Navigating Education in a Time of Uncertainty: A Virtual Summit for Educators

Friends! Our first Virtual Summit for Educators was such a hit–and the response was so great–that we knew we had to plan another.

So here it is: the second Virtual Summit for Educators.

And educators can earn a certificate for 6 Contact Hours upon completion of the course!

Register now (so you don’t forget!) by clicking here: Count me in!

Navigating Education in a Time of Uncertainty with Teach Mama: A Virtual Summit for Educators presented by Advancement Courses

And the cost? Free to all educators!

That’s right—totally and completely free for all teachers and educators. And you’ll be able to earn a Certificate of Completion for 6 Contact Hours upon completion of the Summit. Woo-hoooo!

Again, I joined forces with some really, truly amazing experts, and we are excited to share a ton of resources with you. We will be sharing a ton of strategies, tips, tricks, ideas, and tools that you can use at home or in your classroom (virtual or not!).

We know this year ahead looks and seems crazy. We know so many of us are filled with uncertainty, weary of change, and bracing ourselves for loss. We know that you have many questions and you just want answers.

But we know that we are incredibly resilient and that this really can be the best year ever!

This Virtual Summit will feature the great folks from Common Sense Education with a super-close look at all of the free resources they offer for educators!

This Virtual Summit for Educators will have sessions on topics like:

  • creating a virtual classroom–and hybrid classroom
  • communicating with families
  • dealing with teacher stress
  • managing student behavior (online and offline!)
  • untangling overwhelm
  • mindfulness at work and home
  • looking and feeling your best
  • and more!

The Virtual Summit for Educators is 100% free because we want to celebrate you.

Every person who registers for the summit will receive:

  • the chance to earn a Certificate of Completion for 6 Contact Hours upon completion of the Summit
  • the login link to the Virtual Summit which you will have access to through the end of September
  • a Virtual Gift Bag from Advancement Courses and our presenters
  • the opportunity to win some fab giveaways!

Just a few of the items we’ll be giving away during and after the event:

We’re giving away:

  • TWO “One for Me, One for a Friend” courses from Advancement Courses, so two teachers will be able to take a free class and give one to a friend.
  • $100 Amazon gift card
  • Book set of Raising a Rock-Star Reader & Setting the Stage for Rock-Star Readers, by Allison McDonald and me (!).

Wait. You can’t make it on August 18? That’s okay!

If you have things going on August 18, don’t worry! Feel free to drop on and drop off as your schedule allows!

Also know that we will be streaming it LIVE ON FACEBOOK if you can’t log into a session via ZOOM and will send you a link to the recording if you can’t log in at all during the day.

Register by clicking this link or the Register Now image above:

REMINDER: The recording will be sent afterwards if you are unable to make it live. Instructions for securing your Certificate of Completion will be shared at the end of the Summit.


9:00 – 9:10  Welcome

9:10-9:30        5 Things for All Educators to Remember in This Time of Great Uncertainty and Change

Dr. Kim Stein

Dr. Kim Stein has spent over 20 years in education, as a high school English teacher, administrator, ESOL Resource teacher, and both a teacher and principal for Florida Virtual School. She now teaches at the college level and will share five important things to remember about education right now. Whether this is your first year teaching or your 35th year, Dr. Stein’s tips will help to keep you focused on what’s really important.

9:30 – 10:00 Connecting On-Screen And Off With Young Students 

Allison McDonald 

Allison McDonald will answer all our questions about how to connect with your students, their families, and navigate this new way of learning for early childhood educators. She will share what’s worked for her, how she supports her students through various avenues, and how teachers can adhere to developmentally appropriate principles with distance learning.

10:00 – 10:30  Five Strategies for Blended Learning 

                        Danielle Strohmeyer and Leah Jurek of Advancement Courses

COVID-19 has forced many schools into remote or blended learning for the foreseeable future. Teachers are having to adapt their classrooms and practices overnight, leaving many to wonder: Which teaching strategies work best for blended learning? How do I make sure all my students receive the support they need, regardless of ability or learning style?

