(510) 922-8556 info@yesworld.org

Education Transformation Jam 2016

ED JAM 227


Apply today!


Calling all leaders and visionaries committed to just, healthy and thriving education!

We invite you to a unique opportunity to co-learn,

co-create and JAM

with a diversity of folks from around the US and beyond,

who are transforming education

in dynamic and meaningful ways.

The 3rd annual YES! Education Transformation Jam will take place from July 31 – August 7, 2016 in and around Portland, Oregon.

This year, the Education Jam will be interwoven with the annual Alternative Education Resource Organization (AERO) Conference.  We are thrilled to be working with AERO to make this possible.  Read below for more details!

Apply today!

What is the YES! Education Transformation Jam?

This is a unique gathering for folks engaged in education!

The YES! Education Transformation Jam (Ed Jam, for short) brings together 30 leaders and visionaries from across the education world: public, private, independent, and charter schools, unschooling, homeschooling, learning communities, youth empowerment, and more. We will explore our experiences and visions of education, build relationships, deepen our perspectives of challenging questions, share places of growth, struggle and healing, and have a lot of fun.

edjam_2015-08-07 16.50.16The Ed Jam weaves the personal, interpersonal, and systemic together — from the deep motivations of why we are called to be in this field, to the challenges and community that race, gender and class diversity bring to learning, to the full possibilities of what education can be in this transforming world.  Unlike many education conferences that focus on systemic questions and rarely weave together connections to our own life journeys — or personal retreats that focus on self-transformation and leave out systemic issues — the Jam seeks to address both of these levels, as well as the very vital area of interpersonal connection, learning and healing.  All fields of transformation are brought together in a shared space co-created by all of the participants.

The Ed Jam will make space to listen and learn from our diversity, engage in new synergies, find inspiration and rejuvenation, and begin to build towards a common vision with each of our own unique contributions.  Though some dialogues about education end up being debates about "the right way forward", the Jam connects people from very different educational approaches to share our fields' strengths and challenges and to explore our ‘unknowns’ together.

At the Ed Jam, we not only explore the ways education can be a place of empowerment for young people, we also create space for you to explore your own journey of transformation as a co-learner and co-creator.  We invite you to join us!


Connecting with the AERO Conference

This year, the YES! Education Transformation Jam is integrated with the Alternative Education Resource Organization (AERO) conference, held from August 3-7, 2016 in Portland, Oregon. The YES! Education Transformation Jam will meet together for three days, from July 31 to August 3, at a beautiful retreat center just outside of Portland, and then join with the AERO conference. The Jam will continue throughout the conference with special sessions for Jam participants, as an ongoing community of practice and reflection, in addition to full participation in the conference itself.

AERO's goal is to advance student-driven, learner-centered approaches to education. Their conference brings together educators, learners, and families from around the world to help create an education revolution to make learner-centered education available to everyone. One of AERO's areas of expertise is democratic process and democratic education, but equally important is the networking of all forms of educational alternatives. Click here for information about the conference

Jam participants can contribute to AERO with our own workshops and have the opportunity to explore/expand upon the work of other Jammers.  Staying in the hotel during the conference also will allow for spontaneous conversation, play, creativity, exploration, healing, etc., to take place, which will further the learning and insights of the community as a whole.

2015-08-08 10.48.22Families are welcome to the Jam! We will have childcare at the retreat center in Portland, and AERO provides childcare as well.  Children are also welcome to sessions — there are a lot of family-friendly sessions — and the conference as a whole is a rich learning ground for families. So come with your biological families and/or families of choice!


What happens at the YES! Education Transformation Jam?

Over the course of the whole Jam, we will have time to engage with questions like:

  •   What is your personal story around education?  How do your experiences inform the path you have chosen to take?

  •   What does learning mean to you?  What does unlearning mean to you?

  •   What are your triumphs and your traumas around education? How are they shaping your work in the world?

  •   How have you and how do you approach identity questions, like race, class, gender, and sexuality, in your learning journey?

  •   When did your heart fully enter this work?  How are you fed and sourced by what you do today?

  •   How are you living the values and world you are trying to create?

  •   What kind of support do you need to help come into deeper alignment with that world?  What kind of support can you offer others to support their journey into deeper alignment?

