21st Annual ISNA/CISNA Education Forum

April 10 – April 12, 2020

Marriott Chicago O’Hare, 8535 West Higgins Road, Chicago, IL, 60631

Timeless Principles in a Dynamic World

خَيْرُكُمْ إِسْلَامًا أَحَاسِنُكُمْ أَخْلَاقًا إِذَا فَقُهُوا

The best of you in Islam are those with the best character, if they have understanding.

Source: Musnad Aḥmad



Call for Proposals

“The work of Islamic schools has always been guided by grand questions. But one question stands out: what kind of people should we send out into society? This one question has sparked many great conversations, has guided many visions, and has influenced the purpose and direction of many schools. But historically, the answers have been responsive to the times. Indeed, schools and governments have stressed an “education for today” approach, focusing thus on preparing students and educating them for the times in which they live.


But as we enter a new decade in the 21st century, we ought to consider the ever changing, ever unpredictable state of our society. Instead of adjusting our sails to the winds of our times - perhaps it’s more prudent to lay hold of more timeless principles, principles that have stood the test of time. They say a diamond is forever, but education has its own gems, and they are also imperishable.” --Ibrahim Yousef, Principal of Nashville International Academy

You are invited to submit an abstract and proposal for sharing your expertise to  advance the work of Islamic schools, including weekend schools. Our schools transmit not only subject matter content, but a healthy Muslim identity, leadership training, and values and beliefs that are timeless and profoundly needed in today’s world. Join us for the new ISNA-CISNA Education Forum.

Be a part of the most widely attended conference that promotes excellence in Pre-K-12th-grade education and provides an exceptional experience in professional development, networking, and effective leadership especially designed for Islamic full-time and weekend schools. 

The Program Committee is seeking proposals for sessions that incorporate as many of the following elements as appropriate:

  • Feature a presenter with expertise in the topic  
  • Demonstrate research-based processes used in educational programs
  • Address and/or elaborate on a theory or practice in education
  • Are interactive and engaging for a wide range of schools 
  • Incorporate strategies with case examples to provide solutions
  • Feature practical, relevant “take-aways”

Sessions are generally 90 minutes in length and are open to all conference participants, with audience sizes ranging from 20-60. An effective session covers one topic in depth, rather than giving an overview of many topics, and is interactive and engaging.




Submit Abstracts/Proposals Online:  January 20, 2020  

Deadline to Submit Completed Presentation/Paper:  February 10, 2020

SUGGESTED TOPICS for  4 Main Tracks (Not an Inclusive List):


  •  Administration/Leadership
  • Best Practices for Effective School Board Development
  • Leading with Purpose
  • Communication and Engagement Strategies for School and Community
  • Understanding Data-Driven Academic Growth
  • Development/ Fundraising Finance/Budget Projections
  • Nurturing and Retaining through Staff  Development
  • Seeking Grants and the Application Process
  • Strategic Planning 
  • Transformational Leadership and Planning for Change
  • School Safety
  • Instructional leadership and effective supervision
  • Islamic Studies & Character Building
  • Islamic Studies Instruction Using Authentic Resources and Methods
  • Classroom Practices for Building the Prophetic Character 
  • Global Citizenship and Stewardship of Our Planet
  • Service Learning for All
  • Promoting Mental Wellness and Resilience 
  • Arabic/Qur’an
  • Arabic Language Differentiation for Diverse Levels of Learners
  • Teaching Arabic for Qur’anic Understanding and Hadith History
  • Teaching Arabic in a Student-Centered, Student-Led Classroom
  • Supplemental Sources for Arabic Integration at School and Home
  • Expanding Arabic Applications in Students’ Lives
  • Curriculum & Instruction
  • Assessing and Addressing Special Needs Students 
  • Best Practices in Differentiated Instruction
  • Data-Driven Lesson Design
  • Inquiry-Based Instruction/Critical Thinking
  • Project Based Learning 
  • Authentic Assessments
  • Social/Emotional Learning Standards in Practice
  • STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) 
  • Technology: Resources, Integration, and Effectiveness



Proposals must be submitted electronically using the Electronic Proposal Submission Form. Please do not email or snail-mail your proposal to ISNA Education Forum. If you have difficulty with the Electronic Proposal Submission Form, please contact ISNA at The form must be completed in its entirety to be considered. The proposal due by January 20, 2020 consists of:


  • Title and Abstract
  • The Title of the proposal should not exceed ten (10) words and should capture the essence of the presentation.
  • The abstract is a brief summary of the full proposal. Describe what you will be doing in the session and what participants can expect to take away. The abstract may not exceed 75 words. If the proposal is selected for presentation at the forum, this abstract will appear in the conference program.
  • Presentation Outline or description
  • This is a description of the presentation or an outline that adequately indicates the scope and rationale of your presentation. It should also cite some of the sources you intend to use as references for your formal paper, which will be published by ISNA for your peers. The proposal outline may not exceed 500 words and should include evidence that your presentation will be interactive and have functional and implementable take-away content. All presentation outlines must include a list of relevant and up to date sources.
  • Target audience
  • Who will benefit from this presentation? Teachers, Administrators, Board Members? Grade levels? Proficiency levels (beginner, intermediate, advanced)?
  • Brief speaker bio
  • Submit a brief bio for the proposed speaker(s). If selected, the speaker(s) bio will appear in the conference program and should not exceed 75 words. The bio should include educational background, professional experience, and current professional activities. ISNA reserves the right to edit bios that exceed the maximum word limit.
  • Contact information
  • Indicate a contact person with whom ISNA can communicate. If there is more than one speaker, the contact person will serve as the liaison between ISNA and the other speaker. Upon its submission, your proposal will be reviewed for completeness, and the contact person will receive a confirmation email. Incomplete proposals may be disqualified. If the proposal is accepted, the presenter will be asked to submit:
  • Complete paper/PowerPoint
  • Annotated bibliography


Projectors and screens will be provided in every room. One microphone will be provided. Additional microphones may be available upon request. Presenters should bring their own laptops. Please note that internet access is not available in the session rooms.  Please make sure to download any necessary materials beforehand or bring your own hotspot.


Your presentation submissions will be made available on the ISNA website.  Handouts are the responsibility of presenters. Alternatively, web links for content may be shared with the audience in lieu of handouts, and ideally, they will be published in the formal paper provided to ISNA by the deadline of February 10, 2020.


One presenter per session will be provided with a shared hotel accommodations, meals, and complimentary conference registration. Co-presenters are required to register and arrange for their hotel room.

PLEASE NOTE: Speakers MUST be present for the duration of the conference.