Join us for our session, Five Strategies for Blended Learning, to get the tools you need to meet these challenges with confidence and excellence. We’ll explore best practices for remote and blended learning and dive into principles of accessibility so you can ensure your online instruction is equitable for all learners. By the end of the session, you’ll walk away with the foundational knowledge you need to support a great variety of learning styles in the online environment.

10:30 – 11:00  Setting Up A Virtual Classroom 

 Kayla Dornfeld 

Times are different right now, and many of us have struggled with how to make the transition from a typical classroom to a virtual classroom this year. The great news is that there’s no “right” way to create a virtual classroom, and there are a million ways to do it! Kayla Dornfeld will show you how she created her virtual classroom, from the space where she records to the platforms she has found most successful for her students. She’ll also let us take a look at her “IRL” classroom this fall!

11:00 – 11:30  How to Ignore the ‘Teacher Hate’ So That You Can Thrive  

           Q & A with Juan Edgar Gonzales, Jr., Jon Harper, and Trevor Muir 

Whether coming from the news, family members, politicians, or from that guy from middle school who you still follow on Facebook, there is a lot of ignorant, rude, and clueless teacher-bashing right now. And all of it is from people who have no idea what teachers actually do. This session is a conversation between Juan Edgar Gonzales, Jr., Trevor Muir, and Jon Harper about how to tune these loud and unhelpful voices out so that you can thrive during this challenging time.

11:30-12:00 School, Parenting and Keeping it Together…as best we can

Cristy Clavijo-Kish  and Lina Acosta Sandaal

How do we make the most of this unusual educational situation that we’re in right now? How do we as educators and parents “re-frame” the negative to positives? How do we use our communities–both at school and at home–to best support our learners? Join us as we talk about communication, social and emotional development, and maintaining our sanity with parenting experts and educators, Cristy, Lina, and Amy.

12:00 – 12:30  Breathe & Learn: Introducing Mindfulness into the Classroom

  Joanie Plake

Joanie will share five ways that educators can bring mindfulness into the classroom, even if that classroom is online! She will share techniques for helping younger learners and older learners alike, and these are strategies that even parents can use at home! Breathe & Learn supports students’ social-emotional journeys at home and at school, and it’s even more important now, with distance learning!

12:30 – 1:00  Using Technology: The New Normal

 Shira Moskovitz 

Together we will think through some of the common problems that we face as teachers working with students who think and learn differently. We’ll categorize problems, develop a toolbox of free technology support, and plan for successful remote, blended, and in-person learning. We will end with some Q&A to address individual concerns and questions.

1:00 – 1:30   Untangle the Overwhelm of an Uncertain Back-to-School Season

         Jill Kristine Riley

Jill Kristine Riley is a professional Life Coach whose main goal with all of her clients is to get people “Out of Overwhelm” and on the right track for a life of more deliberate and meaningful time for work and family. Jill will share a few ways that everyone can pinpoint their most important goals and plan deliberate action steps to ensure that work time is purposeful and family time is quality.

1:30 – 2:00  Everyone Can Look & Feel Their Best–No Matter the Classroom

                   Monica Barnett & Audrey McClelland

Monica and Audrey will show you how to find affordable, on-trend staples this fall so that you are looking professional (and stylish!) whether you are seeing students virtually or face-to-face. School may look a little different than in the past, but it’s still important for teachers to look good and feel their best! We will look at affordable fashion and accessories for women and men, no matter the age or size. Monica and Audrey will also recommend a few versatile pieces to kick up your wardrobe so you are comfortable and looking your most professional. You work so hard for your students; you deserve to look and feel your best!

2:00-2:30  Diversifying Your Classroom (& Home!) Library 

                 Alison Leary, Debbie Yun, Amy Mascott

No matter where you are teaching this fall–online or off–using a wide array of diverse texts with your students is an absolute must. But what do diverse texts look like in 2020? Where can you find them? How can you afford them? Which books are worth your time–and your students’? How can you be sure to reach all readers? These three Reading Specialists have some ideas for you, for the youngest learners up to our high schoolers. 

