First Ever unGala!

CL Program final.jpg

Our organization has been around for three years. We’ve been doing okay, but we recognize the need to do some serious fundraising if we would like to see this mission continue.

Our Goals:

  • Raise $20,000

  • Have the event attended by 100+ people

  • Recognize the impact our organization is having on our region

  • Provide an experience that mimics our core values

The event was held at Third Degree Glass Factory on 10/4 starting at 6pm. Below are some of the Pre-unGala images:

Run Of Show:

6:15 - Welcome and information on navigating the unGala, Dr. Christopher McGee, Founder & CEO and Julie Lawson, Executive Director

6:45 - Glass Blowing Demo, 3rd Degree Glass Company

7:15 - Welcome from the Board of Directors, Brenda Watt

Keynote Speech, Carey Davis, Head Football Coach, Hazelwood Central High School; former starting fullback, Pittsburgh Steelers

Closing Comments, Dr. Amy Peach

8:30 - Silent Auction closes

Maker Stations

Throughout the evening there were 8 stations for attendees to participate in. These stations encouraged attendees to connect with one another and learn a new concept or skill. The stations below were shared:

  • Art Bot

  • Virtual Reality

  • Artificial Intelligence

  • Foil boat challenge

  • Graffiti wall

  • Makey Makey

  • LED Creations

  • Meet Others Scavenger Hunt


  • 130 attendees

  • $15,654.93 raised

  • Shared the impact our organization is having on our region from last year’s data:

    • 17 Professional Learning events

    • 43 Hours of Professional Learning

    • 1591 educators attended our events last year

    • 68,413 total hours of professional learning awarded last year

    • Total savings of $1,562,552.92 to our region’s schools and districts.

  • Provide an experience that mimics our core values

    • Innovative set up unlike others have experienced

    • Connecting and learning were positioned at the core of the event

Thank You!

Board of Directors

Brenda Watt, President

Phyllis Ellison

Dr. Amy Peach

Dr. Basiyr Rodney

Paul Krussel

Brian Wellinghoff

Dr. Donna Jahnke

Founder and CEO

Dr. Chris McGee

Executive Director

Julie Lawson

Leadership Team

Bill Bass

Chuck Baker

Glenn Barnes

Derek Bridges

Chris Campbell

Patrick Dempsey

Robert Dillon

Michael Dragoni

Samuel Fishburn

Mauel S. Herrera

Greg Lawrence

Rob Lamb

Sadie Lewis

Chantell Mason

Lance McClard

Dr. Katrice Noble

Dr. Kacy Seals

Julie Szaj

Matt Weld

Aubresha Young

Emanuel Young


Innovative Technology Education Fund

Missouri State Teachers Association

Stifel Nicolaus

Edge Hill

Interstate Studio

Color Art


Global Hack

Sentient Strategy

Webster University

Silent Auction Sponsors

Bar Method


Blue Iguana

Cannoli’s Restaurant Crest Bowl

Cooper Hawk

Cugino’s Restaurant





Just Dance

Magic House

Makey Makey

Missouri Botanical Garden

Morgan Ford

Painting with a Twist


Pasta House


Prana Yoga

Raising Cane’s

Event Program

First ever Spedcamp!

First ever Spedcamp!

In the last several years, the type of students served in special education classrooms has shifted from students simply needing academic remediation to a larger population of students with emotional disturbances, significant difficulties with executive functioning and regulation, intellectual disabilities, and medical needs. The need for trauma-informed teaching and modification of curriculum is increasing.  With Special School District employees spread out all over St. Louis County the opportunities to connect with colleagues are few and far between.  The job of a special education service provider presents many unique challenges that make professional collaboration imperative to not only student success but also to staff growth and well-being.

On Saturday, September 8th, Connected Learning, and Jennifer Ferguson hosted the first SPEDcampSTL at Long Elementary from 8:30-12:00.  Eighty educators from across St. Louis County, some from Jefferson County, and as far south as Cape Girardeau gathered together to discuss topics such as racial bias and equity in special education, the impact giftedness has on emotional regulation, behavior intervention and modification, parent involvement, language therapy data collection ideas and strategies, music therapy, and staff well-being.  Participants connected not only during the three breakout sessions but also virtually through Flipgrid videos in which they reflected on what they hoped to gain from the morning.  The event concluded with giveaways from Adam Welcome and Kids Deserve It, Burgess Publishing Company, Boardmaker, and Flipgrid. SPEDcampSTL was a testament to the growing need for professional collaboration in the special education community.

- Jenifer Ferguson

Check out the session board and collaborative notes:

Enjoy some of the media from the day's learning here:

Earn Graduate Credit for CL Events

Earn Graduate Credit for CL Events

Connected Learning is Partnering with Lindenwood University to offer 1 or 2 College Credit for attending Connected Learning's professional learning events across our region.


