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UnboundEd's Winter 2020 Standards Institute

February 10-14 / Orlando

This winter, join educators from across the country for an intensive and transformative learning experience designed to improve, develop, and sustain instructional excellence. Come with a team from your school, district or network and study how the standards, content and systems can improve the performance of struggling students.

We now offer the next series of learning sessions to deepen understanding of instructional excellence and effective implementation for returning participants. To attend these sessions, you must have attended a prior Institute.

Please watch a short video from a previous Standards Institute to learn more!

What is Standards Institute?



Learning Experience:

  1. What’s the difference between Pathway I and II? Pathway I grounds participants in an understanding of grade-level standards and equitable instruction, while Pathway II, only for returning attendees, dives deeper into strategies to support English Learners and students with unfinished learning and into applying the knowledge. 
  2. Can I skip Pathway I as a first-time participant? If this is your first time attending, it is essential that you attend Pathway I as Pathway II builds on the outcomes from Pathway I. If you would like to learn more about why we suggest this, please email Joyce Macek, Director of Partnerships.
  3. Can I switch learning tracks? Switching learning tracks prior to the Standards Institute will be based on availability. Participants are unable to switch between tracks during the week for a few reasons:
    • The learning builds off the prior day's learning for each course, and the learning is deepened as the week progresses.
    • Each course builds culture and community among the group of learners throughout the week, contributing to our "safe to not know" guiding design principle.
    • Often our courses sell-out and there is not space for participants to move among rooms throughout the week.
  4. When will learning schedules be available? Learning schedules will be available by mid-December. In the meantime, feel free to review some from the past Institutes.
  5. How many days is Institute? What’s required for the certificate of completion? The Standards Institute is 5 days and we ask that participants attend every session and answer the pre- and post-surveys to receive the certificate of completion. 
  6. What is team time? Team time is an optional time each day that usually runs from 4:45-5:30 pm. It’s a popular time for teams to come together to reflect on and synthesize their learning and to an action plan for returning home. We designate space for every team, large or small, to convene and this will be available on the Institute website a few days before Institute begins.
  7. Who are my facilitators? Your facilitators will be listed once the learning schedules are available along with their photos and bios. 
  8. Is there pre-work? Yes. Pre-work is required for the Standards Institute and will be shared at least three weeks before the start date. 
  9. What is the dress-code at SI? The Standards Institute is a business-casual event. We recommend bringing layers as the workshop rooms can sometimes feel too cold or too warm. We also recommend wearing comfortable shoes.


  1. How can I register? What are the rates? Registration opening will be first announced in our bi-weekly newsletter. Add you and your colleagues to the interest list to ensure you’ll be one of the first to know. Current registration rates for Winter 2020 are as follows:
    • Pathways I & II: Early Bird Price: $2,450 (with credit card purchase) or $2,650 (with PO & check) per five-day Standards Institute.
  2. ​What’s included in the price? Registration, lunch, coffee snacks, lunch and learns, etc. Note: Breakfast, dinner, lodging and transportation are not included.
  3. Is there early bird pricing? Yes, early bird pricing is available typically the first few weeks of general registration opening, but is subject is ending prior to the promoted end date depending on session capacity. 
  4. I am a returning participant, do I receive a discount?  At the moment, discounts are not available for returning participants.
  5. I only want to attend one day of the conference, is that possible? To receive the certificate of completion, participants must attend a minimum of 36 hours of sessions throughout the week.
  6. How do I add a "lunch and learn" to my registration? Are they included in conference registration? Lunch and learns are available first-come, first-serve. If an organization requires prior registration, that will be shared via the “Know Before You Go” and daily emails and you will receive confirmation directly from the event hosts. Please add to your safe list to ensure you receive all communications.


UnboundEd is pleased to offer a discounted rate at for lodging on the same property as Standards Institute. Please note the group rates are only available until January 10, 2020.

Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace (1900 E. Buena Vista Drive, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830-2206)

$229 night plus taxes and fees for a single or double (price increases for a triple or quad)

For individual reservations, book online or call 1-800-782-4414 and mention the reservation WSI. To book for a group of more than 6 rooms, please call 1-800-782-4414.

Parking at this location is $22 + tax for daily self-parking and $30 for overnight valet.

