The Annual PPHS Unconference: Revolutionizing Professional Development by Centering the Learner

PPHS Coaches Centered in Annual Unconference

Written by: Dr. Keeanna Warren, CEO of Purdue Polytechnic High Schools

Indianapolis, IN, May 26, 2023: Each year, Purdue Polytechnic High Schools (PPHS) break free from the conventional professional development mold, taking a daring detour from the traditional professional development approach with its annual Unconference. This unique event redefines the notions of teaching and learning, consistently cementing itself as the most cherished learning experience among PPHS staff members. So, what makes this unconventional approach to professional development so impactful and transformative?  The unconference's essence lies in its complete democratization of knowledge and idea-sharing.

Unlike traditional conferences with predetermined topics and speakers, an unconference is shaped by its participants. It's an open space where staff members are invited to propose topics they're passionate about, hold sessions, and participate in a dynamic exchange of ideas. Everyone becomes both a teacher and a learner, blurring the traditional hierarchy that limits communication and interaction.

What's even more impressive is the range of topics. At PPHS's unconference, you're as likely to walk into a session on the latest developments in AI for the classroom as you are to learn about new pedagogical approaches or strategies for improving student and staff wellbeing. This potpourri of passions and topics keeps this event lively, diverse, and utterly intriguing.

Yet, the magic of the unconference is not only in exchanging ideas and knowledge, but it's also about building and strengthening the PPHS community. The conversations that start in these sessions often extend beyond the unconference day, fostering collaborations and friendships that last all year. It's an opportunity to pause, reflect, and connect deeply with our peers.

The unconference's spontaneity is another aspect that makes it a favorite among the PPHS staff. The event's agenda is fluid, created, and shaped by the participants. This freedom encourages creativity, flexibility, and a sense of adventure, creating a truly exciting learning experience.

Indeed, the PPHS unconference is more than a learning event; it's a celebration of our collective curiosity, passion, and dedication to education. It's a powerful testament to the transformative power of collaboration and open dialogue. It brings to the forefront the best of what we do and why we do it: our commitment to fostering an environment that nurtures growth, encourages innovation, and champions the well-being of our students.

Looking back on another successful unconference, I feel grateful to be part of this vibrant community. I am inspired by my colleagues' passion, creativity, and relentless pursuit of excellence in education.  The Unconference is not just a highlight on our professional development calendar but the lifeblood of a continually evolving, innovative learning culture at PPHS.


Published on 5/26/2023