Dear Connected Learner, 

You can earn one hour of graduate credit from Lindenwood University through your participation in this learning event. In order to earn credit, you will complete the following steps:

1. Visit,  complete the Enrollment Form and pay with your credit card.  (Tuition fees are non-refundable)

2. Fully participate in learning activities

3. Complete the assignments and return by the deadline. See attached for additional information

As a Connected Learner, you have access to a student portal and can print out a copy of your unofficial transcript and/or single grade report by logging in, choosing the term FA WS 18 and going to the ‘My Transcripts’ or ‘My Grades’ section. Please follow the link below to login to your portal for the first time.  Or, if you wish to request an official transcript, a transcript will need to be requested through this link

The attached information will provide you with the requirements to earn one hour of graduate credit. If you have specific information regarding Cooperative Credit, please feel free to contact me at or by phone at 636-949-4612.


February Newsletter


Learning and Leading the culture of IKEA

Educators around the globe are looking into other sectors to better understand how to create something special in our schools and classrooms.  Come learn how IKEA makes your experience special and how you can bring that back to your school/classroom.

COST: $5

2/26 - 27

Lee's Summit R-7 Schools would like to invite teachers and administrators to CONNECTMidwest. Participants will experience two full days of interactive, highly relevant professional learning opportunities

2/28 - 3/1
Embracing Diversity and Inclusion conference at Webster University a "Free-mium" conference with BOLD speakers, great insight and inspiring ideas.


Improv Skills for Educators

Come learn new Improv games, strategies and activities to build community with your colleagues and students!  Improv is so much more than comedy.  It's learning about discomfort, agreeing and running with an idea, it's truly listening to another person, it's empathy and putting yourself in another person's shoes.  You know what else?  It's FUN!  It'll make you laugh, it'll change how you interact with students.

COST: $10

A multitude of learning around VR and AR and its impact on society to come.  Register for this FREE event and check out all the learning


The New Normal: Reframing Diversity in Tech and Entrepreneurship

You can't innovate without diversity.  Period.  Yet most proposed solutions to increasing diversity in tech and entrepreneurship falls short.  SO what's the solution?  Kathryn Finney will address the very real, technological and historic barriers to increasing diversity in an ever-growing sector of tech and entrepreneurship and how companies from start-ups to non-profits can directly address those barriers in creating a "New Normal"

Cost: $15 - 55


Learning Space Design Scavenger Hunt

Great design is often elusive, especially to those (like me) who struggle with good design.  Learn, discover, grow, and shift your mindset in order to expand your possibilities.  Together let's uncover the experiences we want our students to have.  When we better understand the experiences we want our students to have we can then design your amazing space.  Learn how to bring your instruction to life and find amazing resources to revitalize your space.

COST: 5$


Seeds of Joy

You're met Jill Stratton right here at South.  If you enjoyed her, learn even more about bringing JOY into your life.  Bringing together evidenced-based research and a lively blend of music, personal stories, and reflection, this workshop is more of a mini-retreat for heart and soul. Come if you're curious, skeptical, hungry, or hopeful and leave with "seeds of joy" and strategies for increasing and sustaining happiness this spring and beyond.

COST: $45



Chromecamp is an “unconference,” a free, non-commercial gathering of passionate educators who share an interest in a particular topic – in this case, the Chrome (the browser and OS) and the entire Google Ecosystem. Attendees volunteer to run sessions – conversations, not presentations – on specific topics related to this theme (or not – sessions can also be about social media or other educational concepts, but the emphasis is on Chrome and Google.)


The Missouri Botanical Garden has an awesome event focused on sustainability just for your school and your students.  Check it out!



Simple steps to starting PBL in your class.

A List of Excellent Student Design Projects for Middle School Creativity

28 question stems to foster critical thinking (TOTALLY TIES TO TEI STANDARD 4)

Need a summer job?  Check out the Global Hack position attached.

6 non-education books educators read

Local resource to find out resources across our region.  Lit Around the Lou

Great Add-ons for Google Slides

VIDEO: Individualizing assignments in google classroom (great way to differentiate assignments for students.)

6 steps to make your next book study the best one yet

Grants to fund learning in and out of your classroom.

6 Excellent Google Mapping Tools to Develop Students Geo-Literacy

5 Downloadable Vocabulary Activities that Make Words Stick



Great things happen when you're bored: 5 fascinating things I learned by making myself bored

PLEASE TAKE YOUR HOOD OFF and other microaggressions all teachers commit 

Who couldn't use better (or more) sleep?  Learn how to fall asleep quicker

The Japanese use of the word "Space" might change how you view the world.

So as future jobs continue to shift, what does it mean for those that struggle academically that working in a grocery store may be a thing of the past? Amazon Go

Teachers as Learners: Moving from Unintentional to Engaged to Empowered -  Reminded me, we are either constantly refining our practice around the needs of our students and the world THEY are entering or we are saying their needs are irrelevant. 

Twitter is Like Going to the Grocery Store - “Not every idea you encounter on Twitter will go in your shopping cart.” Check out the “10 signs you might be ready to learn using Twitter.”

“If the learning in the classroom is all about what the teacher does, and less about what the students create, then what is the long-term impact that this will have on our students?”  How can students take content knowledge learned and create something new with it?  Read More.

Sad news about what kids are doing on their 1:1 chromebooks across the world.  YIKES!

11th graders poem rocks the world, what could our kids write that shapes their world?

50 blog ideas for educators.  Do you blog?  Do your students?  Why not?

When working alongside our colleagues, if we remember the principles of adult behavior we may have better friends, better colleagues and deeper engagement.

