Institute for Middle Level Leadership

San Diego, CA • June 21-24, 2020
Hilton San Diego Resort & Spa
 
Orlando, FL • July 12-15, 2020
Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld

A one-of-a-kind, collaborative learning event designed to meet the unique needs of middle school leaders.

Whether you are a tenured principal or a new teacher, attending for your first time or your fourth time, developing your skills or developing your team, this unique event flows to fit your needs and challenges.

Principals • Teachers • Superintendents
Counselors • Team Leaders • Instructional/Technology Specialists
District/Central Office • Higher Education

Save a Seat! Space is limited to the first 200 registrants for each location.
Include the AMLE Institute for Middle Level Leadership in your 2020 professional learning plan now!

 
Q:    Who should attend?

A:   

If you improve the educational lives of students ages 10-15, this event is specifically designed for YOU!

Q:    Why should I attend?

A:   

The AMLE Leadership Institute will help you and other middle school leaders create the most effective educational experience for every young adolescent you serve.

Q:    What will I learn at the AMLE Leadership Institute?
A:    One of the many things that makes the Institute so unique and powerful is content that is driven by YOU!
 

Registration

Register Online

Download Registration Form

Funding your leadership institute experience

Included in registration

Registration Rates
Before
5/1
After
5/1
AMLE Professional Member
$995 $1,195
Associate & Non-Member*
$1,195 $1,395
*Includes an AMLE Professional Membership and print copies of each of our magazines.

Space is limited and is not guaranteed, so register early.

-cancellation policy-

Cancellations

  • Cancellations must be made in writing via mail, fax, or email at least 2 weeks prior to the event start date.
  • Substitutions are encouraged.
  • Cancellations received at least 2 weeks prior to the event start date will be refunded in full, less a $200 non-refundable processing fee. After the cancellation deadline, no refunds will be granted.
  • Memberships purchased at the time of registration will be cancelled only if specifically requested. Refunds may be pro-rated based on the portion of member benefits you have received.
  • Refunds will be issued in the same form as the payment that was received.
  • Refunds will be processed no later than eight weeks after the conference.

Event Schedule

Sunday: June 21, San Diego, CA / July 12, Orlando, FL
4:00 p.m.–4:45 p.m. AMLE App Support Session
5:00 p.m.–6:30 p.m. Dinner (included)
6:40 p.m.–7:30 p.m. Home Base Meeting #1
 
Monday: June 22, San Diego, CA / July 13, Orlando, FL
7:00 a.m.–8:00 a.m. Breakfast (included)
8:10 a.m.–9:25 a.m. Content Breakout Session #1
9:35 a.m.–10:50 a.m. Home Base Meeting #2
11:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. Job-Alike Session #1
12:10 p.m.–1:10 p.m. Lunch (included)
1:20 p.m.–2:35 p.m. Content Breakout Session #2
2:45 p.m.–3:45 p.m. Speed Learning/Individual Consultations
(snacks included)
4:00 p.m.–4:55 p.m. Optional Sessions Participant Planning Time
 
Tuesday: June 23, San Diego, CA / July 14, Orlando, FL
7:00 a.m.–8:00 a.m. Breakfast (included)
8:10 a.m.–9:25 a.m. Content Breakout Session #3
9:35 a.m.–10:15 a.m. Home Base Meeting #3
10:20 a.m.–10:50 a.m. Job-Alike Session #2
11:00 a.m.–11:20 a.m. Unconference Session #1
11:20 a.m.–12:20 p.m. Lunch (included)
12:25 p.m.–12:55 p.m. Unconference Session #2
1:00 p.m.–1:30 p.m. Unconference Session #3
1:45 p.m.–3:00 p.m. Content Breakout Session #4
3:10 p.m.–4:15 p.m. Team Building, Trivia, and Treats
4:15 p.m.–4:40 p.m. Participant Planning Time
 
Wednesday: June 24, San Diego, CA / July 15, Orlando, FL
7:00 a.m.–8:00 a.m. Breakfast (included)
8:10 a.m.–9:25 a.m. Content Breakout Session #5
9:35 a.m.–10:50 a.m. Content Breakout Session #6
11:00 a.m.–11:25 a.m. General Session
11:30 a.m.–12:15 p.m. Home Base Meeting #4