2:30 – 3:00   It Makes Sense to Bring Common Sense Education Into the Classroom: Learn Why 

                    Q & A by Sue Thotz, Senior Program Manager, Common Sense Education

Common Sense is the nation’s leading nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of all kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education, and independent voice they need to thrive in the 21st century. Learn first hand from Common Sense Education’s Senior Program Manager, Sue Thotz, about the wealth of free resources available for educators on Wide Open Schools and how these resources can be used today to make your instruction more hands-on, more meaningful, and more attuned to your students’ learning needs.


Monica Barnett

Monica Barnett is a wardrobe stylist and personal branding expert with 13+ years of experience working with professional men and women. Having worked with C-suite folks, entrepreneurs, and creatives, she focuses on the power of the first impression and how to ensure people feel good by looking great! She has an online style school called the style school and loves that ‘ah-ha’ moment people get when they’ve nailed their style and are feeling confident!

Cristy Clavijo-Kish

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Kayla Dornfeld

Kayla Dornfeld is the 2019 North Dakota Teacher of the Year, and Mrs. West Fargo International. Kayla is a two-time (2017 and 2018) Global Hundred honoree, recognizing her as 1 of the top 100 innovative educators in the world. She has 13 years of teaching experience in second and third grade. Kayla holds her master’s degree in Elementary Education from the University of North Dakota. In September 2018, she received the University of North Dakota Sioux Award, the highest honor of achievement offered by her University. Her work with classroom redesign and flexible seating has become the standard worldwide. She is currently writing a book about classroom learning spaces and flexible seating, titled FlexED: Flexible Seating for Flexible Learners, set to release in 2020. She is also a co-author of the best-selling book Education Write Now, published in December 2017, and 10 Perspectives on Learning in Education, coming out in spring 2020. Connect with Kayla on all social media platforms @topdogteaching, and her student led social media accounts @topdogkids.

Juan Edgar Gonzalez, Jr

Juan Edgar Gonzalez Jr. is an elementary public school teacher in Dickinson, Texas. Since he was a kid, he knew teaching would be a future chapter in his life. If you were to rummage through old family photos, you’d quickly find pictures of Juan holding a book or attempting to teach his younger brothers something new. Juan pursued this dream and obtained a B.A. in interdisciplinary studies at the University of Houston. 

With over ten years of classroom experience in first, second, and third grade, he has learned that in order to create a nurturing classroom experience, educators must put students before everything else they do in the classroom. Juan believes that educators are most successful when we listen to what students need and who they are.

In the last few years, Juan has used social media to share ideas and his love for literacy with other educators. This platform has given Juan opportunities to travel around the world to visit schools, blog for publishing media giant Scholastic Inc., and speak at various education conferences. His mission through this work is to spotlight the great work all educators are doing in classrooms and to inspire everyone to read more books.

Jon Harper

During his 21 years in education, Jon Harper has been a classroom teacher, a math coach and currently serves as the assistant principal at Sandy Hill Elementary School in Cambridge, Maryland. He is the author of My Bad: 24 Educators Who Messed Up, Fessed Up and Grew. Jon hosted My Bad and co-hosts Teachers’ Aid for the BAM Radio Network. He is also a national and international speaker. His writings have appeared in Education Week, ASCD Express and NAESP’s Principal. He lives on the eastern shore of Maryland with his wife and two children.