The importance of Deep Fun.  Having fun at work is far more than just ping-pong tables, although those are cool too.

The Key Trait that Einstein, Jobs and Divinci had in common.  HINT: It's not content knowledge.

Why your PLC meetings need a rubber chicken

New Executive Director - Press Release

For Immediate Release:

Connected Learning Hires New Development/Program Director


ST. LOUIS, MO, October 4, 2017 -- Connected Learning is excited to announce the hiring of new part-time Development/Program Director Julie Lawson. Mrs. Lawson will serve as a community-facing ambassador for Connected Learning as well as a leader within the organization, lending expertise and insight to company-wide initiatives. Her role includes establishing a plan for continued growth, evaluating and analyzing all development efforts and developing appropriate strategies to address challenges, capitalize and expand successes and improve results.


Mrs. Lawson’s career has largely been in the nonprofit sector with some focus on educational initiatives. She recently launched Sentient Strategy, providing consulting to St. Louis, Kansas City and Denver area nonprofits in the areas of leadership development, strategic planning, marketing and related capacity building. She previously worked for FOCUS St. Louis, serving as the Executive Director for the Supreme Court of Missouri Commission on Racial and Ethnic Fairness (2015-2017), Vice President (2015-2017), and Adjunct Trainer for the Coro Women in Leadership Program (2006-2015). In addition, Mrs. Lawson served as President for the Board at Active Minds Institute, a charter school curriculum development organization.

In Mrs. Lawson’s 20 year career, she has raised more than 20 million dollars in new funds for small nonprofits, served as Executive Director of four nonprofits, and facilitated more than 100 learning workshops/events, primarily in leadership development. CEO, Dr. Christopher McGee shares,  “As Connected Learning continues to grow serving thousands of educators across our region, Mrs. Lawson will break new barriers for our organization and for area educators.  We will not only continue the excellence of learning and innovation we’ve started here but grow into new strategic ways to best serve our region.”


“Connected Learning is excited to move to a new phase of supporting teachers and schools,” says Dr. Robert Dillon, Director of Innovative Learning at School District of University City and Connected Learning Leadership Team member. “Mrs. Lawson’s focus on enhancing the conversation about modern learning coupled with the incredible leadership team and volunteers of the organization has Connected Learning primed to make a greater impact on change in St. Louis and beyond.”



Mrs. Lawson will begin her new role with Connected Learning on November 1.



About Connected Learning


Connected Learning is a non-profit organization that supports those who desire to learn more, are willing to take risks, and think differently about the problems we face in education today. Connected Learning does this by hosting, sponsoring, and supporting events.


Connected Learning is able to maximize its mission of supporting a deeper level of connected learning through these tasks:

  • As hosts, Connected Learning plans, develops, and carries out events. This includes our flagship event, edcampSTL, as well as a number of events throughout the year that promote innovation and next practice.

  • As sponsors, Connected Learning is able to bolster other incredible learning opportunities through donations of our time, talent, and treasures.

  • As event supporters, we work with individuals planning events to provide logistical advice, ideas, and opportunities to market the event to our incredible network of learners and supporters.


To learn more, go to




Dr. Chris R. McGee

Chief Connecting Officer: Connected Learning


January Newsletter!



Educator Design Sprint - Café & Children’s Area Barnes and Noble Ladue

Don’t miss this free opportunity to practice your space design skills! We’ve partnered with area design expert and Director of Innovative Learning at Unviersity City SD, Dr. Robert Dillon, as well as designers from Washington University’s Sam Fox School of Design.   Studies have shown that incorporating layout and space design into your education plan enhances student learning.  We’ll practice these vital concepts here at our store so you can return to YOUR space with all the needed skills.  Join the collaborative design fun!  Complimentary coffee & light refreshments will be served.

Sat. Jan 20th 10:30 am to noon - R.S.V.P. or just show up!  I'll be there! 


Now - March 2nd

It’s time to put your students' imaginations to work, because the Doodle 4 Google contest is now open. This year’s contest is open to K-12 students until March 2 with the theme “What inspires you?" We’ll feature the winning doodle on the Google homepage! Prizes include college scholarships, a behind the scenes experience with the Google Doodle team, and a $50,000 Google for Education technology package for the winner’s school. Submit your doodles!



Blue Skies discussion group

Looking for thoughtful conversation? Interested in environmental issues and energy? Join our Blue Skies discussion group. Open to K-12 educators, particularly middle and high school science teachers.  Learn more



Darwin Day

Celebrate Charles Darwin's birthday with a free evolution event for K-12 educators. Keynote speaker is Eugenie Scott - an internationally recognized expert on creationism/evolution controversy.  Register now



EdcampSTL Tweet Up

Just before EdcampSTL get together and meet other conference goers and enjoy some light appetizers on us!  It's a great time to meet new educators.




The world's largest UNconference.  500+ educators gathered ready to share the awesomeness going on in their schools.  Breakfast and Lunch Provided




Learning and Leading the culture of IKEA

Educators around the globe are looking into other sectors to better understand how to create something special in our schools and classrooms.  Come learn how IKEA makes your experience special and how you can bring that back to your school/classroom

COST: $5


2/26 - 27

Lee's Summit R-7 Schools would like to invite teachers and administrators to CONNECTMidwest. Participants will experience two full days of interactive, highly relevant professional learning opportunities


2/28 - 3/1
Embracing Diversity and Inclusion conference at Webster University a "Free-mium" conference with BOLD speakers, great insight and inspiring ideas.