Breakout Session Topics

*San Diego only **Orlando only

  • Access/Equity/Opportunity
  • Trauma-Informed Practices
  • School Culture
  • Advisory
  • Transitions
  • Teaming
  • Family/Community Connections
  • Health and Wellness
  • School Safety
  • ELL/ESL
  • Learning Styles
  • Mental Health/Suicide/Bullying
  • Formative Assessment*
  • Active Student Engagement*
  • Technology/Digital Citizenship*
  • Data for School Improvement*
  • New Teacher/Administrator Onboarding**
  • Counseling**
  • Teacher Leadership**
  • Scheduling**

Session Formats

Learning your way! Participate in a variety of presentation formats including:

AMLE App Support Session: This is a voluntary session, explaining the use of the AMLE APP, a digital tool being used throughout the Institute. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions about the app, learn how to navigate the sections, access handouts, and complete sessions evaluations. Participants will leave feeling confident using the app allowing for a better Institute experience.

Home Base Meetings: Similar to Homeroom or Advisory/Advisement at school, these small-group meetings will give you the chance to more deeply discuss and examine key middle school concepts and data that impact your school and leadership. Home Base sessions will focus on the three key areas of This We Believe.

Content Breakout Sessions: You'll get a variety of content from AMLE middle school experts in these interactive, solution-rich sessions.

Speed Learning Sessions: During this session, you'll have the chance to shine a spotlight on the great ideas, programs, and initiatives at your school and learn from other attendees in a quick, personal setting!

Job-Alike Sessions: You'll meet and collaborate with attendees that share your job or role to discuss similar triumphs, challenges, and solutions.

General Session: During these engaging, whole-group sessions we'll examine the essential 16 characteristics of an effective middle grades program, discuss leadership actions that make those characteristics work, and explore This We Believe.

One-on-One Consultations: Sign up for a thirty-minute session with a faculty member to discuss a concern unique to your situation.

Collaboration and Networking Time: This is a time for you to meet with educators from similar schools or your own team. It is an opportunity for you to talk with other participants about the challenges, opportunities, and successes that they have in their schools. You could also choose to meet with your team to reflect on your learning for the day and discuss how to implement some of these ideas in your own school.

Unconference Sessions: Bring your critical issues and concerns, then create sessions you need! Build the conference you want within the Institute and get the answers and ideas to improve your school!

Team-Building, Trivia, and Treats: Get energized and motivated during this special activity-filled session, in which you'll join other Institute attendees in games that create great teams, great laughs, and great camaraderie!

Content Breakout Sessions – San Diego, CA

Download Sessions List

Providing PD for Tech-Hesitant Teachers
Barbara McCarty
While the possibilities of educational technology excite many educators, there are just as many teachers who are intimidated by the idea of incorporating technology into their lessons. In this session, we will consider some of the common concerns of tech-hesitant teachers as well as explore ways to meet their needs and support their growth. We will examine practical approaches and suggested applications to help you support teachers in integrating 21st century technology into their classrooms.

Transforming School Culture
Linda Hopping
Research shows that good schools do not occur without first establishing a positive, collaborative culture that involves all stakeholders. This transformational piece is often time-consuming and difficult. However, with time and systematic approaches this collaborative culture can be achieved, and the result is a shared vision that energizes all stakeholders through teaming and collaboration that propels the school forward to optimum performance in all areas.

Understanding Learning Styles
Sue Caron
We all know that every student learns differently – but what does that really mean and what implications does that have in today’s classrooms? What factors affect learning styles? Knowing and understanding the differences in our student’s learning styles allows for educators to implement best practice strategies into daily activities, curriculum, and assessments. In this session we will explore different inventories and thoughts around learning styles as well as cooperatively and collaboratively discuss ways to incorporate the knowledge of learning styles into teaching, learning, and assessing. You will leave here with new strategies and inventories ready to use with your learners!

Trauma-Informed Schools and Classrooms
Dru Tomlin
Are you looking to create a safe and caring learning environment for all students? Understanding the impact of trauma is one of your first steps. Research shows that traumatic experiences can alter the brain and affect children and adults in all facets of their life. In this session we will explore the various types of trauma, how it affects us both in and out of the classroom, and learn how adverse life experiences can impact the behavior of your students in the classroom. We will explore what we as adults can do to help and learn strategies for creating a safe and informed classroom/school.

