110th NREA Convention and Research Symposium

OCTOBER 11–13, 2018
Denver, Colorado

Registration is Now Closed

For most rural school districts in this country, collaboration is not a choice, it is a necessity. Collaboration helps to elevate the voice of rural districts, uplift and empower isolated educators, administrators, and students, and leverage limited resources to tackle big issues. In the spirit of collaboration, Battelle for Kids and the National Rural Education Association (NREA) will host the 2018 National Forum to Advance Rural Education and 110th NREA Convention and Research Symposium.
This annual event is designed to create an environment for collaboration and innovation with a diverse community—national experts, K–12 and higher education practitioners, leading researchers, policymakers, and philanthropic leaders—to learn and share ideas around the topics at the forefront of rural education and to ensure 21st century learning is a reality for all rural students. Ultimately, we want to help unite and inspire people to action.


Thursday, October 11, 2018

8–9 a.m.
Registration and Breakfast 

9 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Learning Sessions

Friday, October 12, 2018

8–9 a.m.
Registration and Breakfast
9 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Learning Sessions
5–7 p.m.
Auction and Reception

Saturday, October 13, 2018

9–11 a.m.
Breakfast and Closing Session

Keynote Speakers

Thursday, October 11

Increasing Access to 21st Century Learning in Rural Education Spark your thinking with this series of TED-talk style presentations by nationally-recognized experts who will focus on increasing access to 21st century learning in rural education from the systems, community, and student perspectives.


Ken Kay
Chief Executive Officer, EdLeader21

Ken is the Chief Executive Officer of EdLeader21, a professional learning community for education leaders committed to 21st century education. Ken co-founded the Partnership for 21st Century Skills in 2002 and served as its President for eight years. Prior to his work on 21st century education, Ken served as executive director of the CEO Forum on Education and Technology. Ken spent 28 years in Washington, DC, where he gained a national reputation as a coalition builder on competitiveness. Ken founded a landmark coalition of U.S. universities and high-tech companies focused on research and development issues, and was the founding Executive Director of the premier CEO advocacy group in the U.S. computer industry.

Bill De La Cruz
Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Denver Public Schools

Bill de la Cruz is an inspiring leader who has been guiding individuals and groups through the process of personal transformation as a mediator, facilitator, and workshop leader for 30 years. He developed his programs and workshops to help others build self-awareness, enhance relationships, and foster positive, sustainable personal growth.

Bill's method is built on a conversational format for infusing culturally responsive relationship-building into leadership development. Utilizing a lens of equity, inclusion and bias-awareness, Bill facilitates effective dialogue about the impact of race, class, and bias in our relationships, policies, and leadership practices. Bill has outlined this transformational process in his book, Finding the Origination Point: Understanding Our Biases to Create a More Peaceful World.

Michelle Sadrena Pledger
Project Co-director, Deeper Learning Hub

Michelle Sadrena Pledger is the project co-director of the Deeper Learning Hub, a national practitioner hub whose mission is to spread deeper learning practices and ensure that more students across the country are achieving deeper learning outcomes. She is co-leading the Share Your Learning Campaign, which aims to spread student-centered practices (exhibitions, student led conferences, and presentations of learning) to 5 million students by 2020.

Michelle also works for the Center for Research on Equity and Innovation at High Tech High’s Graduate School of Education as Coordinator of High Tech High submissions to Education Week’s Learning Deeply blog, lead planner and facilitator of the annual Equity Deep Dive, and a Culturally-Responsive Pedagogy Coach.

Thursday, October 11


Student Panel

Hear rural students share their perspectives on various topics.

Friday, October 12


Temple Grandin
Author, Autism Self-Advocate, and Animal Scientist

Helping Different Minds Solve Problems & Develop Talents
Temple Grandin, Ph.D., is the most accomplished and well-known adult with autism in the world. Her fascinating life, with all its challenges and successes, has been brought to the screen with the HBO full-length film Temple Grandin, starring Claire Danes.

Dr. Grandin is a speaker who inspires and motivates others through her story. She has been featured on NPR and major television programs, including the BBC special The Woman Who Thinks Like a Cow, ABC's Primetime Live, The Today Show, Larry King Live, 48 Hours, and 20/20 and has been written about in many national publications, including Time, People, Forbes, US News
and World Report, and The New York Times.

2018–2019 Monsanto Fund Rural Teacher of the Year

Watch the 2018–2019 Rural Teacher of the Year be awarded and deliver luncheon remarks.

Saturday, October 13


Jamie Meade
Chief of Staff, Battelle for Kids

Building Hope to Empower Rural America
When educators and the local community join forces to foster hope, we're leveraging our greatest educational resource—empowerment! In 1991, positive psychologist, Charles Snyder, and his team of researchers introduced the Hope Theory, asserting the importance of goals, agency, and pathways. Explore the evolving science of hope across two decades of research, gain insights and strategies for leveraging our greatest assets in rural America to build hope, and most importantly, learn why hope matters for our future.
Hyatt Regency Denver Tech Center
7800 E Tufts Avenue, Denver, CO 80237, United States
Registration Information
Presenter Registration
Sale Ends: Oct 06, 2018 11:59 PM MDT
Up to TWO presenters per session may register at the discounted presenter rate. All others are to register using the Attendee Registration option.
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Attendee Registration
Sale Ends: Oct 11, 2018 11:59 PM MDT
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Group Discount (3 or more)
Sale Ends: Oct 06, 2018 11:59 PM MDT
If you have three or more attendees, select this registration option, choose the number in your group, and you will be prompted to enter contact information for each as you proceed. You will receive 10% off the individual registration rate.
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Hosted By

Battelle for Kids

Battelle for Kids is a national not-for-profit organization committed to collaborating with school systems and communities to realize the power and promise of 21st century learning for every student. Our team of experienced educators alongside communications, technology, and business professionals innovates and partners with school systems to offer an educational experience that prepares all students to become lifelong learners and contributors in an ever-changing world.

National Rural Education Association (NREA)

NREA is the voice of all rural schools and rural communities across the United States. NREA was originally founded as the Department of Rural Education in 1907. It is the oldest established national organization of its kind in the United States. Through the years it has evolved as a strong and respected organization of rural school administrators, teachers, board members, regional service agency personnel, researchers, business and industry representatives, and others interested in maintaining the vitality of rural school systems across the country.

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