OCDE to host Unconventional Conference alongside California MTSS Professional Learning Institute

2024 Unconventional Conference poster

The Orange County Department of Education is breaking new ground this July with an addition to the annual California MTSS Professional Learning Institute, which is being held at the Anaheim Convention Center.

From July 16 through July 18 at Hilton Anaheim, adjacent to the convention center, OCDE will host the first-ever Unconventional Conference, running concurrently with the PLI. 

This dual-conference format offers TK-16 educators, school administrators, counselors and professionals in educational leadership and instructional innovation an opportunity to engage with both traditional and innovative approaches to professional learning. The conference will provide diverse educational experiences, equipping teachers with tools to help students identify and explore their passions, interests and strengths — ultimately enhancing their career readiness.

“This is more than a conference; it’s a movement to inspire, innovate and transform your teaching strategies,” OCDE Career Education Director Kathy Boyd said. “Engage with cutting-edge methods, collaborate with forward-thinking educators, and discover how to align students’ strengths, interests and values with real-world opportunities. Elevate your professional journey, and be a part of this transformative experience.”

Diverse approaches

The California MTSS Professional Learning Institute is an event for educators, administrators and leaders dedicated to fostering inclusive and equitable learning environments aligned with California’s Multi-Tiered System of Support.

Running parallel to the PLI, the Unconventional Conference is designed to push the boundaries of traditional professional development. It invites educators to explore methods that integrate career readiness with holistic educational practices, emphasizing self-discovery and personalized learning approaches. 

Attendees can register for the Unconventional Conference alone or choose a combination package that includes access to three keynotes — Catherine Price, George Couros and Dr. Shree Walker — who will share insights on technology, innovation and resilience in education. This setup enhances chances for learning and networking, allowing educators to deepen their knowledge of both traditional and innovative methods and providing a comprehensive professional development experience.

Strands of innovation

The Unconventional Conference features three distinct strands, each tailored to specific professional interests: 

  • GLAD® to Work: Focused on Project GLAD® strategies, this strand offers preliminary certification and mastery of career integration methods for everyday instruction. Ideal for educators specializing in language acquisition, coaching and professional development, this strand provides a blend of techniques to support language learning and career integration across K-16 settings.
  • Connect the Work: This strand emphasizes career integration methods for educators who lead change within the Connect the Work Learning Network. (Membership is not required.) It focuses on refining practical teaching strategies and expanding leadership capacity within an international movement.
  • Let’s Get Wild: Dive into sessions that blend cutting-edge strategies in AI, career readiness and STEAM education, all while emphasizing the human connection and equity at the heart of learning. Discover actionable insights and collaborate with passionate educators to create dynamic, future-ready environments that inspire students and educators alike.

Registration fees

The department has extended the early bird registration rate of $199 for the Unconventional Conference, which includes access to the three keynotes at the California MTSS Professional Learning Institute, until July 16, the first day of the event. Group discounts are available for groups of five or more attendees.

Additionally, a $599 rate is offered to maximize registrants’ experience with access to both the Unconventional Conference and the California MTSS Professional Learning Institute.

To register or learn more about the event, visit the Unconventional Conference website.