Making School, Family, and Community Connections
Ruthie Stevenson
Too often we forget about the importance of our external stakeholders: families and the community. Few can disagree that all schools are in need of support. When schools have support from families and the community, the schools thrive; thus, it is imperative that school leaders seek ways to get the entire community to support schools. Research has shown that when schools, families, and the community partner, the results are improved learning for all students. This session will examine ways participants can engage its stakeholders; identify resources in the community; and provide strategies for communicating with families and the community. Participants will be invited to share their strategies for working with the community.

Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivators
Juan Rodriguez
In today’s fast-paced world, engaging students is a major challenge for teachers. Oftentimes, it’s all about finding the proper motivation. But which type of motivation are we talking about: intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation, or perhaps a combination of both? Is there room for both? A student’s poor performance is often attributed to a lack of motivation. We often put complex programs or systems in place to get the students to perform better. In an effort to increase the motivation on student achievement, rewards are given. Does this work? What exactly are the effects of rewards on students? Let’s find out.

Seven Principles of Instructional Core
Cedrick Gray
The model of the instructional core provides the basic framework for how to intervene in the instructional process to improve the quality and level of student learning. Seven principles guide the work of the instructional core. In this session, we will examine the seven principles and develop key strategies to improve the quality of instruction in our classrooms.

Work Smarter Not Harder
Tracie Abercrombie
Today, teachers and leaders have more on them than ever before. Maximizing your time is important. Come explore 11 digital tools that will help you use your time more effectively. Learn the difference between Chrome extensions and Google Add-Ons as well as which ones you must have to make your life a little easier! Whether you are a school level leader or the leader of your grade level, this is for you!

Future Planning and Goal Setting for Students
Sue Caron
Future Planning??? But they are so young! Do we really need to worry about this with middle school learners? The answer is yes! According to the Association for Career and Technical Education, “research has identified middle school as a time when students can benefit the most from career exploration, a process of building self-awareness, learning about potential careers, and developing a plan for future goals.” In this session we will explore different facets of future planning with students as well as skills they will need to plan ahead including career awareness, financial literacy, Habits of Mind, and more. We will look at templates and goal setting documents, we will look at events and processes to help students explore careers and trades, and we will share information and tools to move forward in our own communities with this exploration. Participation, collaboration, and sharing of ideas are welcomed!

Breakout of Boring Lessons
Barbara McCarty
Harness the power of this innovative activity to engage your students with curricular material. Participants will learn about the benefits of creating blended escape rooms and gain an understanding of the practical strategies and tools needed to create their own escape room experience. After seeing examples of completed activities as well as the accompanying planning materials, participants will leave with the ability to integrate this activity into their program. Let the games begin!

Dealing with Difficult Parents
Ruthie Stevenson
When a parent or family member shows up mad, or a parent is just downright difficult, what can you do to cope? Are there strategies to move difficult situations from confrontation to problem solving? Is it possible that there may be nothing you can do except let the individual vent? Most of us have probably experienced the stress of dealing with parents who are angry, hostile, defensive, and even threatening. The magic bullet does not exist for dealing with these parents. However, there are some strategies that have been effective with dealing with some of these difficult parents. This session will engage participants in conversations about ways to cope or turn bad situations into ways to positively affect students, parents, teachers, and administrators.

Planning and Implementing This We Believe in Your Building
Linda Hopping
One of the most important characteristics of successful middle grades schools is the establishment of small learning communities of teachers and students, established to provide close, lasting relationships between adults and young adolescents. Both looping and multiage teaming provide bonds that last throughout the middle level experience for students, parents, and teachers. This presentation explores the advantages of these exciting alternatives and how they can operate within the structure of a middle school.

Health and Wellness Concerns for Students and Staff
Juan Rodriguez
When we travel we are told to put on our oxygen mask first before helping others, but as educators we do not. We face many challenges to address the health and wellness needs of our students and staff. In our fast paced schools we give everything away often leaving little for ourselves. Teachers and school leaders are overworked and stressed, and self-care is what makes them capable of being the best they can be and able to sustain the energy needed for their demanding job. It’s time to stop the madness and get serious about self-care. It’s not a luxury. It’s not weakness. It’s not self-indulgent. Although improving the mental health and wellness for students and staff in our schools are top concerns, we struggle with maintaining a balance and focus between school demands and having the necessary resources to get it done. We all know that healthy eating, sufficient sleep, and being physically active are good practices. But how do we truly break through our habits and start self-care practices that actually stick?