Leah Jurek

Leah Jurek is the Director of Partner Development for Advancement Courses. She supports campuses and districts with professional development solutions across the country and specializes in helping educators advance in their careers. She has a strong K-12 educational background and brings over 17 years of experience that includes previous roles such as a teacher, campus leader, school grant manager, and district leader. She knows first-hand how to utilize professional development to support other school leaders with meeting their campus and district wide goals and coaches others on how to strategically align to other competing priorities for overall improvement. She received her M.Ed. in Educational Administration from Texas A&M University. Connect with Leah:

Alison Leary


Joanie Plake

Joanie is the founder of Breathe & Learn, a curriculum-based kids yoga and mindfulness program.  Her yoga journey began while living in New York City and earning her Masters in Elementary and Special Education at New York University. Through her unique experience as a childhood educator, Joanie is well-versed in building developmentally and age appropriate foundational skills through yoga and mindfulness. As a former teacher at Citizens of the World Charter School Mar Vista, she found that daily breathing exercises and meditation worked wonders in helping her children self-regulate and manage their emotions. In addition, the physical postures offered a fun introduction to healthy living. She graduated from the 200 hr. Soho Yoga Teacher Training in April 2016 and shortly after, received her children’s certification through Yoga Ed.  Joanie lives in Manhattan Beach, CA and runs after-school programming and camps for the local beach community.  She also supports schools in developing and implementing a variety of  social-emotional learning curriculums. Connect with Joanie: @breatheandlearn 

Amy Mascott

Amy Mascott is the creator of, where since 2008, she has helped families cultivate meaningful connections and build important bridges between home and school. A Reading Specialist, writer, and literacy consultant, Amy’s work has been featured on dozens of online and print publications, including Scholastic Parents, Scholastic Instructor, PBS Parents,, and more.  Amy is a former high school English teacher who has truly expanded the walls of classroom, sharing her expertise at local and national events and co-authoring Raising a Rock-Star Reader: 75 Quick Tips for Helping Your Child Develop A Lifelong Love of Reading (Scholastic, 2016) and Setting the Stage for Rock-Star Readers: Helping Young Children Develop A Lifelong Love of Reading (Scholastic, 2019). Married to an elementary school administrator, Amy resides in the DC Metro with her three crazy-cool kids, a dog, and way too many books. Connect with Amy: / twitter: @teachmama / instagram: @teachmama1

Audrey McClelland

Audrey McClelland, a social media consultant and brand advocate is the founder of, an online destination for mothers. Mom Generations is in its 10th year and is a lifestyle destination for mothers. Audrey is the mother of 5 children – William (15), Alexander (14), Benjamin (12), Henry (11) and Victoria (6). Audrey was named to “The Power Pack” Moms in Nielson’s Online Power Moms list, naming her one of the most influential moms online. Audrey’s naturally honest and positive approach to sharing parenting advice has led to features in numerous parenting and lifestyle magazines, TV shows, news segments, radio shows, and popular websites. Most recently Audrey was a cast member on TLC’s parenting show, “What She Said” and was asked to be part of YouTube’s Parent Panel. She’s also a long-standing contributor to TODAY Show Parents Network.  Audrey has also partnered with fellow lifestyle blogger Vera Sweeney (Lady and the Blog) to create Audrey + Vera Media. They collaborate on video production projects, blogger outreach programs, offline events and online social events. Audrey has a B.A. in Theatre Arts from Brown University and has worked for Donna Karan International in New York City. She lives in Providence, RI with her husband and 5 children. Follow Audrey on social: Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest – @AudreyMcClellan Facebook/YouTube – MomGenerations – TikTok: @AudreyMcClelland

Allison McDonald

Allison McDonald has been teaching preschoolers since the early 90s including leading day camps, being a reading tutor, running a large childcare center,  and her favorite teaching preschool. Her varied teaching experiences have given her a unique perspective and flexible attitude that has helped her create engaging classrooms in all kinds of early childhood settings. Allison is the co-author of two books about early literacy, a preschool teacher, and she runs the popular early childhood education website No Time For Flash Cards. She holds a BA in History, A B.Ed in elementary education, and a Master’s in early childhood and family development. Connect with Allison:

Shira Moskovitz

Shira Moskovitz is a fifth-grade special education inclusion teacher in Sunnyside, New York. She holds a BA in graphic design and an MA in elementary education from CUNY Queens College. Moskovitz also earned a post-master’s certificate in special education from CUNY Brooklyn College. She has been teaching for six years. Shira’s focus is on teaching students and other teachers about how to use technology as a tool to support learning and development.

