AE’s Summer 2024 Understanding by Design Retreats

Teachers will design high-quality “ready to teach” units as part of a 2-day Understanding by Design retreat. The retreat will feature expert professional development in a small-group, collaborative setting. Attendees will also receive access to a library of UbD resources and will receive implementation support through a one-on-one video coaching session in the months following the retreat.

What makes this opportunity unique?

AE’s UbD retreats offer participants:


To create a highly-personalized learning environment, each retreat is capped at no more than 14 attendees. This small group setting allows us to tailor the retreat to the roles, needs, and expertise of our attendees.


Authentic Education was founded by the late Grant Wiggins, co-author of the UbD experience. AE President and retreat facilitator, Mike Matthews, is a National Board Certified teacher with extensive experience working with educators across all grade levels and subject areas.


Our retreats are structured to break down silos by having participants collaborate organically across grade levels and disciplines in order to strengthen the connections that make understanding more relevant and engaging for students.


In order to ensure long-term success implementing units created using the UbD framework, registration includes a one-on-one online coaching session with an AE Facilitator in the months that follow the workshop. Additionally, attendees will have the opportunity to participate in a virtual follow-up session with their retreat cohort in September 2024.

The retreat was one of the best PD opportunities I have ever taken part in!

2023 Summer Retreat Attendee

Registration Cost

Early Bird Registration
$1345 (through May 10, 2024) 

Standard Registration
$1395 (after May 10, 2024)

For schools sending 3 or more participants to the Summer 2024 retreats, a $50 credit applies to the third and any subsequent registrations. To register a group of teachers, please email us at

What’s included?

Attendance at the 2-day small group retreat

One-on-one virtual coaching session in weeks following retreat

Follow-up retreat cohort virtual meeting session (optional)

Breakfast, lunch, and snacks each day

One Understanding by Design book and Retreat workbook

One year of access to AE’s resource library

The retreat fee does not include any travel expenses, including without limitation, mileage, parking, hotel, flights, and meals outside of the retreats

Retreat Locations and Dates

This summer, AE is offering seven UbD retreats, with sessions in Charlotte, Washington D.C., San Francisco, Boston, Los Angeles, and the greater New York area.

charlotte, NC

June 20-21, 2024

Retreat to be held at the Foundation for the Carolinas in downtown Charlotte

Washington, D.C.

June 27-28, 2024

Retreat to be held at meeting Space at 200 Massachusetts Ave NW

San Francisco, CA
Retreat #1

July 8-9, 2024

Retreat to be held at Drew School in San Francisco


July 10-11, 2024

Retreat to be held at Drew School in San Francisco.

Boston, MA

Boston UbD Retreat

July 22-23, 2024

Retreat to help held at One Financial Center in downtown Boston

Los ANgeles, CA

July 29-30, 2024

Retreat to be held in at the CTRL Collective in Pasadena

Greater New york

August 5-6, 2024

Retreat to be held at the Hackley School in Tarrytown, NY

Why a Retreat?

Through our extensive experience working with teachers and schools, we have identified key factors that contribute to the long-term success of planning with the UbD framework. We know that when teachers design curriculum collaboratively, learn in smaller groups that allow for one-on-one expert coaching, and receive ongoing implementation support, they are more successful not just designing their own units long term but are better equipped to be teacher leaders in their own school. We’ve designed the retreat opportunity to help set up teachers for long term success in their classrooms and schools.

Don’t just take our word for it – the experiences of past retreat attendees speak for themselves!

Thank you so much! The retreat was one of the best PD opportunities I have ever taken part in!

Retreat Attendee

2023 SF Retreat Attendee

I was great to have enough time to really flush out something that I can use right away during my school year.

Retreat Attendee

2023 SF Retreat Attendee

Wow! This is the way PD should be!

Retreat Attendee

2023 SF Retreat Attendee

I was not in the best mindset when I walked in on Monday morning (I was definitely feeling regret that this I planned to be here plum in the middle of summer), but that mindset shifted quickly BECAUSE we were so well taken care of and the workshop was so well paced

Retreat Attendee

2023 SF Retreat Attendee

Having the workshop at an independent school in SF gave me the opportunity to “retreat” from my usual academic setting while maintaining the familiarity of working with a small group in a school environment. Chatting with other teachers in the humanities likewise gave me the sense of familiar territory and priorities while focusing more specifically on my English unit of Frankenstein 😉

Retreat Attendee

2023 SF Retreat Attendee

Thank you SO much for dedicating this time to support us! You were so passionate about your work and that shone through. You also did a terrific job of creating a safe, collaborative space.

Retreat Attendee

2023 SF Retreat Attendee

[The retreat] further convinced me that UbD is such powerful exercise for teachers to engage in and create such meaningful learning experiences.


Past UbD Retreat Attendee

It was exciting to look at my curriculum with a new lens. It was so valuable to hear what teachers were doing. If we had more opportunity to do this, it would be wonderful.


