Goalbook Instructional Symposiums

January 22-24, 2018 July 23-25, 2018

  San Francisco Bay Area   New York City


Our first event of 2018, the Leadership Design Institute is not your usual conference. Its hands-on experiential format teaches you how to apply Lean Startup Principles, Design Thinking, and Implementation Science to lead instructional change. The end result is you and other district leaders are equipped with new tools to bring back to your respective districts to support all educators with ensuring lasting impact in their classrooms.


In the summer, the Goalbook User Symposium will convene school and district teams together in New York City to learn from each other’s work in supporting teachers to transform instruction. The Symposium will allow you to:

  • Hear from districts around the country on how they’ve tackled instructional challenges around rigor, engagement, standard-based instruction, and supporting ALL students

  • Present your district’s progress and achievements to educators and leaders, and to receive their ideas

  • Hear firsthand about our latest product updates and how NEW resources can support your educators

  • Work in-person with your Goalbook Success Manager on planning your district’s implementation and professional development

  • Learn how Goalbook’s Program Evaluation Framework helps you measure the impact of your instructional initiatives

  • Feel empowered to lead instructional change with a better understanding of how Goalbook can help them

More information on the User Symposium will be posted in spring 2018. Early registration will be opened to those who are on the priority registration list.


It’s estimated that 9 out of 10 startups fail in the first three years. Similarly, many instructional initiatives at school districts fail at accomplishing their goals. These failures in districts and schools often happen in the implementation stage.

In the business world, lean startup and design thinking principles have been developed over the years to achieve more consistent success. From the start of Goalbook, our team has been focused on learning how to apply startup and design principles to ensure successful implementations. Now, more than 500 district partners around the country partner with us so that we can collectively implement sustainable changes to instructional practice across each and every school in the district.


Improving instruction across the district is what can be referred to as a “wicked problem.” These are complex problems where the end goal is known (i.e. student outcomes), but it is immensely difficult to even frame and define the problem, and the solutions are even less known. Instructional challenges are exactly this. There are a multitude of factors that can impact teaching from one school to another. As district leaders are all too aware, professional development and implementation efforts often fall short of their goals.

We help you bring startup and design principles back to your district. These principles teach you how to define instructional problems more clearly through user interviews and user empathy. Of course, our users are teachers because they are the ones responsible for making instructional decisions in the classroom each day. Implementation is improved through rapid prototyping and the process of testing, iterating, and refining of a solution.

Hear what other district leaders have said about attending our Leadership Design Institutes:

“Your rock-star team put on the most informative and enjoyable conference I’ve ever attended. Goalbook is one incredible outfit! THANK YOU for an amazing experience. I look forward to returning to share the learnings.”

Carin Thomas, New York City DOE District 20, New York

“We left with strategies, skills, and resources that we can bring back and SHARE with teachers and admins. Also, testing our group’s product with actual teachers (and learning the design process) was amazing!”

Amy Holland, Selma Unified School District, California


Our Institutes allow district leaders to bring their own instructional challenge and to form a Design Team with a diverse group of leaders to work collaboratively on the problem.

Goalbook Pathways and Toolkit, including its instructional resources, professional development courses, and strategies, will be woven into each Design Team’s work over the two days. The third and optional day allows districts to have a personalized workshop with a Goalbook Success Team member to discuss and plan the district’s specific Goalbook implementation.

Throughout the Summit, you’ll get the chance to:

  • Collaborate with district leaders from across the country on developing impactful professional development activities
  • Produce and collect tangible resources to take back to your district to enhance your existing professional development content around providing access to all students
  • Interact with Goalbook’s team to learn about best practices from an academic perspective


This will not be your usual conference format consisting of speakers, panels, and breakouts. Goalbook’s Summits are modeled after the rigorous instruction we hope to see in classrooms. In particular, the 4Cs of 21st Century Skills – communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity – will be applied at an extended thinking level.

Each day will start with professional development topics, with participants working together on hands-on and engaging activities. The afternoon format is best described as an instructional hackathon. A “hackathon” is a term often used in the technology community to describe an event in which people meet to engage in collaborative problem solving. You’ll work together in diverse teams discussing, planning, and creating practical solutions to the shared challenges you face as instructional leaders.

