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First-Ever Educating Outside the Box Professional Learning Symposium a Success

Kalamazoo RESA Instructional Services hosted its first annual Educating Outside the Box professional learning symposium for educators working in the alternative and innovative programs.

“Although their student populations are often very different from that of a traditional school, alternative programs often end up sitting in on professional learning that is designed for traditional buildings,” said Kalamazoo RESA Instructional Services Coordinator Dr. Sarah Neumann. “We wanted staff to be able to fully engage in the learning and develop strategies that they could use with their students.”

Held at Kalamazoo Valley Community College on Fri, Nov. 5, the symposium was sponsored in collaboration with the Greater Kalamazoo Alternative and Innovative Programs Network.

More than 160 participants explored seminars by 21 presenters across topics such as Engaging LGBTQ Students, Human Trafficking, Embracing the Philosophies of Anti-Bias/Anti-Racism Education and more.

“These are tough topics, but they represent the reality of what too many of our young people are facing,” said Dr. Neumann.

Keynote speakers Kevin Honeycutt, a technology integration specialist at the Educational Services and Staff Development Association of Central Kansas (ESSDACK), along with Kinetic Affect’s Gabriel Giron and Kirk Latimer, shared entertaining and positive messages around topics such as leveraging technology to prepare learners for the future and how personal growth can showcase the tread of common humanity.

Response from the first-ever Education Outside the Box symposium has been universally positive, with several requests to extend the event to a multi-day conference.

“This was really the first and best all-day PD for Alternative Education in my career. Both keynotes were fantastic,” exclaimed one participant.

Learn more about Kalamazoo RESA professional learning opportunities, visit