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Falcon Zone Hosting National Conference

NCDC Falcon Zone graphic

Educators from across the country will soon travel to Colorado to see personalized learning instructional processes in action. D49’s Falcon Zone has captured national attention with this style of learning and will host the annual National Conference on Digital Convergence (NCDC), Feb. 6-7.

“Digital Convergence is really just a fancy name for implementing processes for personalized learning at scale,” explained Brian Smith, interim Falcon Zone leader. The zone partners with the national organization, Modern Teacher, to help connect systems related to leadership, instructional models, modern curriculum, digital ecosystems, professional learning and community in order to develop a personalized learning framework. “In the Falcon Zone, we call this EmpowerFZ. Building leaders, instructional coaches, teachers and staff all work together to bring this framework to life, so the individual learning needs of our students can be met.”

The conference will kick off with educators from around the nation stepping foot into Falcon Zone classrooms. They will interact directly with staff and students to see how best instructional practices are incorporated in schools. “After the visits, we’ll host a luncheon at Falcon High School where our staff will share their journey of working through the Modern Teacher framework and attendees can listen, first-hand, to students and educators on what has worked best to empower learners,” Smith said.

The second day of the conference will showcase keynote speakers and panel/roundtable discussions at The Broadmoor, along with a National Showcase Gallery where Falcon Zone teachers and students will set up mock classrooms to again highlight key instructional practices and systems that are the heart of EmpowerFZ.

“I can’t wait for the conference awards dinner and gala,” Smith added. The Falcon Zone will take the spotlight as the only district in the country to ever achieve Stage 7, the highest level of achievement, for completing all of the success indicators within the Modern Teacher framework.

Along with accolades for the zone, several educators made the list of national finalists to potentially take home top honors within various categories.

Congratulations to the following national finalists:

  • Personalized Learning Classroom: Melissa Armstrong (MRES), Jamie Mitchell (WHES), Laura Anderson (MRES), Catherine David (MRES), David Power (FMS), and Brooke Neilson (FHS)

  • Change Agent Instructional Coach: Natalie Miller (MRES)

  • Change Management Principal: Sheehan Freeman-Todd (MRES)

  • Modern Curriculum of the Year: Falcon Zone

“The Falcon Zone has worked incredibly hard to bring our model of personalized learning to life through Engaging Environments, Enhanced Opportunities, and Elevated Instruction. It is through all of this amazing work and awesome dedication of our teachers, staff, and leaders that we are truly able to empower our learners in the Falcon Zone for success in their future,” Smith said. “That’s EmpowerFZ!”


Amy Matisek