WISSIT 2022: August 1-5

Registration will open in early 2022
How do we create powerful, long-lasting learning experiences for our students?
How do we explore complex topics in ways that engage all learners?
And how do we raise up student voices and foster civic agency?

These questions and more were front and center at the eighth annual (and second virtual) Washington International School Summer Institute for Teachers (WISSIT). 

This intense–and fun!–week of professional learning introduced educators to effective strategies for cultivating deep thinking and understanding at all grade levels and across subject areas.


WISSIT Take-Aways

At WISSIT, educators explore the research coming out of Harvard Project Zero (PZ)–an innovative leader in the domains of teaching and learning for over 50 years. Each year, we learn with and from PZ researchers and a diverse faculty of outstanding educators from the Washington, DC, region.

WISSIT introduces PZ ideas and pedagogical tools and strategies and encourages ways to adapt them to participants’ own context.

The institute explores three key themes: 

(1) Building a Culture of Thinking: How do we help learners develop dispositions that support thoughtful learning across school subjects? How do we effectively create a culture of thinking, in classrooms and school-wide?

(2) Encouraging Creativity and “Maker Thinking” in Children: What can we learn from the practices of educators in the arts and in the maker movement? How might we encourage creativity, play and DIY habits of mind that are relevant to all disciplines?

(3) Learning Deeply with Museum Resources: What can we–educators and students–learn from objects, artworks and archival materials to deepen our understanding of, and engagement with, the curriculum? How can we leverage the unique museum resources we have here in Washington, DC?

In 2021, our keynote speakers at the morning plenary sessions were Ron Ritchhart, whose work on creating cultures of thinking has resonated with educators worldwide; Carrie James and Shari Tishman, who co-lead PZ’s Arts as Civic Commons initiative, which explores the power of art to provoke civic inquiry; and local educators from the Making Across the Curriculum and JusticexDesign projects, who shared the ways they have used making and systems thinking to foster agency in young people. 

This institute brings together educators from a variety of schools—traditional public, public charter, independent, parochial—as well as other educational organizations, such as community-based early learning centers and museums. We invite participants to reflect deeply on ways to design and facilitate enriching learning opportunities for their students.

Support for WISSIT participants continues throughout the following school year through the DC-Project Zero (DCPZ) professional development network.

What was New in 2021?

For the first time ever, WISSIT was open to participants outside the Washington, DC, region. While a majority of spaces were reserved for local educators, we welcomed participants from around the country and the world. 

We also invited participating parents and caregivers to bring school-age children along to the optional Art Happening sessions. These hands-on activities were led by teaching artists (in fields of visual arts, theatre, music, dance and design technology) that were held on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. 

In addition to tried-and-true popular courses we’ve offered in the past, we developed a number of new courses that address current topics in education and that include pedagogical tools recently developed at Project Zero. 

How To Register

Registration for WISSIT usually opens sometime in January or February. Each year, WISSIT has a waiting list. We encourage you to register as soon as possible. Bear in mind that registration does not guarantee a spot in the institute. Registrants hear back within approximately two weeks of registering about their status. Once a spot is approved, you have 30 days to pay the registration fee, by either check or credit card.

Fees & Scholarships (for WISSIT 2021):
  • Regular Registration for Virtual WISSIT: $700
  • Team discount for schools/organizations sending three or more participants: $100 off per participant
  • Educators in Title I (or equivalent) schools, or those in an accredited teacher licensure program:  50% off the regular registration fee (application can be found HERE.)
  • Plenary Sessions & Talk-Backs-only: $250. (There are no discounts or scholarships available for this option.)

We have one full-ride scholarship available: 

The Mara E. Wilson Scholarship: This scholarship is for a local visual arts teacher. Teachers in Title I or equivalent settings will be given priority.

The Center for the Advancement and Study of International Education (CASIE) handles registration, payments, course schedules, and logistics for WISSIT.