Past UbD Retreat Attendee

I enjoyed the opportunities to collaborate; recognizing the struggles others were having and being able to tell them, “You’re right where you need to be…”


Past UbD Retreat Attendee

By doing this work in a room with 10 of my colleagues for two solid days, I gained a deeper appreciation for the way our work is connected. It was inspiring to see how many of our transfer goals and essential questions were interwoven.


Past UbD Retreat Attendee

This has been so purposeful. We came knowing what units we wanted to work on. The way you shaped the retreat and the time constraints made me feel more productive. Little bursts of work time made it exciting; you could implement it right then and there.


Past UbD Retreat Attendee

The excitement I have about creating this unit I hope will be contagious to the kids. I had no idea what the unit was going to look like so it was great to get those ideas down. It was wonderful to have this cross section of faculty to work with.


Past UbD Retreat Attendee

Feedback from 2023 Retreats

Percentage of attendees responding “Strongly Agree” or “Agree” to the following statements

The retreat achieved its goals
The retreat was well paced
The balance of work time met my needs
I had the support I needed throughout the session

Frequently asked questions

Who will be leading the retreats?

The 2024 summer retreats will be led by Mike Matthews, President of Authentic Education. Mike is a National Board Certified Teacher who has worked in both public and independent schools. He spent 7 years as the Director of Curriculum and Innovation at an Independent School in the San Francisco Bay Area. In his 8 years with AE, Mike has worked with educators around the world to design rich and engaging curriculum across a range of subjects and grade levels.


To ensure a high-quality and highly-personalized retreat with significant individualized coaching and support, the retreats are capped at 10-14 attendees (varies by location due to space constraints).

Is it just for teachers? I’m in a leadership role. Can I attend?

FFrom Curriculum Directors to DEI Leaders to Division Directors, we’ve had folks in non-teaching roles attend past retreats. The retreat is designed around creating a “ready-to-try” unit. We welcome all K-12 educators who are interested in creating a UbD unit to attend.


UbD experience is welcomed and not required. The small group format allows us to tailor instruction and support to meet all attendees where they are, whether they’re new to UbD or have extensive experience designing curriculum using the framework.

What will the retreat days look like?

The retreats will run from 9am-4pm each day, with breakfast available starting at 8:30am and a one-hour lunch break.

The daily schedule will be:

8:30am – Breakfast

9:00am – Morning Session

12:00pm – Lunch

1:00pm – Afternoon Session

4:00pm – End of day

I can’t make it in person. Can I attend virtually?

Due to the small group and collaborative nature of the retreats, we require folks to attend in-person. We do periodically offer virtual trainings as well, so if you’re interested in participating, please sign up for our newsletter at


Early bird Registration is $1345 (through May 10th, 2024) 
Standard Registration is $1395 (registrations after May 10, 2024)

Payment is due at time of registration to confirm your spot.

For schools sending 3 or more participants to the Summer 2024 retreats, a $50 credit applies to the third and any subsequent registrations. To register a group of teachers, please email us at

We also offer significant credits to schools who partner with us to host our retreats. Is your school interested in hosting one of our retreats? Let us know at

Please note: Early bird registration, which previously ended on April 30th, has been extended to May 10th.


The retreat fee includes:

– Attendance at the 2-day small group retreat

– One-on-one coaching session in weeks following retreat (attendees will be able to schedule a 30-minute video session in the 6 months that follows the retreat)

– Follow-up retreat cohort meeting session (optional)

– Breakfast, lunch, and snacks each day

– One Understanding by Design book

– Retreat workbook

– Access to AE’s resource library (access guaranteed for at least one year after retreat)

The retreat fee does not include any travel expenses, including without limitation, mileage, parking, hotel, flights, and meals outside of the retreats.

I am ready to go! Should I book my flights and hotels now?

Do not incur any non-refundable expenses until after your registration is confirmed. If you’re not local to the retreat location, a member of the AE team will follow up to share relevant information on travel logistics to help you book your trip.

What will I need to bring with me to the retreat?

You will need a laptop or a tablet with a keyboard. Attire is casual. We’ll provide everything else!

Will there be homework?

There will be a short pre-assessment that you’ll be asked to complete before the retreat. We do not assign any homework between the first and second days of the retreat.

What if I can’t attend after I’ve registered?

We know that life happens. We’ve created registration transfer and refund policies to give you peace of mind should something come up that changes your availability.

Registrants unable to attend the retreat may send someone in their place, by making a request in writing at least 3 days prior to the start of the retreat. Requests to transfer to an alternate 2024 retreat session will be considered on a case-by-case basis. All registration transfer requests must be made in writing via email to

Cancellations submitted through April 30, 2024, will receive a full refund of registration fee, less a $100 processing fee. No refunds will be issued for cancellations submitted after April 30, 2024. Refunds will be issued in the same form as the original payment when possible. Authentic Education does not award payment credit towards future services or events. All refund requests must be submitted in writing via email to

I have a different question. How can I get it answered?

We’re here to help! Email us at and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. 

Register for AE’s Summer Retreats