Improv Skills for Educators

Come learn new Improv games, strategies and activities to build community with your colleagues and students!  Improv is so much more than comedy.  It's learning about discomfort, agreeing and running with an idea, it's truly listening to another person, it's empathy and putting yourself in another person's shoes.  You know what else?  It's FUN!  It'll make you laugh, it'll change how you interact with students.

COST: $10


A multitude of learning around VR and AR and it's impact on society to come.  Register for this FREE event and check out all the learning


The Missouri Botanical Garden has an awesome event focused on sustainability just for your school and your students.  Check it out!





Check out the New Certification Platform

Our certification platform now includes an updated user interface and several new features for our Google Certified Educator Level 1 and 2 exams. Even if you’ve already taken the exams, you can revisit the exam platform to view your certification history, refer a friend, or download a letter from our team to your principal. Log in here.


Discover your Favorite new Educational YouTube Channel

Looking for a new educational channel for your students in 2018? This YouTube playlist from We Create Edu has videos from dozens of up-and-coming educators. The playlist includes videos on a variety of subjects including biology, pop culture, and history, so there’s something for every type of educator.


YOUTUBE Channel: Applied Digital Skills Youtube Channel . A google for education channel for learning and applying great skills in our schools.

PODCAST: Experiments in Happiness and creativity . A BOLD podcast with the amazing Gretchen Rubin on how to expand your Happiness and Creativity in 2018.  A great focus on TEI 5.3




Google's 17 favorite moments of 2017


ARTICLE:  A great article about the modern classroom authored by our very own Bob Dillon.

ARTICLE: What the research says about classroom layout and design.

ARTICLE: We are all math people

POLICY: Are Snow Days a thing of the past?  Looks like something cool is happening in Illinois!

TWO ARTICLES: Two recent articles show what the firms have learned about why some employees quit and others stay — and about why some teams flourish and others flounder. 





Many of us like to start our year with resolutions. What if we made it simpler than that? What if we chose just one word to guide us through the year?  There are some terrific HyperDocs and other Google-related resources that you can use to motivate yourself and your students to stop, reflect, and move forward with intention. They can be used in January at the beginning of a new year - or anytime, really!  More here


- Have you chosen a word for 2018?

- Have you tried doing a one word or vision boarding activity to start the new year with your students?

- Do you have any other great activities that you like to use to start a new month, year, term, semester, or season in your classroom?

TLC Podcast

Glenn and Chris share the story of Connected Learning!

Reflections on A Mentor

I have been at a "new" job for the past year and have loved the experience thus far. Sharing this experience with now former colleagues has been strange. Strange in the sense that I do not get to see them every day of the school year. Celebrating this change with mentors has been really fun as well. However, there is one mentor who is not present to celebrate my success. His name is Loran Koprowski.

Loran Koprowski and I first encountered one another in 1991 when I was a high school student attending Central Visual & Performing Arts High School. “Mr. K” as we affectionately referred to him was hard to miss. He stood about 6’2″ and had black hair. Always dressed impeccably, he had a kind word for the students he encountered. Mr. K was the assistant principal. Most of us never saw the other APs, unless there was trouble. Mr. K was always front and center. He would learn names, figure out our likes/dislikes, and always made sure to ask how our classes were going. As I was going through this awkward stage of adolescence, Mr. K was always a person I consulted with as I went through the troubles of my home life. He was the person who I could tell anything and everything. Privacy and fidelity were always respected.

When I graduated, he made sure to send me a card and a $20 bill. We remained in contact while I was in school and was very supportive of me becoming a teacher. When I returned to St. Louis and started working at Sumner High School, I found out that Mr. K had a heart attack and was going through the process of recovery. During his recovery and return to administration, he was relocated over to Sumner High. We found ourselves together again, but this time in a role that was different than what we had known. We were colleagues.  This didn’t matter. Mr. K was the same positive influence on me. We would talk about life and career goals. We also told jokes and discussed how we could make things better. He was my sounding board and my greatest cheerleader. After 2 years at Sumner, he was transferred over to Clyde C. Miller Career Academy. A few years later, a position opened up for social studies there and he helped facilitate the move for me over there.

Mr. K and I worked together for another three years until he retired in 2010. He and his wife moved to Florida to live out their golden years. We called and emailed from time to time, but our paths would cross once more. In November of 2011, my wife and I adopted out first child, Noah. Noah was born in Tampa. Loran lived about 1 and 1/2 hours south of there. Knowing that we were in the state and awaiting clearance to go home, he invited us down to his house for the day. Julie and I had been stuck in a hotel or a hospital for over a week. We didn’t have family with us to share in the experience, but we had an old friend ready to help us out. We drove down to visit the Koprowski’s and our relationship evolved yet again. From that day forward, we referred to Loran and Debbie Koprowski as Noah’s “Florida Grandparents.” We had lunch, we talked about the “old” days and more important…we talked about life. I was grateful for his generosity that day and even more thankful for his love.

