16th Annual ISEEN Winter Institute 2021

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About the Institute  |  Registration  Institute Speakers  |  Schedule at a Glance
Experiential Education in Action Workshops  Pre-Institute Workshop
Educational Service Providers

About the Institute

Join us online for the 16th Annual ISEEN Winter Institute. We understand that it will not be the same as the in-person, place-based event, however, we believe that we have been presented with a unique opportunity to examine what is core to Experiential Education and ISEEN. We will celebrate the accessibility this virtual format affords.

Whova Event Platform for Registered Attendees

This app is your one-stop shop for all Institute information and it will be essential for you to have all the up-to-date information you need. If you haven’t downloaded it yet, what have you been waiting for? How about doing that right now? When logging in to the app you must use the email with which you registered for the Institute. If you use another email to register, you won’t be able to see the Institute content.


It is vital for Experiential Educators from all over the world to have the opportunity to exchange ideas, process the changes that COVID has brought to our discipline, and rejoice in the company of the extraordinary individuals who make up the ISEEN community. So we are embracing the opportunity and are endeavoring to create a virtual event that is “uniquely ISEEN,” keeping in mind our strategic objective to be a diverse, inclusive and equitable organization that prioritizes social justice in all areas of work.

Attendees will find community, belonging, collaboration, support, ingenuity, open-mindedness and compassion which are the very essence, the DNA of the ISEEN Annual Winter Institute.  

Together, we will tackle the challenges of this historic moment and become united in our work to create a more just, transformative, and sustainable educational landscape.  

  • How have we, as experiential educators, reckoned with the many global crises we’ve faced this past year?  
  • How can we guide our students to do so?  
  • What has been exposed about ourselves, our students, our schools, and our communities by this historic moment? 
  • Have we owned these revelations personally and institutionally?  
  • What do we need to reflect on before we can revise and rebuild programming that is feasible, meaningful, and enduring?  
  • How can we claim this moment to deconstruct, re-envision, and rebirth a new future for transformative education and social justice work so that we - and our students - participate in the emergence of a world that aligns with our highest values?  

This year’s theme, Reflection, Reckoning, and Rebirth: Inspiring Change Amidst Global Crises is a chance for the ISEEN community to collectively and connectedly rise up to confront this moment.  Be a part of the broad community of educators who have long been the questioners, the change-makers, the principled seekers, the innovators, the outliers, the doers.  Our moment has come.       

Goals of the 16th Annual ISEEN Winter Institute:

  • Participants will emerge feeling the joy and importance of experiential education and with a sense of belonging, acceptance and excitement for the community of experiential educators.
  • Participants will come away with tools and a road map to refine and revise their programs having explored concrete and specific examples of model experiential education programs.    
  • Participants will come away with a plan for the future of experiential education and a set of personal professional goals that will re-energize their work into the future.

Who Should Attend

The Virtual Winter Institute is geared towards administrators, staff, and classroom teachers who work in various strands of experiential education programming. ISEEN embraces many forms of experiential learning such as outdoor/adventure education, global education, service-learning/community engagement, student leadership, and diversity/equity/inclusion.  Educators from independent and international schools who wish to transform their teaching and connect with like-minded colleagues will gain valuable tools and global networks. 

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Institute Speakers

Parker J. Palmer — Opening Speaker on Reflection

Parker J. Palmer, Founder and Senior Partner Emeritus of the Center for Courage & Renewal, is a world-renowned writer, speaker and activist who focuses on issues in education, community, leadership, spirituality and social change. He has reached millions worldwide through his books, including Let Your Life Speak, The Courage to Teach, A Hidden Wholeness, and Healing the Heart of Democracy.

Parker holds a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California at Berkeley, as well as eleven honorary doctorates, two Distinguished Achievement Awards from the National Educational Press Association, and an Award of Excellence from the Associated Church Press. In 2010, Palmer was given the William Rainey Harper Award whose previous recipients include Margaret Mead, Elie Wiesel, and Paolo Freire. In 2011, he was named an Utne Reader Visionary, one of “25 people who are changing your world.”