An essential component is the value of feedback throughout the process. Instructional leaders give and receive feedback to each other’s teams, receive feedback from educators via user interviews, and also from Goalbook’s team of Design Facilitators.

The Institute culminates in a Showcase: each team presents and shares their work with everyone in an interactive format. Following the Institute, attendees will have access to all of the resources teams develop and present. Be prepared to be an active participant!

“Thank you for a very fulfilling two-day Institute. It is so evident how the Goalbook team cares about wanting our educational system to improve and positively impact student learning.”

Susan Chinen, Campbell-Kapolei Area, Hawaii

“The most valuable part of the institute was constantly circling back to our guiding question, and addressing the barriers that exist for transforming schools to raise expectations and implement best practices for all students. I appreciated learning a new approach and perspective on how to facilitate change.”

Marie Montalbano, Portland Public Schools, Oregon


DAY 1: Monday
8:00am | Breakfast and check-in
8:30am | Welcome and kick-off
9:00am | Goalbook Professional Development around essential question
10:00am | Form collaborative Design Teams
12:00pm | Lunch
1:00pm | Work in Design Teams
5:30pm | Dinner

DAY 2: Tuesday
8:00am | Breakfast
8:30am | Goalbook Professional Development around essential question
9:30am | Conduct User Interviews with Teams
12:00pm | Lunch
1:00pm | Continue working in Design Teams
3:30pm | Showcase
5:00pm | Optional informal light appetizers/drinks
Post-dinner: Optional informal drinks

OPTIONAL DAY 3: Wednesday
8:00am | Breakfast
8:30am | Goalbook Pathways and Toolkit implementation workshop
12:00pm | Lunch and wrap-up


Please read this section carefully. We ask each partner to fulfill the following requirements for registration:

  • Each district must submit a registration request for a team of 2 to 4 attendees. At least one attendee must be a District Leader and Goalbook Sponsor who received the original invitation
  • The other attendees should be Goalbook Implementation Leads, such as Instructional Coaches, Program Coordinators, and Principals
  • Participants must be present for the two days and cannot leave prior to the afternoon Showcase on Tuesday, since that is when each group presents their work
  • Our professional development institutes are invitation-only events made available to our district partners. Invitations are not transferrable to other individuals. Space is limited and there will be a wait list after spots are filled


$575 / attendee
or $775 / non-partner rate

We have a hard cap on the # of attendees at each Institute, so register early for a spot.

Submit your registration request to Shara Watkins, sharaw@goalbookapp.com – include Name, Title, Email, and Phone for each registrant. We’ll then reach out to you to complete the payment. Registration may be denied if it does not meet the requirements listed above.


Goalbook HQ, 234 7th Ave, Suite 200, San Mateo, CA

Goalbook HQ is located in downtown San Mateo, only a 10-minute drive away from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and a 30-minute drive from the city of San Francisco. There are numerous hotels in the area – 3 nearby hotels include:

San Mateo Marriott (preferred hotel with negotiated rate)
1770 S Amphlett Blvd
San Mateo, CA 94402
Book online at the group rate
Or call 1-866-263-1461 and ask for Goalbook group rate

Hilton Garden Inn
2000 Bridgetpointe Circle
San Mateo, CA 94404

Hotel Pullman San Francisco Bay
223 Twin Dolphin Drive
Redwood City, CA 94065

An option is also to explore accommodations through Airbnb, where you can rent a person’s home or condo.

Download Uber or Lyft onto your phone to easily call a private or shared car that will take you short distances at affordable rates. The Caltrain runs from San Francisco to San Jose and you can find the weekday and weekend schedules here. If you plan to visit places such as Marin County, Napa/Sonoma, and Monterey/Carmel you will likely want to rent a car.

Explore San Mateo

San Mateo is a suburban city in between San Francisco and San Jose, and close to San Francisco International Airport. The city is known for its numerous quality restaurants, especially of Asian cuisines, and of course for being headquarters of Goalbook!