Loran Koprowski, Noah and Glenn Barnes at "Casa Koprowski" North Port, FL (June, 2013)

Loran Koprowski, Noah and Glenn Barnes at "Casa Koprowski" North Port, FL (June, 2013)

Our family returned to Florida one more time in 2013 for a vacation. We visited with him once again and had another lunch. Little did I know that would be the last time I would see Loran Koprowski. Loran died in August of 2015 of a heart attack while he was out boating with his wife. When I talked to Debbie, I was absolutely devastated. Loran was a father figure to me and a man I truly respected. He listened to me in adolescence and as a colleague. He allowed me to make mistakes and learn from those mistakes. He allowed me take risks as a teacher and challenge the status quo. He encouraged me to continue improving my craft when so many others did not. He made me relaxed with a great sense of humor. Most of all, he taught me that family is everything. Loran was a family man and incredibly loyal to them. I have come to know his wife very well. I have watched his daughter and sons grow up over the course of almost 25 years that I knew him.

Every teacher needs a mentor like that. We need people in our life who can make a connection with us and meet us where we are. Loran Koprowski has a very special place in my heart and it is taking everything in me to get through this post without losing my emotions (I am tearing up thinking about him now). Believe me, there are so many stories I could tell (some still have me cracking up years later). I feel blessed to have made many connections with students, teachers and administrators during my time in SLPS. I hope to be half the person Loran Koprowski was, because in many ways he saved me from myself. He showed me how to do the right things as a leader, as a man, and as a friend. That level of mentoring is vitally important.

Be that mentor. Be that life changing agent for someone. Get to know your people on an intimate level and be sincere. I hope that our paths may cross some day and you can see a little piece of Loran Koprowski when we meet. Thank you, Mr. K!

By:  Glenn Barnes


Teflon versus Velcro

Experience rich environments create the velcro that we need to attach learning.

This is so clear as some students return from a summer full of amazing experiences ready to learn while others return starved of meaningful experiences. They are wilted, and in need of care, support and rebuilding. This second group comes to us with a virtual teflon brain, and it makes it really hard to attach new learning and concepts. We have known for a long time that those with means bolt past those without in the area of life experiences creating an experience gap that is nearly impossible to overcome. This is most evident returning from the summer months. To push back against the velcro versus teflon reality, it is essential to fill our schools with learning experiences that are rich and meaningful. It is essential to surround our students with beauty, caring adults from the community, and opportunities to explore. Let's make this a sticky year for all kids.

By Robert Dillon 


Seeking Development/Program Director

Seeking Development/Program Director

Come Join the most EPIC team in the midwest!

Application Deadline 8/28/17

Who is Connected Learning?

Check us out!

Functions of the job

1. Serves as community-facing ambassador for Connected Learning.

2. Serves as leader within the organization, lending expertise and insight to company-wide initiatives. Leverages all essential skills and abilities to achieve goals.

3. Establishes a plan for continued growth including financial, human, and physical resources alongside the CEO and Board .

4. Develop organization wide processes, procedures, and systems for long-term success.

5. Assists CEO, Leadership team and Board in development and implementation of an annual and multi-year fundraising plan and strategy.

6. Sets and meets goals for partnership portfolio including fundraising and professional learning action goals. 

7. On a regular basis, builds and calibrates partnership portfolio in collaboration with peers, leadership team members, Board and CEO to ensure goals are met.

8. Evaluates and analyzes all development efforts and develops appropriate strategies to address challenges, capitalize and expand successes and improve results.

9. Cultivates and nurtures relationships within the partnership portfolio.

10. Achieves targets and goals within budget, and manages budget accordingly. 

Attributes of the Ideal candidate

Connected Learning seeks an innovative thinker.  A bold leader.  A developer of individuals and of a growing company.  Leadership experience in a non-profit, program, school, or association is essential. The emotional intelligence and political skills to manage on a personal and human scale the conundrums that emerge for organizations with a large passion and growing ‘membership.’ A desire to write and speak about what innovative learning looks like and how it is experienced by children and adults. A willingness to travel and present at conferences around the country. The skill to author and secure grants to grow the organization’s capital and ability to influence the region.  The proclivity to bridge the inherent tensions in the movement between authentic practice and innovation; competition vs. cooperation with other organizations; expansion into the private, urban and rural domains vs. dilution of core practices, etc. Financial acumen and fundraising experience. Management skills to supervise a small shop with large demands placed on it and to manage up to a board seeking vision and direction.

Scope and Compensation

Part time.  No more than 10hrs per week, annual compensation $10K - 20K  based on experience and outcomes.  Salary incentives can also be increased based on development milestones.

Additional Information

Connected Learning does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its activities or operations. These activities include, but are not limited to, hiring and firing of staff, selection of volunteers and vendors, and provision of services. We are committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our staff, clients, volunteers, subcontractors, vendors, and clients.

