2021 Q-Up for K-12 Digital Quality Conference

Level Up Your Online Learning Quality

Join QM members and educators from the K-12 community to discuss strategies for improving the quality of online learning and meeting student needs.

Engage in curated sessions focused on improving the quality of online learning courses and programs. Join us as we interact with leaders who have years of experience in creating, teaching, and/or supervising online learning. We’ll explore strategies to coordinate and deploy a successful online learning environment. You’ll gain practical takeaways and helpful tips for the design and delivery of online courses at the elementary, secondary, and administrative levels. Find the hidden gems that will help you take learning to the next level.



Attendees can choose one session from each time slot. Secure Zoom links will be emailed to registrants the day before the conference. Select the session name below to see presenter and description information.

12:00 - 12:15 p.m. Eastern
  • 1. Opening Plenary Session

    Welcome and overview of the day's activities. We'll review the day's schedule, logistics and things to note.

12:20 - 1:00 p.m. Eastern
  • 1. Launch Cares: Social-Emotional Support for K-12 Virtual Learners

    Presented by David Shuman, LAUNCH

    It is no surprise that mental health supports are more necessary now than ever before. This session will explore how to develop and deploy intentional social emotional lessons in virtual environments with practical tips for how to explore tough topics and big emotions.

  • 2. Creating Space: Wellness in the Midst of the Chaos

    Presented by Kathryn Kennedy, Kathryn Kennedy Consulting

    A favorite anonymous quote of mine is “Peace doesn’t mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.” To cultivate peace in chaos, we can engage in mind-body practices, which is what we’ll do in this session.

  • 3. On the Outside Looking In: Student Equity and Accessibility Experiences in the Secondary Classroom

    Presented by Chris Smith, North Carolina Virtual Public School

    Education has seen an increase in the number of one-to-one initiatives in the past few years. As a result, many institutions have been replacing traditional printed textbooks with a variety of digital resources. Moving away from print options should have brought good news for individuals with different perceptual, motor, or cognitive abilities. Unfortunately, digital content developers have implemented new technologies without regard to persons with disabilities leaving many students on the outside looking in. Let's come together to discuss how we can welcome all students into the learning process!

  • 4. Establishing a Strong Support System for Teacher Success, at Scale

    Presented by Ilya Zeldin & Richard Laine from 2gnoMe

    Join us to learn how 2gnoMe ("To know me") platform for teachers facilitates large-scale, personalized professional learning, at scale, aligned to any required framework or set of standards. This session will elevate your practical understanding of ways to simplify what the districts are already doing to improve the teaching mastery and meet teacher retention goals. This session will be of interest to K-12 leaders, as well as content and training providers. 

1:05 - 1:45 p.m. Eastern
  • 1. Ensuring Equity in Middle and High School Online Learning Environments

    Presented by Candice McPherson, Virtual Arkansas

    This presentation will explore considerations for maintaining and supporting educational equity within the context of online learning.

  • 2. The What and the How of Parent Updates and Communication (Secondary Focus)

    Presented by Valora MacCallum & Annie Reichelt, Idaho Digital Learning Alliance

    Learn how IDLA Secondary teachers make sure their communications to parents or guardians are seen as important and accessible. Participants will be given examples of different forms of popular mainstream communications that go out to parents during a typical course session.

  • 3. Access Denied: The Human Impact of Non-Accessible Content and What Administrators Need to Know

    Presented by Dr. Chris Smith, North Carolina Virtual Public School

    Originally confined within four walls, classes have expanded into a multitude of blended and online options that offer flexibility in terms of time and place. Advances in technology have changed the way we teach, communicate, and learn from each other. However, what happens when we don't account for various perceptual/motor/cognitive abilities when designing and procuring digital course content? Let's get together in this session to discuss the human impact and to create more accessible content.

  • 4. NSQ Online Teaching Standards Powered by 2gnoMe - a Framework to Improve Online Teaching, at Scale

    Presented by Christine Voelker, Quality Matters; Ilya Zeldin and Richard Laine, 2gnoMe

    Ever wonder how your online teaching skills stack up? The National Standards for Quality Online Teaching provide a framework for you to benchmark your skills. Take the self-assessment powered by 2gnoMe to see your strengths and receive valuable professional development options to help address any gaps in your practice.

2:00 - 2:40 p.m. Eastern
  • 1. Oh The Places We Can Go: When Elementary Course Content is Accessible! 

    Presented by Dr. Chris Smith, North Carolina Virtual Public School

    Imagine that you were sitting in on a class and you could not hear, view, interact with, and/or interpret the material being taught. Chances are, you might end up feeling disconnected, isolated, and more than anything, frustrated. The good news is that when we take time to specifically focus on accessibility when designing and deploying course content, we can break down those barriers and the possibilities are endless. Come join me on this accessibility adventure!