To learn more about sponsorship opportunities for your organization or business, please contact Hallan Hanson, Senior Director, Philanthropic Development, at



Understanding the ELA Standards and Equitable Instruction

Unpack the use of higher standards as leverage to ensure all students have equitable access to quality instructional materials and unpack opportunities to improve student engagement and proficiency. Employ these understandings to shift and grow your practice and cultivate learning environments deeply rooted in the development of fluency, knowledge, vocabulary, and comprehension.

Instructional Practice

Recognize how the power of standards-aligned curriculum, instructional delivery, and self-reflection can serve as a driving force for equitable student outcomes. Engage in collaborative video study and lesson analysis. Develop an understanding of how and when to use language to amplify academic vocabulary for all students, including English learners. Recognize the importance of scaffolding grade-level text to support reading proficiency.

Deepening Content Knowledge about Reading

Examine the critical relationship between complex text and higher standards as it applies to student outcomes through practicing qualitative analysis and developing targeted scaffolds for text-dependent questions to support English learners and linguistically marginalized students. Understand the roles that close reading and voluminous reading play in and out of the classroom.


Understanding Language

Explore how the language demands of complex text grow within and across grades, and how to prepare (or support the preparation of) instruction that scaffolds student learning through the integration of language, speaking and listening standards. Explore the role of text and task complexity in aligning pedagogical decisions with text and task complexity. Learn about equitable instructional practice and protocols that amplify language to allow for purposeful collaborative work in lessons that can be used with any curriculum.

Adapting Writing Planning and Implementation for Better Student Outcomes

Learn how to engage students in rigorous and scaffolded text-based writing that builds knowledge and vocabulary. Practice classroom observations that train the eye to recognize standards-aligned writing across grade levels and protocols that examine the interdependencies between reading and writing.

Using the Right Writing Tasks to Promote Student Achievement

Apply knowledge from synthesis of research on Writing Assignments to prepare to assess whether or not your grade/class/school is on track with writing standards alignment. Dive deep into lesson sequences by doing the work of the lessons to deconstruct how standards-aligned writing tasks evolve and review lesson sequences based on a deeper understanding of the writing standards. Understand the connection between writing, language, and equity in order to apply that understanding in task design and scaffolding.

Linking Research, Text Sets, Equity, and Writing

Review the link between a volume of reading on a topic and rapid development of vocabulary, language and knowledge through the deconstruction of an expert pack, one type of a text set. Explore how text sets can be scaffolded to meet the needs of English learners, and how we can use the synthesis of the knowledge developed through the packs to develop writing tasks.

Planning for Action

Strategize with peers and prioritize key initiatives to share with home districts and colleagues. Include the lenses of race and bias to identify the ways in which current structures and values exhibit themselves in school. Develop a plan to address inequities and ensure all students have access to standards-aligned instruction.


Math I

Understanding the Mathematical Standards and Equitable Instruction

Study the standards and shifts by examining standards-aligned tasks and activities. Understand the structure of the standards, as well as the language and meaning of the standards. Gain a deeper understanding of what content is prioritized and dive into the ideas of coherence within and across grades, with a focus on identifying prerequisite standards. Examine the standards to understand what is meant by conceptual understanding, procedural skill and fluency, and application, and understand why rigor is important within the context of instruction, curriculum, student work, and for designing equitable learning experiences.

Instructional Practice

Come to understand how students will engage with the math content standards and math practice standards. Study the Instructional Practice Guide (IPG), a free tool from Student Achievement Partners, using the indicators (which tie together focus, coherence, and rigor, high-quality instruction, and the math practice standards) to understand how it can drive effective instruction. Examine what it means to establish equitable educational environments in classrooms. Explain the implications for role-specific practice including understanding content, lesson planning, and implementation, and reflection.

Deepening Content Knowledge

Deepen understanding of grade-level content by examining curriculum maps and EngageNY curriculum. Come to see how the instructional shifts are embodied in a curriculum map and module assessment materials. Study EngageNY curriculum and learn about and practice making adaptations for students with unfinished learning from previous grades, using a just-in-time adaptation strategy that is transferable to any curriculum. Explore the Mathematical Language Routines to scaffold access to grade-level content for English learners. Annotate lessons using the IPG indicators, including for equitable practices, and practice teach an annotated lesson.


Math II 

Aligning Units

Dive deeply into the examination of equitable instructional practices. Understand how standards-aligned curricula create the necessary initial conditions for implementing mathematics instruction that supports access to grade-level content. Use the UnboundEd content guides to identify evidence of alignment to the standards and build strategies for addressing misalignment. Build coaching moves that support teachers and other mathematics educators in their practice.