Connected Learning is an equal opportunity employer. We will not discriminate and will take affirmative action measures to ensure against discrimination in employment, recruitment, advertisements for employment, compensation, termination, upgrading, promotions, and other conditions of employment against any employee or job applicant on the bases of race, color, gender, national origin, age, religion, creed, disability, veteran's status, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

How to Apply

Email: Subject Line: CL Executive Director Search Committee

Application to include:

  • Cover letter addressed to the CL Executive Director Search Committee expressing interest in and qualifications for the position.
  • A current resume.
  • A statement of your leadership philosophy (1 – 2 pages).
  • Two examples of writing showcasing leadership or potential to the organization.
  • Three references (including email addresses, and telephone numbers) who can be contacted confidentially at the early stage of discovery.  These references will not be used unless you are notified.

KickstartED a huge success!

Our first ever KickstartED was a huge success!

The event was the first of its kind for our region and we think it's just what we need to bring innovation to life!  Participants paid $10 to attend the event.  Schools that wanted to pitch an innovation project paid $20.  The event started off with 7 schools giving a 1 minute pitch to the room:

Special thanks to ITEF for donating an additional $1000 for the winning project.

After schools were done pitching the room.  Everyone was challenged to meet the presenters, ask questions and determine who gets their vote.  Whoever has the most votes gets to take home all of the money!

At the end of the event everyone took their ballot and voted for their favorite project.  We tallied the votes and at the end of the night there could only be one winner.

Winning $1460 for their project was Rockwood South Middle School's Tiny House Project!

Newsletter - January 21st 2016


Welcome new subscribers to the Connected Learning newsletter. Our mission is to support those who desire to learn more, are willing to take risks, and think differently about the problems we face in education today. Through this newsletter you will hear about our upcoming events, news in education, and be provided with resources that will help you and your schools continue to think differently about learning. Learn more about our team by clicking here.


Chromecamp 2016

This past Saturday, Connected Learning hosted ChromeCamp 2016 at Fox High School. Then wonderful event brought together 130 local educators and administrators for an un-conferences focused solely on Google apps for education. If you were unable to attend, don't worry. Click here to read more and access the all the great resources that were shared.

EdcampSTL 2016

It's almost here! Our biggest event of the year. What is EdcampSTL? EdcampSTL brings together those interested in learning and sharing more about best practices in education in an "UNconference" format. This innovative format allows the knowledge and interests of those in attendance to lead the conversations of growth. Learn a little more about the unconference format here.

If you plan on attending, be sure to bring five colleagues along and share the power of networking, collaborating and learning in a different way. Help spread the word on your campus by downloading our flyer from this newsletter.


Register now!


February 6, 2016

8:00 - 3:30 PM

Pattonville High School

2497 Creve Coeur Mill Rd

Maryland Heights, MO 6304

EdcampSTL Tweet Up

Now that you and your colleagues are registered for Edcamp STL, you're making plans to attend our Friday night Tweetup at Urban Chestnut Brewery, right? Our Tweetup is an easy way to meet the new people you'll be learning alongside on Saturday morning. Additional details about the Tweetup can be found here.

"Works In Progress" - A Documentary 

Nine Network is proud to present "Works in Progress," an American Graduate documentary featuring four young people from the St. Louis area who are struggling to overcome difficult personal circumstances in order to graduate and build successful futures for themselves. By amplifying the voices and stories of these four youth, the film examines issues of economic and educational disparity and the lack of opportunity that is often tied to race and class, but also highlights the supports needed for these young people to succeed. Learn more.

Premieres February 8 at 7 p.m. on Nine Network of Public Media.

Works in Progress | Trailer


Tools, Tips, and Tricks


Chromecamp 2016 - Demo Slam Tools

25 Awesome Apps for Teachers, Recommended By Teachers

The Kids Should See This - Smart Videos for Curious Minds

Articles and Resources


Mehlville moves to open innovative project-based elementary school

Defining Makerspaces - Blog Post

10 strategies to make classroom learning feel more like a game!

Children Who Play Succeed

The Science of Classroom Design


Chromecamp 2016

This past Saturday Connected Learning hosted ChromeCamp 2016 at Fox High School.

The event brought together 130 local educators and administrators for an un-conferences focused solely on Google apps for education. An un-conference is where all the attendees create the day's learning agenda and are in charge of their own learning. This half-day event had sessions from Google 101 all the way to Design Thinking with Google. Overall, the attendees led 30 different sessions and shared their wealth of knowledge on a variety of important teaching topics.

Miss ChromeCamp but want to catch up on all the great sharing? No fear! Click the button below to access all the day's awesome resources. 


Connected Learning has joined #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities and organizations to encourage philanthropy and to celebrate generosity worldwide. Companies and individuals interested in supporting Connected Learning on #GivingTuesday are encouraged to connect with our partnership page

Growing up did you ever have a teacher that made a tremendous impact on your life? A teacher that you could tell truly cared about his or her job, and showed it through the way they taught. Teachers are the people who educate our youth, who in turn become our leaders, doctors, lawyers, police officers, and much more. They give us the tools to prepare us for not only education but also life.

At Connected Learning, we are an organization that engages educators through professional learning experiences that are done differently to elicit a different response. Every dollar we acquire supports education through the development and expansion of professional learning networks. These networks to provide advice, support, ideas, and opportunities to our incredible community of learners and supporters. All of these avenues make our connected community stronger to give teachers the tools they deserve.