Nikki Hinostro — Speaker on Reckoning

Nikki Hinostro was born and raised in San Diego where she was often found in one of 3 places: at school, on the soccer field, or at the Boys and Girls Club. She was taught how to love tenaciously and dance with spice by her Abuelita, how to listen and study every detail by her mother, how to show up, work hard and do push-ups by her father and how to be curious, seek adventure and fight fires by her brother. She attended the University of Notre Dame for her undergraduate degrees in Psychology and Computer Application and earned a master’s of educational studies at Loyola Marymount University.

She began her career as an educator in 1998 in East Los Angeles and then moved to Boston, teaching math and science in 5th through 8th grades at private, charter, and traditional public schools before finding her home in the High Tech High community. She was the founding director of both High Tech Middle Media Arts and High Tech High North County and then worked as the dean and director at High Tech High International. For the past 6 years, Nikki has been the director at High Tech Middle. After 16 years as a school leader at High Tech High schools, she looks forward to supporting communities in school design and redesign at the High Tech High Graduate School of Education within the Center for Love and Justice. When she is not celebrating the amazing work of educators and students, she can be found gardening, finger painting or doing improvisational dance with her 2-year-old.

Mark Kabban

Mark Kabban ​is a community organizer, social entrepreneur, and educator with over twelve years’ experience. He is engaged in the critical study of orientalism, colonialism, and empire, which he believes is necessary to collectively understand the inequities of the 21st century. This is matched by a knowledge of teaching and pedagogy, executive coaching, and the leadership domains required to translate visionary ideas into real-world success. Kabban founded Yalla SD, an NGO whose mission is to provide liberatory education for refugee youth in the US. To date, Yalla graduates have earned just over $5 million in college scholarships and served approximately 2500 students-88% of which have been accepted into four-year universities.

Kabban has received recognition for his leadership: Do Something.org named Kabban as one of the top five best young world-changers, and in 2012, CNN Heroes recognized Kabban as an International Hero. Kabban has spoken at TEDx twice, been featured on BBC, UNHCR, NPR, Disney, and ESPN. He spent a year working on a project to advise Sesame Workshop on their Syrian Refugee initiative, eventually becoming the 200-million-dollar ​Sesame Seeds​ Refugee program. He is currently writing case studies about the Lebanese education system for the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He has also designed experiential learning pedagogy for the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and the School of Public Health’s international field experience courses. Kabban received his master’s from Harvard Graduate School of Education, where he is currently finishing his doctorate.

Vishwas Parchure — Closing Speaker on Rebirth

Vishwas Parchure, from Pune, India, has spent over 42 years in the field; 31 of which have been in incorporating, practicing & teaching, Experiential Education and Methodology in Classrooms, Corporate Organizations and Outdoor Education.  In 2020 Vishwas delivered the annual Marina Ewald and Kurt Hahn Address at the Association of Experiential Education’s annual conference.

He introduced Experiential Education and its Practice in India in 1989; at a time when the methodology was almost unheard of in the country. After his initial introduction to Play for Peace in 1999 at the AEE International Conference; Vishwas spent the next 10 years introducing and training organizations to the Play for Peace model in South Africa, Middle East, Canada, USA, and the UK.

Vishwas will guide us as we embrace the ultimate part of our institute theme: Rebirth.

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Schedule at a Glance

This is the basic outline of the Winter Institute schedule. 
Overview - times are based on North American Pacific/Eastern time zones

Thursday, April 15, 2021: Reflection

  • Morning: Pre-Institute Events
  • Afternoon: Opening Speaker & Introduction to the Theme

Friday, April 16, 2021: Reckoning

  • Morning: Experiential Education in Action Workshops
  • Lunch Break
  • Afternoon: Connecting with Colleagues, Showcasing Program Sessions

Saturday, April 17, 2021: Rebirth

  • Morning/Afternoon: Closing Speaker and Workshop on Theme - Action Plan for Future of Experiential Education
  • Afternoon Post Institute: Optional Activities, Regional Meet-ups, Identity Affinity Groups, Celebrations

Note: This schedule is subject to change. All attendees will be registered with our Whova Conference App where they will be able to view the entire comprehensive schedule and links to all Institute programming.

