This week, we welcome a guest post from Besty Corcoran, CEO of EdSurge. LearnLaunch is an official supporter of EdSurge Fusion.


Want to take a look inside some of the innovative schools in America? The second annual EdSurge Fusion conference is designed to be your entryway.

This year’s theme— Personalized Learning for the Whole Learner—aims to help school leaders from around the U.S. see how their peers are shaping learning environments for students and educators. And far more than just listening to speakers from a stage, we’re crafting time for conference attendees to meet in intimate groups with each other and with speakers to explore the issues and challenges that confront each one.

At Fusion, you will meet leading education thinkers and doers from organizations that include the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Digital Promise, FutureReady, LEAP Innovations, KnowledgeWorks, ISTE, Ed-Fi, IMS Global and many others. But equally important will be the conversations and learning that you will do with practitioners—from Maine to California, Florida, Texas, Illinois and everywhere in between—who are tackling familiar challenges.

To share the science and the inspiration for building a strong social-emotional core to education we’ve tapped Dr. Pamela Cantor (Turnaround for Children) and Dr. Bror Saxberg and Dr. Brooke Stafford-Brizard (CZI). Phyllis Lockett, founder of LEAP Innovations will share how the science is translating into practice in Chicago.

Jonathan Raymond, former Superintendent of Sacramento and now President of the Stuart Foundation and author of Wildflowers, will explore the social-emotional underpinnings of his work in turning around Sacramento. Virgel Hammonds, now chief learning officer of KnowledgeWorks, will take us deeply into the detailed work of driving change as he helped do in Maine and in California’s Lindsay Unified.

Practitioners are at the heart of Fusion: Dr. Rosa Perez-Isiah, principal of Lucille Smith Elementary in Lawndale, Calif., and Farhat Ahmad, an alternative education teacher from Marietta, Ga., will share how they are building communities rooted in principles of equity for all learners. FutureReady’s Tom Murray and Melissa Dodd from San Francisco Unified will spell out best practices for building a learning scaffold that embraces SEL as well as the physical and academic needs of learners.

Karen Cator, who leads Digital Promise will share ideas at the forefront of building a strong research base for practice. We’ll unpack the complexities of how to make different technology systems work together with Dr. Rob Abel of IMS-Global and Troy Wheeler of Ed-Fi. Lenny Schad, chief technology officer from Houston, will lead the conversation around how to identify what speeds up—and trips up—initiatives.

Over the past seven years, our team at EdSurge has had the privilege of learning from tens of thousands of education leaders through our work as reporters, conveners and researchers. We set out to create a unique conference, with distinct “take home” results:

* Actionable information, presented in ways that will have immediate relevance to your school or district.

* Purposeful opportunities for Fusion participants to build relationships and engage in meaningful conversations with other leaders in education.

The list of speakers is growing daily. ( Take a look here.) “Working through problems with people, having a little consultancy group or advisory board—you don’t get that from other conferences,” said Steve Myrthil, formerly director of digital learning and IT at Achievement First, who attended Fusion 2017.

Growing faster is a community of powerful attendees. “I liked the spirit of working with others and having a common problem of practice. I left Fusion with clear, tangible next steps,” added Chip Chase of Capital City Public Charter School.

In the year since Fusion 2017, the EdSurge team has traveled around the country running events in over 50 different local communities where we talked with local educators about their successes and the challenges of implementing personalized learning. We’ve drawn from all those experiences to create Fusion 2018.

“If you want to be in the same place as a lot of heavy hitters in education and game changers, this is the place to come. Not only are those people here, but they’re available to you to sit down, to have conversations with, and really get your questions answered,” said Travis Lape of the Harrisburg School District.

We’d love to include you and your colleagues in this year’s Fusion. It is a “by-invitation” event: You can nominate an educator you see as a leader in your community or request an invitation for yourself. (We do this to ensure that we have a rich mosaic of school leader practitioners.) We are also encouraging teams, so that classroom teachers can attend with an administrator.

And we’re doing our best to make this an outstanding value: Through August 3, we’re offering an “early bird” price of $449. (That’s a $200 savings). Click here for all the Fusion details.

Join us in South San Francisco on October 2-4 for what we believe will be one of the most impactful and memorable education events of the year.