Bridge Conference 2014

About Bridge Conference 2014: Making Learning Personal

We hope for a world in which all youth are accessing quality services both in and out of school that help them succeed in school and in life. We believe this can only be achieved through strong partnerships between schools and afterschool and youth development (AYD) programs. The Bridge Conference brings together education and community leaders serving youth both in and out of school to come together to strengthen these partnerships between our formal education system and AYD programs.

This year's theme was Making Learning Personal, emphasizing how meaningful learning is ignited by personal passion, supports social-emotional learning all the while building competency in academics. Sessions focused on how educators can connect to students as individuals, nurture their interests, and support cognitive and social-emotional development.


Keynotes and Major Speakers

Dennis Littky
Co-Founder and Co-Director of Big Picture Learning and the Met-Center
Darlene Flynn
Racial equity consultant
& trainer
Robin DiAngelo
Associate Professor, Westfield State University
Belma Michael Johnson
Vice President, Communications & External Relations, LA's Best

Dennis Littky, co-founder and co-director of Big Picture Learning and the Met Center, will be the Bridge 2014 keynote speaker. Littky advocates for a non-traditional approach to education that delivers concrete results. He believes that children need to be engaged on a personal basis, their interests and passions need to be incorporated into a learning environment so that the education they receive is applicable to their own unique personalities. He is nationally known for his extensive work in secondary education in urban, suburban, and rural settings.

Watch Dennis speak at TEDx NYED.

Robin DiAngelo and Darlene Flynn will discuss power dynamics in cross racial relationships and how to address them as a primary strategy for creating racial equity in our work. Robin received her PhD from the University of Washington and is currently an Associate Professor of Multicultural Education at Westfield State University in Massachusetts. Darlene works as a racial equity consultant and trainer.

Drawing from his previous career in television, journalism, the music business and publishing, Belma Michael Johnson has reconfigured the LA's BEST Communications Department to have a robust social-media ecosystem; to produce its own weekly television series on Expanded Learning; to publish books about Expanded Learning; to write, edit, produce and distribute original web videos illustrating Expanded Learning; and to empower the organization to tell its own story rather than rely exclusively on soliciting coverage from traditional media outlets. One of the department's key projects is to create the Kids Can Network, a digital coalition of like-minded after school and OST programs to define and advocate for Expanded Learning—the student-centered approach to education that starts with what kids CAN do, rather than what they can't. Discuss how the Expanded Learning movement is entering the Digital Age.

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