Instructional Walkthroughs for Principals and Principal Supervisors
Cedrick Gray
How does a principal who didn’t teach math evaluate a mathematics classroom? What should the former English/language arts teacher turned principal look for in the pre-algebra lesson? This session will provide a step-by-step process for evaluating instruction in every classroom regardless of subject or content. Participants will also refine their instructional lens to help even the master teacher improve.

Monitoring Student Progress Using Early Warning Indicators
Linda Hopping and Gail Heinemeyer
The research is clear that the school dropout crisis begins in the middle grades. This session will familiarize you with the research and the urgency for interventions in the middle grades years. As early as sixth grade, schools can identify those students who are in danger of not graduating on time or at all. This session will provide a framework for how to set up tracking systems of the ABCs, (attendance, behavior, and course grades) and develop specific interventions.

Supporting English Language Learners
Juan Rodriguez
Every day, millions of linguistically and culturally diverse students enter our schools. Increasing diversity in schools places increased demands on all middle level educators. Successful middle schools ensure that all students are achieving in all aspects of their middle school experience. This session looks at classroom strategies and school-wide interventions to support the English Language Learner. We will provide the teacher and principal perspective on developing instructional strategies, forging cultural connections, creating a supportive environment, facilitating assessments, and designing professional development.

Homework - To Assign and Assess or Not
Ruthie Stevenson
The arguments for and against homework are not new. A 2007 article in Educational Leadership by Robert J. Marzano and Debra J. Pickering asserted, “Teachers should not abandon homework. Instead, they should improve its instructional quality.” Research has shown that there are pros and cons to doing homework. Some questions that will be addressed during this session will be:

  • What’s the purpose of the assignment?
  • Is it merely a way to show parents and administration what's going on in the class?
  • Is it a means to help keep the grades up?
  • Is homework being graded for accuracy or completion? If so, then what if the assignment is wrong?
  • Have the necessary skills been taught so the student can master the material on his or her own?
Participants will engage in discussions on the pros and cons of homework; how and why they use homework or why they do not assign homework.

 

Reducing Conflict and Violence in the Middle Grades
Dru Tomlin
Supporting our middle grades students to become more literate will help them navigate text and achieve academically. However, how do we help our students improve their behavioral literacy so we can reduce conflict and violence in our schools? In this engaging session, we’ll tackle this critical question and explore ways that we can develop a complete behavioral literacy “lessen plan” to decrease the number of disciplinary referrals we handle every day.

Stepping Up Tech Integration with SAMR
Barbara McCarty
Looking for a way to use technology to make an impact in your classroom and promote deeper learning? The SAMR model of technology implementation can help teachers evaluate how they are using technology in their educational practices. In this session, we will examine the four levels of technology represented by the SAMR acronym (substitution, augmentation, modification, redefinition), explore practical examples from a variety of subjects, and investigate ways to use SAMR to enhance your existing technology use.

Instructional Coaching for Principals and Supervisors
Cedrick Gray
The best way to impact instruction in your classrooms is to impact the instructors in your classrooms. Teachers need support, resources, and effective feedback to improve. This session will guide the participant through instructional coaching methods that include providing effective feedback that leads to instructional growth.

Making Thinking Visible
Tracie Abercrombie
Seeing our own thinking and the thinking of others gives us a unique opportunity to properly digest what we are learning. The ability to make thinking visible increases academic discourse in the classroom and enables us to gather real-time, meaningful feedback to quickly dispel common misconceptions. Come learn five digital tools to enhance your students’ ability to think out loud. Whether you are a classroom teacher or leader of professional learning, these tools will help you interact with your audience as well as review session reports afterwards.