  •   What are the advantages and challenges you are facing in reforming or recreating education? Or creating something that does not even have a box yet?

  •   How do you create and implement your systems and visions of education?

Most importantly: What are your questions? They are essential and welcome too!

IMG_1569Everyone co-creates the jam through a variety of learning modalities – small group dialogues, whole group conversations, movement and bodywork, systems thinking, storytelling and myth making, visual and performing arts, and more. There will be space for silence and for connecting with nature.  The Jam will unfold to make space for our whole selves, for our spirits, for one another, for our highest dreams and our deepest fears.  All of it will be welcome.

Because it’s a Jam (and not a workshop or seminar), as an organizing team we’ve brainstormed these questions as a foundation, but each Jam is co-created by everyone who attends. We like to say that ‘the Jam is always on.” There are sessions where facilitators offer a set of activities meant to engage the heart, soul, body and mind. These are designed to engage themes that emerge from the participant’s initial applications. These sessions grow, shift and change based on who is present in the room and what emerges from the group. Outside of the sessions there is a lot of time and space for small group conversations, playing, scheming, reflecting, hiking, exercising and the Fine Art of Hanging Out — whatever the groups or individuals choose to create.  


Cost, Travel and Logistics

The YES! Education Transformation Jam will take place in two locations. From July 31st afternoon to August 3rd morning, we will be at Alton L. Collins Retreat Center in Eagle Creek, OR (about one hour from Portland).  Jammers will be sharing rooms and enjoy healthy, locally-sourced, delicious meals there.  From August 3rd to 7th, we will be on-site at the AERO conference at the Portland Airport Holiday Inn, sharing double rooms at the hotel.

We ask that each Jammer make their way either directly to the retreat center, and/or to the city/airport of Portland, and from there we will organize local transport and carpools.  

Please contact our logistics coordinator, Heather Foran <hforan[at]gmail.com> to get support with food, housing, and transport.  A few partial travel scholarships are available as well, so please contact us if you are in need of them.

IMG_2971The tuition cost of the Jam is $1000, which includes a discounted registration for the AERO conference. Here is the break out of the costs: $275 covers food, shared housing and local transport for three nights at the retreat center; $250 covers program costs (organizing time, facilitator honorarium, childcare, materials, etc.), $275 covers shared hotel rooms at the AERO conference (2 people per room), $200 covers our discounted AERO registration.

(Please note: Food is not included in our AERO conference time, so that will be an additional cost during that time.)  

We never want money to be a barrier to anyone's participation, and we will do everything we can to make it work for you to participate with a combination of payment, partial scholarship, work trade, and monthly payment plan.  Please get in touch with us if you have any questions about tuition costs and how to make it work for you.

If it’s available, we also encourage you to access your institution/organization’s professional development budget, to help to cover some of these costs.

Click here to apply today!

Who Is Putting This On?  More about the Organizers/Facilitators

305278_10150359822245140_747470139_10190432_242988494_nShilpa Jain is currently rooting herself in Oakland/Berkeley, CA, where she serves as the Executive Director of YES!.  YES! works with social changemakers at the meeting point of internal, interpersonal and systemic change, and aims to co-create a thriving, just and balanced world for all.  Prior to taking on this role, Shilpa spent two years as the Education and Outreach Coordinator of Other Worlds and ten years as a learning activist with Shikshantar: The Peoples’ Institute for Rethinking Education and Development, based in Udaipur, India, where she served as coordinator of the Swapathgami (Walkouts-Walkons) Network. Shilpa has researched and written numerous books and articles, and facilitated workshops and gatherings on topics including globalization, creative expressions, ecology, democratic living, innovative learning and unlearning. Her publications include A Poet's Challenge to Schooling, Reclaiming the Gift Culture, Other Worlds of Power, Paths of Unlearning, Unfolding Learning Societies volumes one, two and three, and several issues of Vimukt Shiksha (“Liberating Learning”) and the Swapathgami newsletter “Making Our Paths of Living and Learning”. She is also co-author of “Connect. Inspire. Collaborate”, a highly sought-after facilitation manual.


