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  YOUR CO-HOST   St. Stephen's and St. Agnes School serves 1,100 students in grades JK-12 on three separate, but proximate, campuses (grades JK-5, 6-8 and 9-12) in Alexandria, VA. The Forum will be held at the upper school campus on St. Stephen’s Road.
Emotional Regulation & the Twice Exceptional Child w/ Joshua Metz, LCSW, Head of School, The Auburn School-Fairfax
Why is it that my child is intellectually two grades ahead his age group and yet throws tantrums and has less self control than his younger sibling? To understand why, come join an expert for a discussion on the neurobiology of emotional regulation. More significantly, discover how you can help your children – or students – leverage their cognitive gifts in ways that will support and develop their social and emotional thinking.
Powerful Ways to Improve Critical Thinking & Writing w/ Nathan Levy, Educator & Author, Nathan Levy
Explore numerous, proven methods to reach and effectively challenge highly capable children with well-known author and educator Nathan Levy. Come away with a variety of new strategies and specific ideas to help learners become better creative and critical thinkers. Bring your thinking caps and your funny bones.
The Heart of EQ: Tools to Empower w/ Dr. Kate Bachtel, (Board President of SENG) Founder, SoulSpark Learning
Emotional intelligence – EQ - is inextricably tied to cognition, achievement and well-being. Join in this presentation and acquire a variety of evidence-based strategies and tools to cultivate the development of discrete social and emotional skills in gifted learners. Learn ways to avoid the pitfalls of perfectionism, develop optimism, engage intrinsic motivation and enhance emotional literacy while growing healthy relationships. You will leave empowered with practices to support student social and emotional development in school and at home.
Developing Effective Executive Functioning Skills w/ Evan Weinberger, Co-Founder & President, Illuminos, LLC
When in school, students are exposed to all sorts of subject matter: history, science, mathematics … and the foundational tools - reading, writing – that can help them extend their knowledge as learners. What is often missing in the process is the gainful development of core executive functioning skills; skills that facilitate organization, prioritization, goal-setting, time-management, self-presentation … the skills that provide students with the capacity to maximize their learning experience, their performance potential and their ability to thrive in the face of learning differences in and beyond the classroom. Join in and discover how to enable your child master those critical executive function skills. Help your student get the most out of the school experience.
Planning for High School for Advanced Learners w/ Michelle Muratori, Ph.D., Senior Counselor,  Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth
Take advantage of professional advice as you, a parent, or you, a student, plan and prepare for high school. If you are concerned about identifying and ultimately choosing a high school program that will best serve your academic, social and emotional needs, then come and gain insights and tips that are invaluable in enabling the advanced learner to navigate the high school–planning process. Learn too, of resources that will help students develop interests during the high school years and, in turn, contribute to student growth and generate a stronger college application.
Artificial Intelligence in the Age of Digital Learning w/ Marra DeGraff, Personalized Learning Ambassador,
The field of artificial intelligence (AI) has advanced significantly since its inception six decades ago. Thanks to exponential growth in computer processing power, AI has progressed from issuing decisions based on simplified statistical algorithms to now incorporating factors derived from neurobiology, psychology and mathematics, to name a few. AI, in short, has become almost human in its capabilities – note Siri of iPhone fame. Come hear how AI is impacting education – what new tools have become available for educational applications and how are they helping our children learn. Gain an understanding of one of today’s most exciting technological trends and what this all means for the future of education.
An Integrated Way of Teaching and Learning w/ Katie Hahn, Teacher,  St. Stephen's and St. Agnes School
You may have heard of it – Project Based Learning (PBL). And, you may have pegged it as another one of those conceptual educational acronyms that seem to appear every five years or so. But “PBL” has had its roots as a learning approach going back to antiquity. At its core, it takes a practical, yet open-ended issue, eg. building an efficient smokestack, requiring students to gain and apply cross-disciplinary knowledge, eg. engineering, math, ecology …. The motivation is in the pride of realizing tangible results. The benefits are provided through the strengthening of critical thinking, communication and collaboration skills. Discover “PBL”, understand how this approach dramatically impacts how students learn, and learn how you can apply “PBL” principles to enhance your own child’s development.
Nourishing the Skills Children Need to Thrive Tomorrow w/ Phil Petru, Assistant Head,  The Langley School
They are among the most important skills that should be nurtured in children. They form a foundation upon which students become well-prepared for academic and social pressures. These are the skills that enable good decision-making and foster the ability to take thoughtful risks with confidence; they are vitally important to have not only for school, but also for college and beyond. It has been demonstrated that these skills are cultivated through a framework that encourages the development of mind, body and spirit in equal measure. Participate and come away with strategies on how to define and achieve that healthy and balanced approach so that a child’s academics and extracurriculars are intertwined seamlessly with interest and inquiry.
Developing Resiliency to Enable Success w/ Jeremiah Hakundy, Head of School, Tyson, VA campus,  Fusion Academy
The burden for those with ability is a double-edged sword.  On the one hand, there is the perception that feats of academic and creative accomplishments come easily. Then, on the other hand, there is the pressure to live up to the promise of high potential. Thus, for those students whose setbacks have been few and far between, dealing with even a minor failure could be especially difficult. We all face failure in some form, and we must all develop resiliency so that we may turn loss to gain. For those who are young and able, this task is not easy. Come explore the burden of ability and how to enable your child to acquire the resiliency necessary for realizing his, or her, full potential.
