Counting Down to HIVE 2020: A Q&A

HIVE 2020, Open Up’s sold out professional learning conference, begins June 23rd in its temporary virtual home. Justin Endicott and Sarah Said, Open Up ELA Community Coaches, sat down to talk together about what to expect at this year’s safely-distanced gathering, what they hope to share and what they hope to learn. Follow @openupresources and the #OURHIVE conversation on Twitter. 

Q: What makes HIVE so special? 

Sarah:  The gathering of unique educators from all over the country (and this year, the world!) who have the same goals in mind for student achievement.  I think, this year, many of us are trying to find innovative ways to catch students up from the “COVID slide,” and we are here meeting each other and learning more side-by-side. Conferences like the HIVE engage teachers in professional learning but also help them build relationships with each other that they can grow in the future. Many of us already have strong relationships we have built online and now get more time together a few days  in the summer without the grind of the school year.

Have a tough day at work next year?  Your friends from the HIVE are a click away on Facebook or zoom there to listen. HIVE puts a think tank of educators together to support each other in uncertain times like these. This is a way to build our own professional learning network (PLN) for years to come.

More importantly, we’ll learn different approaches to using the high-quality curriculum we love from Open Up Education Resources.  Different people have different ways of utilizing these resources and managing them.  Attendees will learn approaches that are innovative and already tested in a person’s classroom.

Justin:  HIVE is so special because it is a unique learning opportunity for all teachers to come together and talk shop, which is what we love the most.   It is a time for us to come together around a shared goal and discuss strategies to better improve our instruction and classroom environment.  All sessions are researched-based and focused around high-quality instructional materials.  

HIVE is also unique because it brings so many leading experts to the table for keynotes and other training. Where else will educators get this rare opportunity to hear from the experts whose books they have read and listened to them on podcasts?

As Sarah said, the connections made….once you attend HIVE you become part of the largest online communities for educators centered around the same goal, and Open Up Resources is the only company to provide that for educators.  


Q: What are you most looking forward to at HIVE 2020? Why?

Sarah:  For many of us traveling to a conference nationally is never easy.  Being that HIVE 2020 is virtual, it is an opportunity to have a relaxed learning experience at home to focus on the content presented.  Also, more  educators are able to attend this year’s HIVE because it is virtual.

The digital format will be a great opportunity for us to learn about the different ways to support students using EL Education resources while being in the comfort of my home. I also get to learn more about the wonderful teachers I have met all year in our Facebook community.

I am super excited to hear Principal Kafele talk to teachers and leaders about his journey in transforming schools. I also want to learn more from Natalie Wexler about ways we can rethink classrooms to support the knowledge gap. Her work is critical in these uncertain times.

Justin:  I am looking forward to hearing the keynotes.  It will be my first time seeing them speak.  I never dreamed I would have the opportunity to learn from them in a live setting, so I really look forward to it.  

I am amazed by the resilience we, as teachers, show.  Nothing can keep educators from being productive and moving forward for the sake of their students….even though it may be hard.  HIVE’s virtual setting brings a lens of equity to our teachers across the nation.  We will now be able to get the information presented at HIVE into the hands of teachers all across the nation without them ever leaving their home.  


Q: What are you doing to prepare for HIVE?

Sarah: I am currently building my presentations on EL Education resources.  You might’ve seen me ask questions in OUR social communities about different needs that you have as educators who are transforming your classrooms. I am using the information to help guide how I will support your learning.

I am also preparing by learning more about our speakers and what they have to offer us.

Justin:  For us coaches, it’s game time. We are preparing our sessions so that we can deliver the best possible experience to the teachers in attendance.  We are excited to see the participants and learn together so we are working around the clock to set up the best possible learning environment we know.  We are making our lists and checking them twice!


Q: How are you participating in HIVE? 

Sarah: As a Community Coach, I  will be supporting teachers through presentations and discussions that will facilitate the transformation of classrooms around the country.   It is a time to re-think equity in our schools and create more chances to engage ALL students in our learning communities.

I look forward to “seeing you” all virtually this summer!

Justin:  Outside of coaching, I am participating as a learner.  I feel this is a role I will never drop.  I will be attending every session I can and even when I am presenting a session, I feel as though I will only be “leading learning” that I will be part of because I know I want to hear from my fellow colleagues and share ideas from them.  


Want to follow the HIVE 2020 on Twitter? Follow @openupresources and
use #OURHIVE to join the conversation.

Sarah Said is Capturethe Director of Language and Equity Programs at an EL Education School in the Chicago Suburbs. In her role, she oversees support programs for Multilingual Learners, works with others to create a community that fosters success for students from the diverse communities her school serves, helps strengthen school to community outreach, and coordinates Title grants. Reach out to her and other Community Coaches on the EL Education K-8 community Facebook page and on Twitter.




JustinEndicottJustin Endicott is a 4th/5th grade ELA teacher, Open Up Resources Community Coach and ELA Facilitator for Teaching Lab. Reach out to him and other Community Coaches on the EL Education K-8 community Facebook page, via email and on Twitter.