View the Full Schedule

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Experiential Education in Action Workshops

Experiential Education in Action is at the heart of ISEEN's Winter Institute. For day two of the Institute, you will choose to participate in a two-and-a-half-hour workshop designed to create a rigorous hands-on virtual experience.  The workshops will explore one or several facets of the Institute's theme: Reflection, Reckoning, and Rebirth: Inspiring Change Amidst Global Crises.  “Ex Ed in Action'' groups will be limited to ten to fifteen participants so that the workshops can maintain the intimacy and connection core to ISEEN.  Once we announce the date that the selection opens, you will select your workshop preference through the Institute Event App “Whova.” 

There are nine categories of workshops. Read through the descriptions to decide which one you would like to select. Expect to receive instructions for assignments or materials to gather ahead of time by your group facilitator.

Empowering Student Leadership

1. Be the One - A Toolkit for Empowering Positive Student Leadership
2. Empowering Student Leaders to Build Safe and Inclusive Communities

Environmental Justice & Sustainability

3. Small Spaces, Big Benefits: Growing Wellness and Biodiversity on Campus and Beyond
4. Young, Gifted & Green:  Empowering the Next Generation of Environmental Justice Leaders

Experiential Education in the Classroom

5. Designing Capstone Projects for Impact: Agency, Advocacy & Audience
6. Making Thinking Visible Using Process Portfolios - An Example High School Science Unit on Ocean Acidification
7. Writing as an Experiential Process: How Writing Assignments Can Be a Vehicle for Learning About The World

Experiential Education Tools

8. Reflection Brings Learning to Life: Experiential, Brain-Based Approaches to Integrate Academic and Social-Emotional Learning to Create Lasting Meaningful Lessons

Global Education & Engagement Amidst COVID-19

9. The Road Ahead: Hybrid Models of Global Education

Leading Experiential Schools

10. Re-envisioning the Future of Your Independent School in a Very Shifting Landscape

Risk Management / Travel / Outdoor Education

11. Aligning Your Outdoor Program's Risk Management Practices with Equity & Inclusion Efforts
12. Creating a Learning Culture: Take the “Eek-factor” Out of Discussions on Diversity in Outdoor Education

Social-Emotional Well Being

13. Co-Liberatory Collaborations: Creating Strategic Coalitions that are Rooted in Relationship

Social Justice / Anti-Racist Work

14. Teaching to the Racial Reckoning: Increasing Teacher Fluency to Increase Student Fluency
15. Re-Imagining Our Civic Memory: Designing Monuments and Memorials for a Just and Inclusive City
16. Community Remembrance and Reconciliation as Curriculum: Montgomery County Lynching Memorial Project
17. Building a Justice-Based Service-Learning or Community Engagement Program
18. A Call To Action: Civics for Social Justice

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Pre-Institute Workshop - Mental Health 101 and Emotional First Aid

Thursday, April 15, 2021 | Two-Hour Workshop: 8am - 10am (PT)/11am-1pm (ET)

Facilitators:  Mark Vermeal and Gary Robinson
Cost: $50 stand-alone workshop, $30 for Institute Attendees (discount code provided to registrants).

Description: All of us, our students, and co-workers exist somewhere on the continuum between Mental Health and Mental Illness. Our mental health depends on a subtle interplay between our genetics and environmental circumstances (nature vs. nurture) and is heavily influenced by stress levels.

In this interactive workshop, participants will learn turnkey techniques for assessing and supporting anyone who is struggling with potential mental health issues while at school or engaged in off-campus pursuits. 

