PLC 2021

Powerful Learners: Reenergize. Reconnect. Refresh.

Save the date for our 3rd Annual Powerful Learners Conference Saturday, February 6, 2021. 

This virtual event will focus on how we can reenergize, reconnect and refresh as educators to keep students feeling safe and supported in this most unusual time.

We will be collaborating with experts from youth nonprofits, teacher preparation programs and public education. This wide range of expertise and perspectives allows us to provide sessions that will prove useful to anyone and everyone who supports K-12 students, whether you work in the classroom, in the non-profit sector, or are still in university studying to become a teacher.

Last year, we held our Powerful Learners Conference in which more than 100 educators, youth workers, tutors, professionals, and administrators from across the Bay Area came together to learn concrete strategies designed to increase students’ belief in themselves as learners and their power in the classroom and beyond.

Registration and proposal submission now open. Applications to present are due December 11, 2020.

Apply to lead a Session now

   Click here for more information about leading a session.

Register for the Conference

Interested in Sponsoring? Check out our Sponsorship Opportunities and Benefits

Our 2021 Keynote Speaker

linda darling hammond

Linda Darling-Hammond is the Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education Emeritus at Stanford University where she founded the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education and served as the faculty sponsor of the Stanford Teacher Education Program, which she helped to redesign.

Darling-Hammond is past president of the American Educational Research Association and recipient of its awards for Distinguished Contributions to Research, Lifetime Achievement, and Research-to-Policy. In 2006, Darling-Hammond was named one of the nation’s ten most influential people affecting educational policy. In 2008, she served as the leader of President Barack Obama’s education policy transition team. Among her more than 500 publications are a number of award-winning books, including The Right to Learn, Teaching as the Learning Profession, Preparing Teachers for a Changing World and The Flat World and Education. She received an Ed.D. from Temple University (with highest distinction) and a B.A. from Yale University (magna cum laude).

Event FAQs

Who should attend the Powerful Learners Conference?

Educators who are committed to meeting every student's social-emotional needs and who are committed to equity are the target audience for the Powerful Learners Conference.  The  conference is largely focused on serving students in 5th-12th grades, both in and out of the classroom.

We define educators broadly: teachers, paraprofessionals, resources aids, out-of-school-time youth developers, school and community-based organization leadership and administration, and case managers who work with students -- as well as undergrad and graduate students who will be entering the field.

All experience levels are welcome, but do come prepared to share your insights and participate in skilled and truly collaborative conversations throughout the conference. 

Register Now

What are the registration fees?

$100.00 All-Access
All Access ticket holders and those registering with their colleagues as a team will receive access to a pre-conference yoga class, special deep dive breakouts after each session with a smaller group for networking and debriefing, post-conference recordings, presentation materials, a mailed gift box, a guided stretch/dance break and a networking happy hour

$50.00 Live Access
Live conference only, presenter slides/materials

$75.00 Team All-Access - Save when you register 2+ people from the same organization/school/institution!

What does the schedule include?

**Schedule Subject to Change

Optional Yoga 9:00-9:45AM

Welcome Remarks 10:00-10:10-AM

Keynote Address 10:10-10:25AM

Breakouts 10:30-11:15AM

Deep Dive Breakout 11:15-11:35AM

Breakouts 11:40AM-12:25PM

Deep Dive Lunch 12:25-12:55PM

Breakouts 1:00-1:145PM

Stretch/Dance Break 1:45-2:00PM

Deep Dive Breakout 2:00-2:30PM

Closing Session 2:40-3:00PM

Optional Happy Hour 3:00-4:00PM


Who is speaking?

Linda Darling-Hammond, President and CEO of the Learning Policy Institute  and Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education Emeritus at Stanford University. Learn more about Linda here.

I'm interested in leading a session! What should a workshop proposal include?

Thank you for your interest! Review the strand descriptions below which provide the structure for our break-out sessions. We hope these strands help elicit strong proposals with a good mix of form and content that support attendees in deepening their practice, inspire their commitment to our shared work and spark thought-provoking conversations for all attendees.

Plan for a 45 minute interactive presentation that brings educators in the virtual space together to collaborate. Session attendees will include educators from a variety of organizations/schools as well as experience levels.

Apply to lead a Session now

Are scholarships available for the registration fee?

Scholarships are available if you or your organization cannot cover the registration fee. Please contact Mia Righetti at if the registration fee is a financial hardship. In your email, include your name, school/organization, how long you have worked with students, and how/why attending the conference will make an impact on your practice, young people, and school/organization.

Why is there a registration fee for a virtual conference?

The registration fees covers the direct costs of Gateway hosting the virtual conference, including the digital platforms (Zoom and Sched), session recording and production, significant staff skill and time to facilitate and manage the conference, and conference materials and participant boxes. The Live Access Only registration includes only the costs associated with managing and producing the live conference.

Conference Strands

The 2021 Powerful Learners Conference is focused on how we can reenergize, reconnect and refresh as educators to keep students feeling safe and supported in this most unusual time. This year's conference strands are:

As 21st century educators, we have a responsibility to interrogate the role that race has traditionally played in all aspects of our practice, from curriculum to grades and teacher feedback to the values we transmit to students. These sessions will help you understand the impact of white supremacy on your work with young people, acknowledge racial trauma, and employ anti-racist pedagogy. 

What does it take not just to be admitted to college, but to thrive once there? These sessions will focus on how we can not only prepare students academically for college, but give them the mindsets and cultural touchstones they need to effectively advocate for themselves in the post-secondary world.

Increasingly we understand that differentiation is not a strategy to be relegated to “special education” contexts, but is the keystone of a high-quality education that meets the needs of young people as the unique individuals they are. These sessions will help you create equitable learning environments that build on the strengths and meet the needs of all students in your practice.

Are you a coach, administrator, or manager who spends more time working with adults than with children directly? These sessions will show you how to build organizational cultures and practices that empower your team to have an incredible impact in the lives of the young people you serve.

These sessions will focus on strategies and practices that build environments and cultures where young people feel safe and empowered to take risks. If you work directly with students in your day-to-day role, these are can't-miss workshops.

powerful learners

These sessions will focus on strategies and practices that guide our interactions with youth, as well as building environments and cultures where young people feel safe and empowered to take risks. If you work directly with students in your day-to-day role, these are can't-miss workshops.

Apply to lead a session
Supporting Powerful Educators

These sessions emphasize professional development, coaching and collaboration strategies that empower educators to create purposeful, warm, and effective learning communities. Workshops in this topic are ideal for teacher trainers/coaches, team supervisors and school/program leadership, as well as classroom educators who are considering career growth or leadership opportunities in the near future.

apply to lead a session
powerful partnerships

Workshops for all educators whose roles require them to liaise between their organization, families and the broader community, focusing on how we can leverage the strengths and resources of the Bay Area for the benefit of all students. Highly recommended for those from non-profits and school leaders interested in expanding community outreach at their campus.

Apply to Lead a session
Powerful Practices

Sessions designed for administrators and organization leaders who are ready to act as a force for change at their site, focused on developing a clear vision and plan for cultivating social emotional capacity organization-wide.

Apply to lead a session