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OCT. 3-5, 2019

PEN 2019 Educating for Democracy:
Navigating the Current and Channeling the Future of Progressive Education
Minneapolis/St. Paul Minnesota

The national Progressive Education Network conference takes place in a different city every two years and is a diverse gathering of educators from around the country.

Join us in the Twin Cities for the 2019 Progressive Education Network Conference,  Surrounded by abundant lakes, ponds and wetlands and by the shore of the Mississippi River, we will re-imagine progressive education for the 21st Century.

While we honor the historical sources of progressive philosophy, we want this conference to be a space that co- constructs, elevates and embraces new narratives, reflective of “respectfully collaborative and critical relationships between students, educators, parents/guardians, and the community.”

With over 100 presentations, including roundtables, films, immersion experiences, and good old fashioned time to network with your colleagues, #PEN2019 will be another worthwhile and invigorating experience.

Click here for a pdf listing of all of our program titles; digital program coming soon!

Questions: please write to us at

PEN 2019 is made possible in part by generous support from the following sponsors:


October 3-5, 2019
The University of Minnesota Campus
PEN 2019 registration rates

Individual registration:
Early bird (*through June 21*): $280
Regular rate (starting June 22): $350
Conference presenters: $250
College students: $75
Single day: $110

Group registration rates:
Teams of 5-9: $250 per person
Teams of 10-24: $200 per person
Teams of 25 or more: $165 per person
Thursday school site visits: $75
Registration for PEN 2019 is LIVE!

Chris Collaros Memorial Scholarship Fund

The PEN Board of Directors is proud to extend the legacy of our colleague Chris Collaros by providing grant aid to cover the cost of registration for PEN2019 for five educators. Learn more here: ; deadline extended through 9/16/19

Featured Speakers

Thursday Evening: Andrea Jenkins, Duchess Harris, Alan Page, Kamie Page

Friday Morning: Paul Gorski

Saturday Afternoon: Dr. Bettina Love

Andrea Jenkins

Andrea Jenkins is a writer, performance artist, poet, and transgender activist. She is the first African American openly trans woman to be elected to office in the United States. Jenkins has experience working in community development in North Minneapolis, and in delivering social services in South Minneapolis. Jenkins currently serves as the Minneapolis City Council Vice President.

Jenkins moved to Minnesota to attend the University of Minnesota in 1979 and was hired by the Hennepin County government, where she worked for a decade. Jenkins worked as a staff member on the Minneapolis City Council for 12 years before beginning work as curator of the Transgender Oral History Project at the University of Minnesota’s Jean-Nickolaus Tretter Collection in Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Studies.

Learn more about Andrea Jenkins here.

Duchess Harris

Duchess Harris

Professor Duchess Harris was a Mellon Mays Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania. She graduated  in 1991 with a degree in American History. Six years later, she earned a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Minnesota. She did a postdoctoral fellowship at the Womanist Studies Consortium at the University of Georgia.

In 1998, Professor Duchess Harris joined the faculty at Macalester College. She became the first Chair of the American Studies Department in 2003 and was granted tenure in 2004. In 2007 she decided that attending law school would allow her to expand the scope of her scholarship even further. She earned a Juris Doctorate in January 2011, and has an expertise in Civil Rights Law. In 2015, The Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers chose her to receive “The Profiles in Courage Award.”  She is currently a member of Governor Mark Dayton’s Board of Public Defense.

She is also the proud curator of the Duchess Harris Collection, which has more than 40 books written for 3-12 graders.


Professor Harris is a scholar of Contemporary African American History and Political Theory.  Her academic books include, Racially Writing the Republic: Racists, Race Rebels, and Transformations of American Identity, (2009),  and Black Feminist Politics from Kennedy to Trump, which will be released, fall 2018.

Paul Gorski

Paul Gorski

Paul is the founder of the Equity Literacy Institute and
EdChange. He has 20 years of experience helping educators strengthen their equity efforts in classrooms, schools, and districts. He has worked with educators in 48 states and a dozen countries. Paul has published more than 70 articles and has written, co-written, or co-edited twelve books on various aspects of educational equity including Reaching and Teaching Students in Poverty: Strategies for Erasing the Opportunity Gap and Case Studies on Diversity and Social Justice Education(with Seema Pothini). He is the author of the Multicultural Pavilion, an online compendium of free resources for educators. Paul earned a PhD in Educational Evaluation at the University of Virginia. He was a teacher educator at several universities for 15 years. He is also a published poet, a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, and the biggest fan of Buster, his cat. 
Dr. Bettina Love

Dr. Bettina Love

Dr. Bettina L. Love is an award-winning author and Associate Professor of Educational Theory & Practice at the University of Georgia.  She is one of the field’s most esteemed educational researchers. 

For her work in the field, in 2016, Dr. Love was named the Nasir Jones Hiphop Fellow at the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University. She is also the creator of the Hip Hop civics curriculum GET FREE. In April of 2017, Dr. Love participated in a one-on-one public lecture with bell hooks focused on the liberatory education practices of Black and Brown children. In 2018, Georgia’s House of Representatives presented Dr. Love with a resolution for her impact on the field of education.

 Dr. Love is a sought-after public speaker on a range of topics, including: antiblackness in schools, Hip Hop education, Black girlhood, queer youth, Hip Hop feminism, art-based education to foster youth civic engagement, and issues of diversity and inclusion. In 2014, she was invited to the White House Research Conference on Girls to discuss her work focused on the lives of Black girls. In addition, she is the inaugural recipient of the Michael F. Adams award (2014) from the University of Georgia. She has also provided commentary for various news outlets including NPR, The Guardian, and the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

 She is the author of the books We Want To Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom and Hip Hop’s Li’l Sistas Speak: Negotiating Hip Hop Identities and Politics in the New South.