Adapting Lessons

Apply your understanding of the role of language in shaping mathematical meaning-making of all students and identify opportunities for promoting access to rigorous mathematics instruction for English Learners. Leverage progressions of learning in the Standards towards adapting materials for students with unfinished learning or language development. Use the principle of Coherent Content in Context to proactively design comprehensive equitable mathematics instruction adjusted to students’ level of conceptual understanding. Examine traditional planning practices to identify their impact on equitable access to effective, standards-aligned instruction. Plan coaching moves that support mathematics educators in adapting their curriculum.

Using Mathematical Tasks to Promote Student Achievement

Use the Smith and Stein model to identify how to use levels of cognitive demand to recognize high-quality, well-aligned mathematical tasks. Use high cognitive demand tasks to both evaluate and adjust mathematical instruction to meet students where they are, and accelerate them up toward grade level by planning and orchestrating effective mathematical discourse. Develop coaching strategies to support other mathematics educators in implementing these practices.

Teaching Lessons

Identify effective facilitation strategies that promote effective mathematics instruction and build skills in providing feedback to promote their implementation. Apply these strategies to teaching a lesson’s "load-bearing walls" (i.e., important standards-aligned aspects of the lesson). Determine what the most important questions, problems, and other "moments" are, and how to focus on these when planning and delivering instruction. Put your new learning into practice by engaging in “buddy teaching” exercises and peer-coaching sessions.

Planning for Action

Strategize with your peers and prioritize key initiatives that will help you bring back and share the insights gained during your Standards Institute experience. Use a consultancy protocol to gather peer feedback on how you can make your district smarter about standards-aligned instruction that support students with unfinished learning.

Leadership I

Understanding the Standards and Leading Equitable Instruction

In-depth and hands-on learning experiences develop understanding of the standards for both ELA and math: recognizing what they look like in a classroom setting; matching instructional strategies appropriately, and developing teachers’ capacity to plan and deliver standards-aligned equitable instruction.

Instructional Planning, Delivery & Reflection

Through collaborative video study and ongoing reflection, analyze lesson planning, instructional moves, and standards-alignment in the classroom. Examine what it means to establish equitable educational environments in classrooms.

Development Through Observation and Feedback

Using instructional video and artifacts, unpack what teachers need to know and be able to do to design and lead a standards-aligned classroom. Practice observing instruction for the equitable practices that give students the opportunities they need to do grade-level work. Discuss how to provide feedback to teachers in order to move practice.

Systems and Structures

Identify the systems and structures that are essential for sound decision making and successful implementation of standards-aligned curriculum and instruction. Address planning and making choices based on student needs while examining the structural inequities and conditions that marginalize students.


Leadership II

Focus on Language, Equity and Learners

Deepen knowledge of standards-based content and equitable instructional practices through exploring the relationship between content and language and how language demands of complex text grow within and across grades. Examine the amplification of language in/through content and the integration of the speaking and listening standards. 

Standards-aligned Writing

Learn how to engage students in rigorous and scaffolded text-based writing that builds knowledge and vocabulary. Practice classroom observations that train the eye to recognize standards-aligned writing across grade levels and protocols that examine the interdependencies between reading and writing.

Adapting Curriculum for Equity

Learn how to effectively adapt curriculum to accelerate students with unfinished learning, while also teaching grade-level standards. Apply the concepts of Load Bearing Walls and Coherent Content in Context to increase curricular alignment and adapt and refine lessons. Understand what rigorous mathematics instruction for English learners looks like and how to adapt math instruction to support content and language development.

The Intersection of Quality Tasks and Instruction

Learn to recognize whether the mathematical tasks in front of students are high quality and well-aligned to the grade-level standards -- or whether they are misaligned and low-quality. Determine what the most important questions, problems, and other "moments" are, and how to focus teachers on these when planning and delivering instruction. Practice using classroom video and protocols for coaching teachers in planning for lesson-embedded task alignment and equitable instruction.

Systems Thinking for Leaders Who Want Different Results

Conduct a systems-analysis to diagnose the forces and interrelationships that are currently in place and contributing to student results. Include the lenses of race and bias to identify the ways in which current structures, mental models and cultural values are exhibiting themselves in school. Develop a plan to address inequities and support students with unfinished learning.