Active Engagement Strategies
Sue Caron
Do you know what it’s like to sit down at a staff meeting and look around and see people not paying attention? Grading papers? Reading emails? Texting? Students aren’t a whole lot different than adults; if they aren’t absorbed by what’s going on, they’ll find something else that interests them. We can define active learning as the process of involving all learners in activities that encourage them to develop a deeper understanding of content by working with and reflecting on the material being presented. In this active, collaborative session we will explore strategies to build your arsenal of routines, strategies, and activities to take back to your schools and implement right away!

Digging into Data for School Improvement
Dru Tomlin and Cedrick Gray
Building an effective and amazing middle school is challenging work. Middle level leaders want to not only create great schools, but they want to maintain and sustain them. The essential key to this process is knowing how to gather, analyze, and utilize critical data about best middle school practices and the level at which they are being implemented at one's school. Explore this topic and the AMLE School Improvement Assessment tool at this engaging session.

Moving Students from Consumers to Creators
Tracie Abercrombie
Students today learn differently than we did growing up. Information at our fingertips, through technology, has changed even the way we once learned. So, why do we keep trying to teach the same way we were taught? Many of us have successfully transitioned to using devices in the classroom but are stuck in the idea that students can only use them for research or simply looking at a resource. Come gain a better understanding of how to move students from passively consuming content on their device to creating products in a way that transforms your classroom as well as student learning. Walk away with four tech tools that encourage the digital creation of a product to allow students to demonstrate the highest level of learning. This session is for classroom teachers as well as leaders looking to raise the level of technology integration in their schools.

Making VR and AR a Reality
Barbara McCarty
Interested in using virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) to enhance your program, but unsure where to start? In this session, we will explore ways to integrate VR and AR into your classroom activities to enhance student learning and engagement. Delve into the ways your students can benefit from being consumers and producers of this innovative technology. Experience the apps and learn about practical lesson ideas to make virtual and augmented reality a true reality in your school!

Multi-Age Teaming and Looping
Linda Hopping
One of the most important characteristics of successful middle grades schools is the establishment of small learning communities of teachers and students, established to provide close, lasting relationships between adults and young adolescents. Both looping and multiage teaming provide bonds that last throughout the middle level experience for students, parents, and teachers. This presentation explores the advantages of these exciting alternatives and how they can operate within the structure of a middle school.

How to Have Difficult Conversations
Juan Rodriguez
The ability to manage difficult conversations effectively is a key leadership skill and critically necessary to achieving almost any significant change. What knowledge and skills are needed to engage in difficult conversations and give effective feedback? How do we deal with our own emotions? Asking everyone to give just a little more and "push it" requires strong relationships; a culture of trust, respect, and accountability; and commitment to high expectations. Where do we learn how to handle healthy conflict and debate with tact and a lot of patience with one another? Do people in our schools deal with conflicts directly, routinely, and well? Or does the email and water cooler chat continue to focus on all the ways things are not working.

The Un-faculty Faculty Meeting Making PD Meaningful
Tracie Abercrombie
Learning is personal. It doesn’t just happen on a certain day of the week at a certain time. We encourage teachers to give their students choice and time to collaborate to ensure learning happens at the deepest level. Teachers need the same opportunities. Transform your professional learning as well as your faculty meetings into a place teachers want to be! Nobody likes to waste time in an unproductive faculty meeting. Administrators and leaders should consider transforming their faculty meetings into engaging, teacher driven, professional development sessions. Everyone, at any given time, has something to share that can help someone else. If leaders can simply provide the vehicle for educators to connect and collaborate about topics relevant to them, teachers can walk away feeling refreshed and fed so that they can pass that to their students. Come explore the edcamp components and learn how to use them to create several types of meaningful professional development sessions for your teachers. Walk away with several other PD ideas to use that will bring the fun and authenticity back to teacher learning!

Building a Strong Advisory Program
Sue Caron
Right off the pages of This We Believe comes a way to build a safe, inclusive, and supportive culture within your school community. By creating and investing in an advisory program, you provide EVERY student with an adult advocate whose focus is the whole child’s social, emotional, and educational needs. In this session we will explore components and structures of strong advisory programs as well as look at and participate in hands on activities to build quality relationships and foster understanding, tolerance, and kindness amongst your learners.