Justice Alan Page

Justice Alan Page

Justice Alan Page gained national recognition as a  defensive tackle in the NFL during 15 seasons with theMinnesota Vikings and the Chicago Bears, and then embarked on a legal career. Page earned a B.A in political science from the University of Notre Dame in 1967 and a J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1978. He served as an associate justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court from 1993 until he reached the court’s mandatory retirement age of 70 in 2015. Page was the first defensive player to win the MVP Award and only Lawrence Taylor has done it since. He is a member of both the College Football Hall of Fame (1993) and the Pro Football Hall of Fame (1988), and is considered one of the greatest defensive linemen ever to play the game. Page has written several children’s books with his daughter Kamie.

Click here to read an article about Justice Page’s writing projects with his daughter, Kamie Page.

Kamie Page

Kamie Page

Author and educator Kamie Page has written several children’s books with her dad, Justice Alan Page.

Click here for information about The Invisible You, and Alan and His Perfectly Pointy Impossibly Perpendicular Pinky


PEN2019 Workshops

For a list of workshop titles, please click here for a PDF . Digital program available soon!

University of Minnesota Twin Cities, Minneapolis

Conference events will take place at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, Minneapolis. Click on the PEN icons within the map for location details about conference events and hotels with special rates.

The U has locations on the East and West bank of the Mississippi River, so bring your walking shoes– this is a moving conference!

Thursday night’s reception and evening panel takes place at Ted Mann Concert Hall (West Bank); Friday we begin and our program days on the EAST Bank at MacNamara Alumni Center, and Coffman Hall; Saturday we will avoid football crowds over on the West Bank, where we will conclude our program sessions and close out what promises to be another wonderful conference!


Transportation and attractions

PEN 2019 is being held on and around the University of Minnesota Twin Cities Minneapolis campus. The campus is served by multiple Metro Transit bus lines, the Green Line Train, and hosts Nice Ride bike rental kiosks. Both Uber and Lyft operate in the Twin Cities as well as conventional taxi cabs.

The campus and conference hotels are 15-20 minutes from Minneapolis St. Paul Airport, and a 30 minute drive or Green line ride from the Amtrak station (Union Station) in downtown St. Paul.

The Twin Cities are home to wonderful outdoor recreation opportunities, dining, sports and arts attractions.

Hotel information

PEN has reserved blocks of rooms at a conference discount rate at The Graduate Minneapolis Hotel, which is located within steps of our main conference venues.

Additional blocks of rooms are also available at reduced rates at the following hotels:

Renaissance Minneapolis Hotel, The Depot, a short bus or car ride from our conference locations.

***New hotel option: DoubleTree by Hilton Minneapolis- University Area.

The Graduate Minneapolis Hotel

615 Washington Avenue SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414
Phone: 612.379.8888
Hotel website

Hotel registration deadline for the Graduate: Sept. 2.
Call and press 1 for reservations, and ask for the “Progressive Education Network PEN”, or register online with the PEN discount. Now available are double/double and double/queen room options.

Renaissance Minneapolis Hotel, The Depot

225 3rd Ave. S.,
Minneapolis, MN 55401
Phone: 612.375.1700
Hotel website

DoubleTree by Hilton Minneapolis- University Area

511 Huron Blvd. SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414
Phone: 612.504.3000
Hotel website

Guests are welcome make their reservations online, or call the hotel reservations center at (844) 327-3827 to book their room. When making the reservation with the agent, they must ask for the “PEN Conference” block with the group code PN5 to receive the group rate.

Click here for a pdf version of the program sample below!

Conference schedule

Thursday, Oct. 3

  • 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. -Registration open
  • 9 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. -School site visit gathering
  • 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. -School-based site visits

Space is still available- visits will include a range of independent, public and charter schools in the Twin Cities and beyond:

-Gordon Parks High School
-Open World Learning
-Prairie Creek Community School
-Avalon Charter School
-SouthSide Charter School
-Northwest Passage High School
-Friends School of Minnesota
-St. Paul Academy and Summit School
-Shirley G. Moore Lab School
-Lake Country School
-Minnesota Waldorf School

  • 6 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. -Opening reception
  • 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. -Opening Keynote Panel with Duchess Harris, Andrea Jenkins, Justice Alan Page, Kamie Page, hosted by MPR’s Angela Davis
  • 8:30 pm. to 9:30 p.m. -Networking, mix and mingle

Friday, Oct. 4 East Bank- University of Minnesota Campus

  • 7:45 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. -Continental Breakfast
  • 8 a.m. -Registration open
  • 8:45 a.m. to 10 a.m. -Conference Opens; Opening Speaker- Paul Gorski
  • 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. -Resource Fair & Bookstore Open
  • 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. -Four-hour, Place Based Immersion Workshops
  • 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. -180-minute workshop sessions
  • 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. -Workshop Session #1 (90-minute workshops)
  • 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. -Lunch (on your own)
  • 12:45-2:15 Open Space
  • 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. -Workshop Session #2 (90-minute workshops)
  • 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. -Networking/Happy Hour

Saturday, Oct. 5- West Bank- Univeristy of Minnesota Campus

  • 8 a.m. -Registration Open
  • 8:45 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. -Continental Breakfast
  • 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. -Workshop Session #3 (90-minute workshops)
  • 10 am to 11:30 am – Open Space
  • 11:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. -Lunch (provided by PEN)
  • Noon to 3:30 p.m. -Bookstore open
  • 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. -Closing Speaker: Dr. Bettina Love
  • 2:15 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. -Close conference, announcement of PEN 2021