Trevor Muir 

Trevor Muir is a teacher, author, and international speaker. He is the author of the books The Epic Classroom and The Collaborative Classroom. Trevor is a professor at Grand Valley State University, a former faculty member for the Buck Institute for Education, and is one of the Andrew Gomez Dream Foundation speakers. His work has been featured in the Huffington Post, The Atlantic, Edutopia, EdWeek, and WeAreTeachers. He gave a TEDx Talk titled, “School Should Take Place in the Real World,” at TEDxSanAntonio. Trevor’s Facebook page, The Epic Classroom, has inspiring videos that have been viewed over 29 million times. At the heart of Trevor’s work is the conviction that every student has the potential for greatness, and every teacher can be equipped to unlock that potential.

Jill Kristine Riley

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Lina Acosta Sandaal

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Kim Stein

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Danielle Strohmeyer

Danielle Strohmeyer is an instructional designer for Advancement Courses. She develops courses that support the professional growth needs of educators across the country, and specializes in recertification and helping teachers advance in their careers. As the former primary and middle school assistant principal of an international school, she cultivated a staff of educators from around the world and led the design of ELA, social studies, and SEL curricula to support learners of all abilities. She received her M.Ed. in Secondary Education from Ball State University. Over the course of her career, she has appeared in multiple publications for groups such as the Shanghai Institute for International Curriculum Research. Connect with Danielle:

Sue Thotz

Sue Thotz is a senior program manager for Common Sense Education. In 2011, Sue began working for Common Sense in Chicago by partnering with educators and parents to help them create a culture where students use technology in a meaningful, thoughtful, and respectful way. Since moving to Los Angeles in 2014, Sue has provided educational leadership through motivating keynotes, professional development workshops, conference presentations, and consulting with districts across Southern California.

Prior to Common Sense, Sue was a researcher and educator. She worked with Abt Associates to manage an experimental study evaluating the efficacy of a computer-based literacy curriculum across 44 randomized Chicago public schools. Through the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health, Sue conducted research on community food security, eventually teaching those same assessment methods to high school students to take civic action in their own neighborhoods. Sue conducted qualitative interviews evaluating nutritional practices among rural women in Vietnam using a community-based participatory Photovoice technique in partnership with the National Institute of Nutrition. Sue holds a master’s degree in public health and an undergraduate degree in zoology and chemistry. She lives in a small house with a 13-year-old reader, an 11-year-old gamer, and a most clever musician. Follow her on Twitter @suethotz.

Debbie Yun

Debbie Yun was a classroom teacher for 8 years and is currently serving as a Reading Specialist in Montgomery County Public Schools, Maryland. In 2004, she received the Marion Greenblatt Rising Star Teacher of the Year Award. She holds a BA in Elementary Education and a M. Ed specializing in Curriculum and Instruction with a certification as a Reading Specialist both from the University of Maryland, College Park. This fall, she will continue her studies in Administration and Leadership at McDaniel College. Debbie believes that every child is unique and tries to look at the whole child in order to meet their needs. Her approach to education is all about building relationships and recognizing every students potential to be someone great. In the school, Debbie also serves as a mentor for new teachers and a resource for her staff in reading instruction. She recently got married during the pandemic and is enjoying the wife life! Connect with Debbie on Instagram @debbie.yunie

Through our Give 10 Get 10 initiative,
we offer 10% off your purchase at checkout with
the code GIVETEN.
Advancement Courses then donates 10% of every purchase to
projects. Educators can submit their projects for funding consideration by clicking here.

fyi: This post was written as part of a partnership with Advancement Courses, but as always, my opinions are all my own, influenced only by my experience as a parent and educator.

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