relevant) to educators? What would a brain-friendly school look like?

Submissions due: February 1, 2015

May 14: Teaching with Mobile Tech 

The digital generation expects to be able to access learning anytime, anywhere. As mobile technologies emerge at breathtaking speed and become a ubiquitous part of students' lives, how are schools evolving? How are teachers using tablets, smartphones, netbooks, and e-readers to engage students as active learners? This issue will explore innovative ways to create more relevant and challenging learning experiences. We welcome articles about educators' experiences with 1:1 tablet and BYOD (bring-your-own-device) programs and about how schools are meeting such challenges as equity issues, security concerns, professional development needs, and school infrastructure supports.

Submissions due: February 15, 2015

May 28: Rethinking Time

Time corresponds to student learning not in the amount of time in school, but rather, how effectively that time is used (CPE, 2006). With that in mind, how are schools examining how they use time, and what changes are they making to ensure school time is well-spent? Potential topics in this issue include: What impact do school start times have on learning? How can teachers maximize instructional time? Which scheduling configurations make the best use of existing time in the school? Do students have enough time to meet the learning goals set by standards? How are competency-based and personalized approaches to learning shifting how students progress through curriculum? What is the case for extending school days and/or years, and how is time used in schools that have opted to add time? What are some strategies for setting aside more time for teacher collaboration and professional development?

Submissions due: March 1

June 11: Feedback for Impact

John Hattie wrote, "When teachers listen to their students' learning, they know what worked, what didn't, and what they need to change to foster student growth" (2012). Feedback is the bridge between these teacher observations and student action. How do you structure feedback so that it helps students improve? What role do formative assessments play? How do you align feedback to visible learning targets? What's key to managing ongoing feedback? Do you apply different approaches to feedback for group work? Can students give each other meaningful feedback? How can we train students to listen to their own learning and adjust as needed? How do you create time for feedback and what do you do when feedback flounders? How does the feedback you give inform your next steps for instruction?

Submissions due: March 15

June 25: Improving Schools from Within 

Has your school gone from low-performing to high-performing? Has your school overcome obstacles to change for the better? If you have participated in a reform effort or turnaround model that worked (or did not work), share your knowledge and experience with other educators. With this issue, which accompanies Educational Leadership’s summer all-digital issue, we’re looking to expand on the February 2015 theme, "Improving Schools: What Works?" to look at some up-close examples of schools that worked with their communities, sharpened their focus, took risks to innovate, or built trust within their schools or districts. What are your recommendations for others who want to apply the lessons you've learned?

Submissions due: April 1

July 9: Words, Words, Words

Vocabulary knowledge is a strong predictor of school success. Yet research shows that huge differences in vocabulary development exist among socioeconomic groups as children enter school. This issue will explore the connection between vocabulary, reading comprehension, and learning. Articles will describe how teachers at a variety of grade levels and in a variety of content areas can provide rich language experiences. How can teachers balance explicit and implicit vocabulary instruction? How can they decide what vocabulary to teach; build students’ independent word-learning skills; assess students’ vocabulary learning; and encourage students to use powerful vocabulary in their writing and speaking? How can we help English language learners develop not only conversational proficiency but also academic vocabulary?

Submissions due: April 15

July 23: Supportive Student Discipline

Students learn best in an environment where they feel safe and supported, but creating such an environment can be a challenge. This issue will consider how schools can address students’ social and emotional needs to ensure that all students, including those who struggle with their behavior, are able to learn. What kinds of programs and policies are schools implementing to guide student behavior, and what can educators do to ensure they’re fairly applied? We welcome articles on how schools have reduced harsh and exclusionary policies, such as suspension; implemented effective classroom management approaches; and promoted positive behavior schoolwide.

Submissions due: May 1

August 13: New Teacher Needs

Linda Darling-Hammond (2012) says new teachers want to work in an environment where they're going to be successful with students, where they're getting help to do that, where they have good colleagues, where they're working as a team. How are schools serving these new teacher needs? This issue seeks practical guidance for first-year teachers, whether just out of college or switching careers. What are some strategies for handling the logistics of teaching, like managing paperwork and establishing structure and routines? Which resources help career-switchers translate content expertise into pedagogy? What are some models for ensuring new teachers have plenty of opportunities to observe and partner with master teachers? How can new teachers avoid burnout, power struggles, trying to be the "cool teacher," and other common pitfalls?

Submissions due: May 15

August 27: In Sync with Families

Research shows that parent involvement helps kids do better in school. But what kind of outreach truly brings families into their children’s education as partners and taps into their strengths and perspectives? This issue will examine how administrators, teachers, and school staff can reach out to families—including nontraditional ones—in ways that not only make families feel welcome, but also enable them to contribute to their child’s academic achievement and to the school’s effectiveness. We welcome articles on communicating with families from diverse cultures and non-English speaking families; dealing positively with oppositional, uninvolved (or over-involved) parents; soliciting parents’ ideas and putting them into action; and respectfully connecting with families.

Submissions due: June 1