During this workshop we will:

  • Share several unique descriptions of “Millennials” and “Gen Z”
  • Identify basic research findings about late adolescent/young adult mental health
  • Recognize key mental health warning signs
  • Discuss and role-play how best to support participants struggling with mental health challenges via scenarios
  • Discuss Mental health as a component of your risk-management plan
  • Outline areas of the brain that are developing during late adolescence/young adulthood that affect mental health
  • Define what is meant by the term “mental health”
  • Teach key concepts and approaches in “Emotional First Aid™
  • Categorize levels of risk and staff response protocols using the Mental Health Pyramid

Mark Vermeal is the Senior Safety and Risk Management Executive for Fred C. Church, Inc. As one of the leaders of the Outdoor + Adventure Practice, Mark is located in Golden, CO, and works with a team of professionals dedicated to serving the unique safety, risk management, and insurance needs of the outdoor and adventure industry. A nationally recognized expert in the field of risk management and safety with 20 years of experience as a senior-level administrator, Mark has implemented strategies that have enhanced a culture and climate of safety at two of the nation’s largest outdoor organizations: OBUSA where her served as VP of Safety, and as the National Director of Risk Management and Safety for the Student Conservation Association. Currently he serves on the risk management committees for Outward Bound Canada, Colorado Outward Bound School, and Colorado Mountain Club, and Gap Year Association Standards Committee. Mark has also served on the Steering Committee for the Wilderness Risk Management Conference (WRMC) from 2007-2017 and has been a presenter at the WRMC since 2007.

Gary Robinson (Ed.D., LMHC) specializes in stress management, mood and anxiety disorders and life coaching/mentoring.  He was on the first disaster mental health team in New York City after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and since has coached many organizations in the principles/ practices of critical incident stress debriefing. He has served in a variety of clinical counseling roles in university and college settings; currently, he holds the post of Director of Counseling at Hartwick College in Oneonta, New York. As Co-Founder of P3 Mental Health Advisors, he serves as a Psychological Consultant to several Gap Year, experiential learning and Study Abroad programs. He is the Co-Author of The Daily Brew: A 365-Day Guided Journal (Outskirts Press, 2018).


Registration is now closed - thanks to all who registered!

Registration fee is inclusive of all keynotes and networking events.

Registration Type Price
Priority Member Registration (Until January 12, 2021)
Access to ISEEN Members only during this period
Early-Bird Registration for Member & Non-Member Schools 
(January 12, 2021 - February 14, 2021)
Regular Registration for Schools (February 15, 2021 until sold out)
Educational Service Provider Registration (Limit 10 ESP's) $400
Leadership Circle School Employees $150
Students (Full-Time, Undergraduate, and Graduate) $250

If you are not currently a member yet, join now to receive priority registration and member pricing!

Refund and Cancellation Policy: 

Should you need to cancel your registration you will have two options. A colleague may be substituted at no fee or, if you cancel without substituting your place, the refund policy below will go into effect.

  • Cancellation greater than 61 days prior to the Institute: 90% refund
  • Cancellation 60-30 days prior to the conference: 50% refund
  • Cancellation under 30 days prior to the conference: 0% refund


Educational Service Providers

We hold limited spaces for Educational Service Providers (ESP) members. The registration for ESPs is separate from our school attendees, so please read through the following information carefully.

  • The reserved spaces for ESPs are available until February 7, 2021. There are ten available spots and they tend to fill quickly when registration opens.
  • All ESP Attendees must be ISEEN Members prior to registering (become a member here!).
  • While ESPs gain significant value by attending the Winter Institute and the intimate networking opportunities available to them to build relationships with member schools, their primary role as an ISEEN member attendee will be that of a fellow educator. To learn more about sponsorship opportunities for greater visibility, please contact ISEEN Executive Director, Shoshanna Sumka ([email protected]).  


Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have questions about the event. Email us at [email protected] or call us at 206-209-5288.

We are excited to see old friends and meet new ones!

The 16th Annual ISEEN Winter Institute Planning Team:

2021 ISEEN Virtual Winter Institute Planning Committee (ISEEN Executive Director), Lauren Kelley, (Director of Experiential Education, Verde Valley School), Taras Ferencevych (ISEEN Program Manager)

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