San Mateo Recommended Restaurants

Pausa – Delicious pizza, charcuterie, and other authentic Italian dishes along with a selection of fine Italian wines
Sushi Sam’s – Fantastic sushi spot that doesn’t take reservations so we recommend arriving at opening
Kaz Teriyaki Grill – Takeout only stand with the best terikayi and katsu curries in town
The Ravioli House – Monster sandwiches and homemade ravioli from scratch
31st Union – Trendy gastropub with American dishes and craft cocktails
Espetus – Upscale Brazilian steakhouse around the corner from the Goalbook Headquarters
Mortar & Pestle – Located in the back of Curry Up Now, this rustic bar has flavorful craft cocktails. Enjoy a sweet drink with Indian food sampler plates
Antoine’s Cookies – A favorite afternoon treat in the Goalbook HQ, delicious homemade cookies
Philz Coffee – Local, well-known coffee house where the baristas work extra hard to make your coffee just right
Ramen Parlor & Ramen Dojo – Two neighboring Japanese ramen houses that are popular among the locals. Be sure to get there early since they don’t take reservations
Draeger’s Market – Local, upscale market with a full deli, bakery and International foods.

San Mateo Activities

Central Park – Quaint park in downtown San Mateo. There are tennis courts and a beautiful Japanese garden to explore
Downtown Burlingame – In the next town over, Burlingame Avenue has many restaurants and shops to browse through
Seal Point Park – A nice park to go for a walk or run along the San Francisco Bay with panoramic views

Stay Awhile in Beautiful Northern California

We hope you plan to spend the weekend here! Every corner of the Bay offers a uniquely Californian experience.

San Francisco Sights & Tastes

The bustling city consists of multiple distinct neighborhoods for every taste. Indulge in signature Italian American flavors in Little Italy located in North Beach. Go on a walking tour through Castro and Mission to learn about the social movements that took root here and spread across the country. The Embarcadero Ferry Building has a wonderful selection of small markets and shops to enjoy for Bay Area staples. If you prefer to avoid large groups, download the Detour app to listen to guided tours of historic parts of the city. Have some time? Explore the great outdoors in San Francisco by visiting Sutro Baths with the many coastal trails. Stop for a photo opportunity at Baker Beach or the Marina green with the iconic Golden Gate Bridge in the distance. If you want to adventure over the Golden Gate Bridge, Sausalito is a quaint little town that offers wonderful restaurants and panoramic views of San Francisco.

Wine & Dine in Napa & Sonoma

Our country’s finest wines are made right here. Join a wine tasting tour to sip on reds and whites, learn how wines are made, and feast on delicious Californian fare. Your experience will be enhanced by spectacular surrounds of historic caves and rolling hills. If you find a wine you like, wineries will lovingly pack up your prized bottles and ship them to your doorstep. Many of the best wineries require a reservation so you’ll want to do some advanced planning.

Half Moon Bay State Beach & Hiking Trail

Feel the city disappear behind you as you appreciate the breathtaking beauty of the Pacific coast. Stroll along the beach and relax over cocktails at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel.

Towering Redwoods & Iridescent Glass Beach in Mendocino County

Mendocino evokes an otherworldly beauty. Everyone who steps foot into Mendocino’s majestic redwoods will feel whisked away into a land forgotten by time where trees grow in twisted shapes and reach far beyond the sky. Venture into the woods to discover the hidden trails of Mendocino. Walk along the wondrous Glass Beach to witness how nature conspired with man to turn decades worth of garbage into smoothened glass pebbles.

Whale Watching in Monterey Bay

Just two hours south of San Mateo, Monterey Bay is a rich marine environment that’s home to whales, seals, sea lions, otters, and other wildlife. Hop on a boat to watch a variety of whale species, such as minke whales, killer whales, dolphins, and porpoises, which are sighted year-round.

Unwind in Carmel-by-the-Sea

The charming beach town is a quaint mix of storybook architecture reminiscent of Europe, white sands, and sparkling blue water. Actor and director Clint Eastwood was once mayor of this town and visitors come from around the world to appreciate bohemian art in local galleries, shop, wine, and dine.