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AFL Gatherings:
Learning Excursions

Gathering Together to Learn and Lead

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HINT: you can also scroll to the bottom of the page to register!

You, and your team, are invited to join the Assessment for Learning (AFL) community in a two-day AFL Learning Excursion!  


This Learning Excursion will focus on grading and feedback policies and practices and will take place in Aurora, Colorado (adjacent to Denver) on January 18-19, 2024.  


In this experience, you’ll be engaged in immersive, applied learning, through a site-visit to a local school, conversations and shared learning with fellow practitioners and leaders from across the nation from different levels of the education system. You will also practice working with an empathy protocol that you can take home and use with your community to reflect on key policies and practices at home.


In this excursion we will continue to explore AFL’s essential question: “What can we learn together about how assessment for learning relates to learner belonging, equity and liberation?” We will also continue to be of service to those we visit by sharing findings from our empathy protocol with our school partners.  Building on the great work of the community in Tucson, we will also stipend and support as many as 20 community members at this convening to act as storytellers.  


All of this is part of our continuing effort to scale learning and impact from AFL as described in our Theory of Action.  

Agenda at a glance
details and hour-by-hour schedule to come (subject to change)

The learning excursion will anchor into the principles of practice, including Ground in to Place, to better understand the context of the learning excursion. You’ll engage with peers at an offsite learning space and will be transported to and from a local school to immerse in on-site learning. Breakfast and lunch are provided both days and hosted dinner on Day 1.


Pre-Convening Webinar

Prior to the convening, participants will have the opportunity to attend a webinar to begin the process of ground into place. We will get some preliminary insights into teaching and learning at William Smith High School and New Legacy Charter School and what it feels like to be a member of the Aurora community.


If you are unable to attend the pre-convening webinar, we have you covered! We will send out the recording to all participants prior to 1/24. Details to follow.


Day 0: Pre-Convening Community Evening Reception - optional

Wednesday, 1/17

Location: Stanley Beer Hall

5:00pm - 8:00pm MT

Welcome to Aurora! For those who arrive early, we will host a welcome reception for members of the community to informally gather. This reception is optional and will not contain official programming, but rather be a casual space to connect with one another, catch up, and share joys from our own corners of the country. Drink cards and light bites will be provided!


Day 1

Thursday, 1/18

8:00am - 7:00pm MT

  • Registration 

  • Grounding in Place:  Participants will ground in place by deepening their learning about William Smith High School and New Legacy Charter School and the larger Aurora Public School system and community.

  • Exploring Empathy Protocol:  Participants will have the opportunity to learn about the grading policy and practice reflection protocol designed by members of the AFL team and William Smith and New Legacy communities. This tool is designed to help participants engage in a close reading of grading policies and get multiple perspectives on how members of the William Smith and New Legacy community experience the grading policies and practices. This tool will also be available for members of the communities to use in their home context.

  • Site Visit:  We will travel to William Smith High School or New Legacy Charter School, where we use the empathy tool with the schools' students, staff, and community members. We will seek to get a picture of their grading/feedback system, and how members of the school community experience this.    

  • AFL Sensemaking:  After returning from the schools, members of the AFL community will engage in a debrief and sensemaking session using the information gathered from the schools' empathy process.

  • AFL Community dinner in the evening


Day 2

Friday, 1/19

8:00am - 2:00pm MT

  • Reflection on Empathy Process:  Members of the AFL community will continue to reflect on  the empathy process in William Smith and New Legacy. 

    • Guiding questions: What are the strengths of this process? What are the limitations of the empathy process? And how might it evolve to serve the needs of other communities/learning?

  • Community Sensemaking:  Members of the William Smith and New Legacy communities will join us to engage in shared sensemaking. Members of the AFL community will share their insights, receive feedback from the school communities as to what resonates and where there may be a space for further clarification or inquiry.

  • Thinking Forward:  In our closing learning synthesis, members of the AFL community will think about their own grading policies and practices in relation to the learning that happens alongside the school communities. 

    • Guiding Questions: Where are there spaces for you to innovate in your own system? Who do you need to bring along as you reflect on your own system and grading practices? 

  • Our meeting will conclude around 2pm MT. Out of respect for the collaborators from Aurora, we ask that you book flights that leave no earlier than 5pm. 

    • ​We will have the meeting space available until 5pm for any unprogrammed team collaboration time/space

    • For those staying around until Saturday, we can connect you with other folks doing same.


Cost - programming, meals, hotel, travel

The cost to attend the Learning Excursion is $650 per person. This covers costs for provided lunches on both days and hosted dinner on Day 1, transportation needs, and facilitation from both AFL Community members and school hosts.


Participants will need to arrange for their own travel and hotel.

  • An announcement about room blocks and other suggested sites will follow after registration.

  • Transportation will be provided - where needed - between the hotel and school site/any other programmed locations.

  • You will want to book your flights in and out of the Denver International Airport (DEN).

  • Ride share is encouraged to/from the airport.


Sponsorship and Stipends

In line with our shared values, we will also continue to offer sponsorships for BIPOC leaders to cover the costs of travel and registration. Please email to learn more. 


We are also seeking up to 20 community storytellers for each learning excursion. Storytellers will be stipended $1000 and may choose to receive that as a payment after the convening, or they may choose to have their stipend applied to registration or travel reimbursement. Please email if you are interested in this opportunity.


Still have questions? 



Ready to join? Register below: 

Download a PDF of our offerings to share with your network:
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