  • 2. Designing Engaging Online Lessons for Secondary Students

    Presented by Jill Souza, Not My Lemons Learning, Ltd. & Krista Tomaselli, National Education Consulting, LLC


    Are you looking to make your online lessons more engaging? In this session, we will discuss what an engaging lesson for secondary learners might look like in the online environment. In addition, we will offer tips, strategies, and tools for developing online lessons that will captivate your learners.

  • 3. Creating a Culture of Quality

    Presented by Christine Voelker, QM K-12 Program Director & Bethany Simunich, QM Director of Research & Innovation

    What does it take to create a culture of quality? It’s much more than endorsing a set of quality assurance standards. Who are the people, and what are the supports, policies, processes, and facets of institutional culture that drive online course quality assurance implementation? In this session, we’ll share and examine the research gathered from a mixed-methods study. The approach employed included a survey about these facets of institutional QA implementation and optional follow-up interviews.


  • 4. Lessons Learned: Starting up an Elementary Online Learning Program

    Presented by Jolene Montoya, Idaho Digital Learning Alliance

    Have you been asked to serve elementary students fully online for the first time?  We can help.  Learn about the "Glow and Grow" opportunities that IDLA experienced when serving elementary students last year.

  • 4. Common Learning Roadblocks: ReadSpeaker to the Rescue

    Kathy Wood and Ginger Dewey from ReadSpeaker

    How many roadblocks have your students encountered? In our session, you will get to collaborate with your peers on common accessibility challenges and we will show you how ReadSpeaker's TTS solutions can assist with breaking thru these roadblocks.

2:45 - 3:25 p.m. Eastern
  • 1. The Calming Power of the Breath: Strategies for Your Wellbeing

    Presented by Kathryn Kennedy, Kathryn Kennedy Consulting

    As we know from research, our breath is our secret super power to calm our nervous systems. Each breath is a message to our body and mind as to how we should be feeling from one moment to the next. This session shares strategies to help regulate your nervous system, relieve stress, and heal trauma.

  • 2. Plan, Design, Deliver!

    Presented by Tara Bladow and Erica De Sousa, Michigan Virtual

    Planning and designing courses for the online or hybrid classroom can be challenging! Learn how Michigan Virtual Instructional Designers take a team approach to creating quality online courses using research-based strategies, design templates, and best practices for planning and designing an online course.

  • 3. Hello, Are You There? — Connecting with Secondary Students in Virtual Environments

    Presented by Dr. Nichole Lemmon, Launch

    Hello? How are you? What do you need? How can we help? Anyone there? Do you feel like you are shouting into the abyss of the Internet and hoping your secondary students respond? This session will dive into unique ways educators can connect with virtual middle and high school learners. Tips for providing mental health supports, strategies for team building in live sessions and interventions for poor attendance will be discussed.

  • 4. Prioritizing SEL in an Online Environment: Tips for Administrators

    Presented by Kirsten Wilson, Arkansas Department of Education

    Social Emotional Learning isn't just something that is designed and developed in a course. It takes active training and a set of skills with an online educator to know what "just-in-time" supports are needed for students. Learn how Virtual Arkansas has taken the course-embedded elements of SEL and brought them full circle through leveraging all forms of communication in their courses with their teachers' learner-centric approach and systematic steps to interact, invest, and maximize every opportunity to support and build capacity in students. This is where Virtual Arkansas takes the QM K-12 Rubric standards of 5.2, 5.3, and 5.4 along with the NSQ for Online Teaching and Learning and implements them with authenticity and fidelity.

  • 5. We’re Spillin’ the Tea: What’s it Like to be a QM-Certified Reviewer?

    Presented by Suzie Scheffler & Pam Shaw, Quality Matters; and Paula McDougald, Virtual Arkansas

    Ever wonder who is behind all that robust feedback that comes from an official course review? They’re teachers just like you! Learn what it’s like to be a QM-Certified Reviewer, and about new opportunities for you to get involved, and give back to the community!

3:30 - 4:00 p.m. Eastern
  • 1. Closing Plenary Session

    Did you locate all of the QM Koalas in your sessions? QM Koalas unlock bonus tips and highlights. In this fun and interactive session, we’ll reveal the hidden tips or highlights you may have missed within all of today’s sessions. Join us to get tips you may have missed from sessions you couldn’t attend. We can’t wait to announce the winners and send out prizes!

Date: October 15, 2021
Time: 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm Eastern (convert time zone)
Fee: $25.00

Attendees will receive a certificate of attendance for this event. Depending on your school/district rules, this event could qualify for CEUs.

Register your whole group!

Email us with the details and we'll get you set up.

Agenda At-a-Glance

12:00 - 12:15 pm: Welcome & Orientation
12:20 - 1:00 pm: Concurrent Sessions
1:05 - 1:45 pm: Concurrent Sessions
1:45 - 2:00 pm: Break
2:00 - 2:40 pm: Concurrent Sessions
2:45 - 3:25 pm: Concurrent Sessions
3:30 - 4:00 pm: Closing & Wrap Up

2021 Conference Sponsors

pronounced to know me