How to Assess Summer Enrichment Programs w/ Ricky Gunzel, Recruitment Manager, Summer Discovery
The selections seem infinite, as do the possible settings, purposes, and emphases. These are the wide assortment of summer enrichment programs all offering experiences that would provide your child with intellectual and emotional growth. But how would you look for a program that is best suited for your child’s needs and for your financial budget? More importantly, how might you assess the program’s suitability relative to the benefits that it may provide? Join in for a discussion that could enable you to contribute meaningfully to your child’s life.
Building Student Efficacy through Accountability w/ Megan Campion, Dir. of Student Affairs, BASIS Independent McLean
The goal is to make students believe that they can succeed and accomplish tasks – there is no parent, or educator, who assumes this responsibility lightly. But, in order for students to become successful, they all have to go through a process that demands that they, at times, be challenged and stretched. And, as all are aware, undertaking, even the very idea of undertaking, this process can be very uncomfortable for everyone – students, parents, and teachers. Join a discussion about the practices and habits that reinforce student accountability and that can help lead to student self-efficacy while reducing the tension and stress we can all do without.
Elevating Awareness and Empathy in our Children w/ KiKi Davis, Dir. of Institutional Equity & Diversity, St. Stephen's and St. Agnes School
Recent studies show that there is a comparatively high percentage of ethnic and gender diversity among successful companies. In fact, organizations that embrace diversity among its personnel enable a culture that fosters cognitive learning and growth. A wider acceptance of differences provides a stronger environment for creativity and a better atmosphere for learning. Cultural competency, of course, extends well beyond the recognition of ethnic and gender differences to include value systems, behavioral patterns and religions … And, the better we are in developing this competency, the better we become at developing ourselves. So, come learn how you can help play an active role in creating the emotional conditions that ensures your child’s developmental success regardless of personal or cultural beliefs.
The Backward Bike’s Guide to Mastery w/ Ryan Woods, Head of Middle School, Alexandria Country Day School
If you understand the principles of riding a bike and you can balance on two wheels, does this mean you can ride any bike, even one that doesn’t work as you would expect? Through a video demonstration you will see that knowledge and skill only take you so far. Join this interactive presentation that will help you understand how to harness knowledge and skill to take you further than “only so far” and closer to mastery, the true measure of learning. Carol Dweck, a psychologist at Stanford, has shown through her widely-recognized concept of “Growth Mindset” that ability can be developed. So, come and see how you can enable your child to foster critical habits that will leverage their knowledge and skill to greater heights.
Forming the Future with 3D Printing  (grades 4-8) with  Colleen McNeil, Dir. of Information Technology,  St. Stephen's and St. Agnes School
Believe it or not, 3D printing technology is entering its 4th decade.  Yet the process retains its novelty so as to equate its existence as still something out of the future. Gone are the muscles and anvils needed to craft precision tools at the corner blacksmith, or the mechanical training required to form high-precision items in machine shops. It almost seems that all you need is a mechanical eye and the ability to understand computer aided design (CAD) software. So, if you have at least one eye, a desire to play with CAD software and an hour, become an industrial designer and design and prototype physical objects with the latest in manufacturing technology - the 3D printer.
(grades 4-8, session limit: 20)
Show Your Schtick in a Comic Strip  (grades 6-12) with  Demetrius Seger, Art Teacher - Alexandria Campus,  Fusion Academy
Let your creativity run wild when you are given the rudiments of comic strip creation.  Gain an idea of how the pros channel their thoughts and ideas to generate a visual storyline that captures the heart and mind, or the funny bone, of the reader. Then take a turn to craft your own strip. To be sure, you will get helpful prompts, and other tips that cover the concepts of character development and themes … the rest is up to you. If you think you can’t draw, you will discover that this supposed inadequacy is very much over-rated. Having imagination is what counts.
(grades 6-12, session limit: 25)
CODING … Enuff Said  (grades 4-8) with Julie Riedy, Mathematics Teacher, and Erin Daly, Mathematics Teacher,  St. Stephen's and St. Agnes School
It is an addictive activity. If you have coded before, you are aware of it.  And, if you haven’t coded, just take our word for it, and those of the millions who do code. Whatever your experience, join in for a SCRATCH coding session. For those not in the know, be introduced to the MIT-developed block coding language by taking on some in-house, online games. You will learn enough coding to create your own online game, or online scenario. If you are further up the learning curve, appropriate challenges will be gladly supplied. Either way, you’ll leave having posted a project that will amaze your friends and family.
(grades 4-8, session limit: 25)
The Heart-Beat Biometric  (grades 4-6) with Marra DeGraff, Personalized Learning Ambassador,
On average, your heart beats over 100,000 times every day.  Your heart beats more quickly as you exercise, and it beats more slowly when you sleep. It beats faster when you are anxious and slower as you relax. But for each of us, our heart beats to a rhythm that is unique to who we are and how we feel. Discover yourself by conducting a scientific exploration that will subject your heart to a variety of tests. And when you examine the results of your research, and those of others, you may just realize how distinctive you are.