About Connected Learning

Connected Learning supports those who desire to learn more, are willing to take risks, and think differently about the problems we face in education today. Connected Learning does this by hosting, sponsoring, and supporting events.  

Connected Learning is able to maximize its mission of supporting a deeper level of connected learning through these tasks:  

  • We released our first podcast available on itunes (for free).

  • We expanded our board of advisors from 3 to 5 seen here:

  • We secured an accountant to oversee our finances through quickbooks online.

  • We expanded our volunteer leadership team from three to twelve leaders of our program seen here:

  • We expanded our programming to include events like Playdate, BreakoutEDU, Urban Design Challenge, Chromecamp, Edcamp Leadership and Edcamp Express.

  • We’ve developed new relationships with: Cambridge Innovation Center, EdSurge, Pattonville School District, Fox School District, Ferguson-Florissant School District and the United States Department of Education.

  • We’ve established a working relationship called “The Edcluster” which includes other organizations supporting teacher and education development such as MoreNet, Education Plus, Google Education Group, Educational Technology Association, and TeachSTL.

  • Our mailing list has reached over 2200 emails and subscriptions to our newsletter.

We want to continue doing this great work for teachers and we will do it free of charge. We are fortunate to get funding from amazing sponsors and donors like yourselves. o please, participate in #GivingTuesday by supporting us today! 

Miss EdSurge 2015? See what you missed here:


Miss EdSurge 2015? See what you missed here:

This month Connected Learning partnered with several organizations to put on EdSurge St. Louis. The event, held at Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School (MICDS), brought together administrators and school leaders on a Friday and then teachers on a Saturday to interact with a variety of education technology vendors. Edsurge showcases the latest and greatest in education tools and allows educators to talk directly with the creators. If you missed the event, looks through the list below and check out what these awesome companies are doing!

Actively Learn          @activelylearn

BirdBrain Science    @birdbrainedu

Branching Minds     @branchingminds

Collabrify.IT              @collabrify

CourseKicker            @coursekicker

Curriculet                 @curriculet

Drawp                       @drawpedu

Echograde                @echograde

Edthena                    @edthena

Edusight                   @edusight

Edutect                     @edutect

FutureMakers         @futuremakers

Hapara                     @hapara_team

Kiddom                    @kiddomapp

LearnBop                 @learnbop

Makkajai                  @makkajai

Mathspace               @mathspace

Mr. Elmer                 @mrelmerllc


Panoramaed            @panoramaed

Ponder                     @ponderlabsinc

Schoolzilla               @schoolzilla

Scrible                      @scrible

Edulastic                  @edulastic

ThinkCERCA           @thinkcerca

Edcourage              @edcourage_edu


Interview with Sarah Hernholm


Interview with Sarah Hernholm

Doing W.I.T.

Sarah Hernholm is the founder of the non-profit Whatever It Takes (WIT) which provides a college-level course for high school students where they learn entrepreneur and leadership skills while designing, launching and growing social impact projects. She admits she never set out to start this non-profit organization, but now her dream has become a reality and it’s impacting high schools across the country.


WIT started out of the idea that high school students need more leadership and business skills while at the same time students need more of a connection between school and the community. Through this program, students get the opportunity to reflect on what issues face their own community and then they come up with an idea to solve it. During the problem-solving process, students gain not only business knowledge but they also gain real-world skills such as résumé building, budgeting, and interviewing. Most importantly, students walk away from the experience feeling loved, valued, and heard. WIT cares about what students think and their ideas. They’re helping students learn to stand up for themselves and also for their communities.


“Whatever it takes.” That was Sarah’s motto as an elementary school teacher. The message is simple and that goal resonates across high schools too. This non-profit encourages students to #doWIT. Make a difference in the world, whatever it takes.


To hear more about Sarah and her vision, watch her TEDtalk here.

Show notes written by Steven Shaw
Podcast Music: Happy Rock -



Design Challenge: School Schedules


Design Challenge: School Schedules

This post by Dr. Amy Peach, Director of Instructional Technology at Fontbonne University


Amy leads Design Challenges with her students at Fontbonne and this is her relfection from one recent challenge: school scheduling. How can we incorporate more "real-world" experiences into classrooms?  Read the solutions her students came up with!

Ok, after quite a bit of in-class work and letting it fester for a while, I'm sharing the solutions that made it through the design challenge, several that didn't (but may be worth a look), and some resources they were sending after we were finished.  The general consensus is that there is no one schedule (no matter how innovative) that will work for every school.  

Final selections:

Subject-focused weeks:  The idea that each day could center on one subject was explored by several and made it into the final plan for one group.  The general premise is that Monday (for example) would be focused on Math.  Students attend their classes as scheduled, but Math is integrated into each subject area in a way that demonstrates how it would be used within that discipline.  Tuesday could be Science, etc.  While these elementary teachers felt it could work for the schedule all year, some believed having periodic weeks like this would be more feasible.

Topic-focused day:  another iteration of this idea manifested in a topic-focused day.  These were early childhood majors, so they saw this in terms of something small kids might find fascinating, like frogs.  On "frog day", they would sing about frogs in music, draw frogs in art, learn about frogs in either ecology or biology, do word problems in math using frogs as the get the idea.  For older students, an area of specific concern for them (maybe a recent environmental disaster, social topic, etc.) can be selected and all faculty tailor a lesson to integrate that theme.  This helps students understand that issues of importance transcend subject lines.