Heather HeadshotHeather Foran is a co-founder of the Field Academy, a traveling high school program that brings together youth from diverse backgrounds across the country to travel together in particular regions of the United States. Previous to founding the Field Academy, she worked as a program director and teacher for the Traveling School – a study abroad program for high school girls. She has developed experiential and place-based curricula around topics of human ecology, environmental and social justice, globalization and economic systems, alternative economies, identity, and systems of power.  Heather is a candidate for a Masters in Applied Organizational Development and Transformative Leadership at Prescott College and is currently building skills in transformative facilitation and emergent workshop design in cross-cultural settings. Based in Portland, Maine, she also works with the Resilience Hub – a permaculture meetup doing resilience-building and re-skilling in the urban and suburban areas around Portland.  For more information, you can check Heather out at:http://www.travelingschool.com/faculty.php – heather


Jonathan Peck Bio PictureJonathan Peck, former President and CEO of the Tucson Urban League has over 23 years experience working within the community development field facilitating projects, coalitions, and alliances at the neighborhood, citywide, national and international levels. Jonathan received a BA in African African American Studies and Political Science from Earlham College. Jonathan worked as a community organizer, and later as Associate Director, of the Southwest Youth Collaborative (SWYC), a Chicago based organization dedicated to the development of low-income youth of color.  Jonathan Peck is married to Zelda Harris and has two beautiful sons, Jonathan Russell Thanh and Wesley Chapman Danh Harris-Peck. Jonathan works to impact the lives of children, youth and families through his commitment to criminal and juvenile justice initiatives, education and social services and economic and community development initiatives. Jonathan is passionate about sports, arts and culture and positive youth development and has over 23 years of experience in the community sports and youth development field. Jonathan has extensive international experience most notably, but not limited to, in Southern Africa and Latin America.


Photo on 3-26-14 at 3.32 PM #2Will Grant was the co-founder and Executive Director for 10 years of BLAST, a multicultural organization that developed networks of leaders from marginalized communities to democratize education and social service systems in New Mexico. He was the national trainer for VALUE, developing democratic education systems in 10 states. He just left a gig on the other side of the class divide, working at a progressive High School to teach the children of privilege how to use their social position to design a world that integrates environmental regeneration, multiculturalism and participatory democracy. He is the founder of FAIR Classrooms, a project to help schools integrate LGBTQ history into their curricula (FAIRclassrooms.org). His current project is the Community Pungwe, a yearly gathering of change makers to integrate our work in ecology, the arts, law, education, spirituality, healing, and body-mind consciousness to develop alternative systems and culture to make the world just, beautiful and a lot more fun. For more information, you can check Will out at Pungwe.org


Headshot 1Jen Lazar is a co-founder and the current Program Director of the Field Academy, a traveling high school program that strives to make learning and life indistinguishable for both students and educators.  Jen has been working alongside students and teachers to re-imagine and re-create education in the United States for ten years (and spent many years prior to that designing her own high school and college experiences).  Prior to her current experience with the Field Academy, Jen was the Associate Executive Director of the DREAM Program where she co-created mentoring and adventure programs with college students and high school students from affordable housing communities throughout Vermont.  She also served as a public school commissioner in Burlington, Vermont for three years during a period of socio-economic integration and transformation of the city’s elementary schools.  Jen believes in listening to young people and learning from and with them and is committed to creating spaces where that is possible.  In addition, she loves to bring people together around food, cook brunch, play Capture the Flag, and revel in the outdoors in just about any weather. You can learn more about Jen atwww.fieldacademy.org.


Motaz-Attalla-168x300Motaz Attalla is a writer and education researcher based in Oakland, by way of Cairo, Egypt. He currently works on social labs programs with the Garfield Foundation.  Motaz has been working with young people and families on building more meaningful practices around education, learning and engagement with the world. He co-founded and facilitated at the Middle East Youth Leadership Jam from 2008-2013, a week-long gathering of young change-makers from across the Middle East. He also performs stand-up comedy, sometimes to mixed reviews and always with fear and a measure of good intent.


We look forward to receiving your application.

Do you have any questions that this invitation doesn't answer?  Please write to our participant liaison, Jen Lazar, at <EducationYESJam[at]gmail.com>.  We can't wait to Jam with YOU.


– Jen, Jonathan, Shilpa, Will, Heather, Motaz

facilitators and organizers for the 2016 Education Transformation Jam