(grades 4-6, session limit: 25)
The Physics of Pong  (grades 7-12) with Dr. Muhammad Ali Yousuf, Site Manager & Physics Instructor, Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth
We’re not talking about the 2-dimensional ground-breaking electronic game developed by Atari  in the early ‘70’s – it’s the 3-dimensional sport of speed and agility played the world over. And now you can extend your knowledge of, and possible ability for (if you play), ping pong, by understanding the physics behind sending the ball speeding and spinning towards your opponent. Learn of the aerodynamic factors that play a role in ball movement, see how the laws of physics are applied when defining and modifying table tennis equipment to change the way the ball might bounce … If you like physics, sports, physics of sports, none of the above, all of the above, join in for a fascinating glimpse of science and athletics.
(grades 7-12, session limit: 25)
Robotic Exploration  (grades 4-7) with Philip Tang, Technical Support Specialist, St. Stephen's and St. Agnes School
It takes years to learn and apply a language for constructive use. But, it will take minutes to learn and apply the language of computers so that your robot servant would fulfill all of your commands. First, you will be introduced to basic coding and circuitry – the grammatical base for all programming languages. Then, you will use your knowledge to communicate to your robot instructions so that it could fulfill an exploratory mission to collect scientific materials in an environment “too hostile” for human presence. Thinking of exploring the Martian canals someday? This session might be a good place to start.
(grades 4-7, session limit: 25)
Looking in the Mirror at the Media  (grades 5-8) with Dr. Sarah Sumwalt, Dir. of Social & Emotional Learning, The Langley School
It is the all-consuming media – television, movies, print ads, news articles, etc. - that almost defines who we are,  who we should be, how we dress ... We are all subjected to how we, as individuals, are depicted by the media. And, this, to a point, governs who we think we are and how we are to act. The question is whether pre-teens and teenagers are represented accurately by the media. If not, how does one, as a pre-teen or as a teenager, push past pervasive images to recognize our own individuality and be who we think we should be. View and analyze a variety of media types and engage in a discussion that delves into the power of social perception.
(grades 5-8, session limit: 25)
The Problem Solver’s Solution to Problem Solving  (grades 5-8) with Ashley Bulldis, Chemistry Teacher, BASIS Independent McLean
We are all faced with challenges … but let’s focus on the fun ones  – the ones that intrigue us, the ones we want to tackle, the ones like puzzles and mystery solving, the ones that become especially pleasing when the “ah-ha” is gasped or when the light-bulb flashes. If you like that feeling, then join in for a session where you can learn techniques and strategies of observation, inferring and communication so that you can make those feelings come more easily. Then strive for those light-bulb flashes with three mystery (fun) challenges. The point is, whether or not your challenges are fun, you can give yourself the tools to help you overcome whatever hurdles you face.
(grades 5-8, session limit: 20)
The Polite Art of Heated Discussion  (grades 6-8) with Megan Mosier, Middle School English Teacher & Head Advisor, Alexandria Country Day School
They say never to start a conversation on politics or religion. That’s because these subjects contain issues so divisive that nasty words may not be the only barbs thrown about. But, even if the topics were relatively benign, there are times when those around you don’t seem to listen to what you, or others, say; you’ll likely contribute to the cacophony as well. This session shows how to refine communication skills – how to ask open-ended questions, to listen closely to others, to think critically for yourself, to engage in passionate but respectful discussion … We’ll take one of those controversial current topics in the news for you to apply your new-found capabilities. If any of your classes grades on participation, surely you’ll see your marks rise.
(grades 6-8, session limit: 25)
Unleash Your Inner Creativity  (grades 7-12) with Katherine Elkins, Visual Arts Teacher, and Jill McElroy, English Teacher, St. Stephen's and St. Agnes School
Leonardo da Vinci was a creative fellow, but perhaps he was not always so. For it has long been held (among many quarters) that creativity is less about genetics and more about having the willingness to try different methods and the desire to solve problems. Let this session convince you that this is true; that you have the capacity to develop the creativity essential for amazing your friends and family. Discover and try practical, collaborative methods that will foster your creative juices and amplify your power of personal expression. You will see that there are no such things as bad ideas. So, get your hands-on, dynamic, introduction to ways that will unleash the creativity that dwells within you.
(grades 7-12, session limit: 20)
Being a Part of History  (grades 7-12) with David Yee, English Teacher, St. Stephen's and St. Agnes School
Immerse yourself in 21st century activism. Roam the world through the internet contributing to social discourse and helping to influence attitudes and, ultimately, policies that address social wrongs. Concerned about voter suppression in Odessa, Ukraine or Odessa, Texas? You can be actively involved with the touch of a button. Beyond the elevated sensation of excitement, the benefits are plenty: a greater awareness of current events, a stronger capacity to use language as a form of communication, and a deeper understanding of historical trends as they unfold. Discover how to become an effective, and active, critic, so that you can help make a difference when it counts.
(grades 7-12, session limit: 25)