AEP 2015 National Forum Resource Page


Thank you to those of you who attended the AEP 2015 National Forum, The Arts Leading the Way to Student Success, on September 1-2 in Arlington, VA. Watch the AEP 2015 National Forum kickoff on September 1, with opening remarks from AEP Director Sandra Ruppert and a performance by Signature Theatre’s Stage One student program.


Keynote Addresses

Anya Kamenetz

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Anya Kamenetz is an expert on learning and technology with a passion for the complexities of how we will learn, work, and live in the new Millennium. Kamenetz’s book The Test (2015), about the past, present, and future of assessment, will change the way you think about talent, opportunity, and success in the 21st century. Anya will host a book signing for AEP Forum attendees immediately following her keynote address.

Anya Kamenetz also participated as a featured panelist in the AEP 2015 National Forum opening plenary session: The Future of Learning. 

Former Secretary of Education Richard Riley

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Richard W. Riley Richard Riley, the United States Secretary of Education under President Bill Clinton and former Governor of South Carolina, is one of the leaders responsible for the creation of the Arts Education Partnership (AEP) in 1995.

Plenary Sessions

The Future of Learning: Remaking the Learning Landscape for Student Success

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Major educational innovations and technological advances of the last decade are transforming how, where, and when learning is delivered. When no longer constrained by time and place, learning opportunities and experiences can be tailored to the individual needs and interests of students – allowing the students themselves to exert more control over the path and pace of their own educations.

How are classrooms, schools, and education systems adapting to this rapidly evolving teaching and learning environment? How do we allow for flexible and customized approaches to learning while still maintaining a coherent education system? What role do community resources play in the delivery and credentialing of learning experiences? How do the arts and arts learning opportunities – both in school and out – contribute to this new learning environment?


  • Anya Kamenetz, Educational Futurist, Lead Digital Education Reporter for NPR & Acclaimed Author
  • S. Dallas Dance, Superintendent, Baltimore County Public Schools
  • Kylie Peppler, Associate Professor of Learning Sciences and Director of The Creativity Labs, Indiana University
  • Patrick Pope, Middle School Principal, Friendship Tech Prep Academy
  • Molly Spearman, South Carolina Superintendent of Education

More Than Academics: What Students Need to Learn and What Schools Ought to Teach

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Recognition is growing that in addition to academic content knowledge and skills, students must also develop a critical set of personal and social skills to succeed in school, work, and life. In education circles, terms such as noncognitive skills, 21st Century Skills, and social and emotional skills are often used to describe the various attitudes and traits considered essential ingredients for student engagement, motivation, and development. They are also at the center of a broader public debate about what students need to learn and what schools ought to teach.

Questions the panel might consider include: How are states, districts, and schools incorporating noncognitive skills as an explicit goal of education? What are the essential “skills for success” that contribute to positive student outcomes and how should they be assessed? How and in what ways does arts learning help nurture and develop these skills and what are its implications for informing policy and practice?


  • Maria Ferguson, Executive Director, Center on Education Policy
  • Christie Bassett, 2015 Florida Teacher of the Year
  • Alice Henry, Principal, Johnson School of Excellence
  • Rick Miller, Executive Director, CORE Districts
  • Helen Soulé, Executive Director, Partnership for 21st Century Learning

An Arts in Education Town Hall

By the year 2020, every young person in America, at every grade level, will have equitable access to high quality arts learning opportunities, both during school and in out-of-school time.
This aspirational goal serves as the driving force behind AEP’s “The Arts Leading the Way to Student Success: A 2020 Action Agenda for Advancing the Arts in Education,” released earlier this year.Hear how leaders of AEP partner organizations are responding to the priority areas outlined in the AEP Action Agenda through their work and discover how you and your organization can get involved to help ensure equitable access to a complete and competitive education that includes the arts for all young people.


  • David Dik, National Executive Director, Young Audiences Arts for Learning
  • Lisa Donovan, Professor, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
  • Brandon Gryde, Director of Government Affairs, Dance USA/OPERA America
  • Heather Ikemire, Director of Program and Membership Strategy, National Guild for Community Arts Education
  • Akua Kouyate-Tate, Senior Director of Education, Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts
  • James Palmarini, Director of Educational Policy, Educational Theatre Association
  • Pam Paulson, Senior Director of Policy, Perpich Center for Arts Education