Group learning:  One group decided to take advantage of concepts learned in multiple intelligences and break the school day into two parts.  First half has students in study groups based on their learning tendencies as they relate to MI (musical students learn with other musical students, etc.).  Second half breaks them into new learning groups with people who are quite different.  While several members wanted to see this done all year, others saw benefit periodically.  The concern stemmed from what they saw as a real world concern with people isolating themselves into only like-minded groups (something that is being facilitated by our technology use).  While this particular scenario caused some debate, everyone agreed that getting students into mixed groups and holding them accountable for that learning was a real world skill.

Other concepts that were either runners-up or are a combination of ideas among several groups are below:

School designed for the real world:  While students can leave the school for real world experiences, many of them can be replicated on the campus itself.  School gardens, green houses, student-run businesses, auto repair shops, medical skills labs,

Fontbonne Day!  This is a culmination of several ideas I heard.  A school can partner with a local university to provide a day of real world learning (and to give teachers the opportunity to attend a conference or work together).  Pre-service teachers can come to the school OR students can come to campus for a variety of learning experiences.  This would take some work, but could be mutually beneficial.

Standards-driven learning:  The possibility of student-created curriculum came up several times. If all students had devices and a portfolio system with the year's "real world" objectives loaded, students could select the open-ended learning opportunities offered each week and simply "check off" that item on their list.  For example, if one of the objectives was to learn personal finance, they could attend a Friday afternoon workshop from a financial advisor in a classroom, but they could also opt to visit a bank, help their parents balance their own budget, or set up their own field experience to explore the costs of living.  These things wouldn't necessarily have to be learned under the purview of the school if they can demonstrate through an artifact (video, digital photostory, paper, etc.) that they understand the objective. A lot to consider here, but an idea worth exploring further, I think.

Early release/support staff classes:  Schedule early release days for school-wide PD in the afternoon and "club time" during the day.  Each student selects a "club" to participate in that day.  Support staff and admins (with the help of parents and volunteers) can coordinate field studies related to academic pursuits that don't require a certified teacher.  One group can visit neighborhood stores and companies to learn about the role of small business in the economy.  One can collect specimens from a local park and test them in the lab, etc.  MRH does a modified version of this now (except the teachers monitor club days).  Having support staff, admins, and community members running the show allows them to take part in the education of our students (making them more invested when it comes time to pass bond issues) and leaves the teachers to themselves (WITHOUT admins running workshops) so they can sort out their own issues in the classroom.  When the others return, any issues that affect the entire school community can be discussed when the kids are released early.

Class/Extra-Curricular partnerships:  Some classes could blend well with after-school activities.  Getting teachers and advisors/coaches to collaborate could be useful.

Simple tweaks to offer a real-world experience:

  • a "no tech" space with only whiteboards that can be used for people to hold conversations and collaborate (the argument was that students are losing the ability to hold live conversations and they still need to know how to do that).

  • Virtual field trips and skype guest speakers

  • Mobile learning labs (STLCC, Mo Bot, and Beta Box in addition to many others offer to bring the party to you in the form of a RV or prototyping studio that can be parked in the school lot).

  • Expanding PE options beyond team sports (incorporate the way most people get exercise:  running, yoga, bowling, ice skating, exercise classes, etc.)

  • A no-desk classroom (not so much real world as it is designed to encourage collaboration and creativity)

The students were adamant that any schedule changes or curriculum decisions involve the students and their parents (and not a sampling for a focus group, but a whole community survey).  They believe that any radical changes will need the support of the community and they could also bring ideas teachers hadn't thought of.

They attempted to search for creative school scheduling options and were getting very frustrated.  Everything they found was just a slight variation from what is already being used.  The first article addresses a few unusual ideas and the second is actually a discussion forum that has some insight.  

Education World Article

Edutopia Article

We want to know what you think of these options and how your school offers students real-world experiences. Leave us your comments below!




BreakOut EDU

Last week we hosted St. Louis's first ever BreakOut EDU session. As the name suggests, the goal of the session was for teachers to "break out" of a room by solving puzzles in order to unlock the key. The catch? They only got 45 minutes to do it. The BreakOut experience gamifies learning and is meant to show teachers the fun of challenging students to work together and solve their own unique problems in the classroom.

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We had 4 different groups come together to solve the riddles and break out in time. The participants came from many different school districts including Union School District, St. Louis Gateway STEM Academy, Soulard School, Affton School District, Principia School, the Disruption Department, and the Innovative Technology in Education Fund. These strangers had to collaborate with each other and think creatively in order to solve the challenges of our BreakOut. Some escaped in time, some were very close, and for others it was a struggle. The one thing everyone had in common? They agreed it was not only challenging, but also engaging and fun!

But don't take our word for it. We have actual footage from the event and we will post reflections from these groups on what they thought about the experience. Connected Learning had a lot of fun hosting the event and we look forward to offering more BreakOut sessions in the future! If you'd like more information about BreakOut or how to host one at your school, send us an email:!