Transitioning To and From the Middle Grades
Dru Tomlin
According to This We Believe, young adolescents need educators who value them and who are prepared to teach them. In addition, they (and their families) need and deserve effective and amazing transitional programs to and from the middle level. This interactive session will provide you with the tools, ideas, and examples you need to make this happen for every student in your school. Participants will take away a "blueprint" to create your own transition camp for incoming middle grades students.

Developing Teacher Teams
Linda Hopping and Ruthie Stevenson
Many middle school leaders have instituted teaming as the basic organizational structure of their school, and teachers practice basic teaming principles every day. Come explore ways to move to the next level, where teams look closely at data on a regular basis, coordinate and integrate curriculum, engage in their own ongoing professional development, and even develop innovative teaming structures that extend beyond the norm.

Digital Citizenship in the 21st Century—More than Internet Safety
Barbara McCarty
It’s time to reexamine how we approach digital citizenship with our middle school students. Let’s move our conversations past personal safety to empower our students to become thoughtful consumers of information who use technology to make their voices heard and their communities better. In this session, we will examine ways to shift this focus through practical lessons and projects. Leave with resources and ideas to create effective, active digital citizens in your middle school.

Leader vs. Supervisor: Effective Practices of Supervision for Principals
Cedrick Gray
Is your school supervision culture like Little Bo Peep or The Good Shepherd? Do the sheep scatter unless you’re standing over them or do they stay and graze even when you’re not in the field? This session explores the difference between leadership and management in the area of supervision and the Ambitious Leadership Practices that leaders embrace to keep the flock focused and engaged.

Planning and Implementing Student-Led Conferences
Sue Caron
For our students to be involved and invested in their own learning and to create a culture where growth mindset and achieving goals are at the heart of what we do, learners need to be involved in conversations about their own strengths, struggles, and goals. Student-led conferences promote a culture of engagement, empowerment, and growth by asking the learner to take the driver’s seat in planning, demonstrating, and sharing their learning. In this session we will look at:

  • What are student-led conferences and why should we do them?
  • Important parts of student-led conferences
  • Tips for running effective student-led conferences
  • Benefits for holding student-led conferences
  • Templates, formats, and technology that can benefit a student-led conference

 

Closing Access and Opportunity Gaps in Middle Schools
Dru Tomlin
Keeping students connected to school in the middle grades is essential to their academic, behavioral, and social growth. We want them to stay for clubs after school, but transportation is an issue. We want them to be celebrated more, but we only have Honor Roll at certain times of the year. We want them to achieve academically, but access to technology is lacking. So how do we help ensure that students have unfettered access to activities, recognition, technology, and more? Let’s discuss the answers, examples, and the challenges to this critical question in this engaging session.

Digital Tools that make Formative Assessments Easy
Tracie Abercrombie
What exactly is a formative assessment and how can we use it to really improve learning? Formative assessments can become meaningless if we are not intentional with their design and we don’t utilize the data produced from them to change our instruction. Grading assessments in a timely manner so that we can give meaningful, specific feedback can be quite difficult. Come learn some digital platforms and tools that will give your formative assessments new life so that they begin to work for you by reducing grading time and allowing you to give timely feedback that helps students go deeper in their learning.

Courageous Conversations About Adolescent Suicide and Bullying
Ruthie Stevenson
Unfortunately, teenage suicide is increasing, and rapidly. It had been decreasing in the 1980s and 1990s, but now is becoming much more prevalent. In 15- to 24-year-olds, it is the second leading cause of death in the United States. Many external forces pressure young people to consider suicide, such as bullying, and with the relatively recent advent of advanced communication technology, such as the Internet, this pressure is even greater. Clearly, much work needs to be done, but many barriers have existed to turn the tide of this ongoing tragedy. In too many instances, the suicide crisis among adolescents is not addressed until it happens. Fortunately, that is not always the case. Some school districts have openly addressed the problem. This session will actively engage institute attendees in “courageous” conversations and activities to examine what may be described as an epidemic among adolescents.

School Safety: How to Ensure that Everyone Feels Safe
Juan Rodriguez
We are all shocked by the recent violent events in our schools that affect how we feel about safety and security. Although improving the security measures in our school campuses and buildings are two of our top concerns, school administrators struggle with maintaining a balance between having a user-friendly, welcoming school climate and a facility that is secure from unwanted intruders. While even the best school access control efforts will not guarantee preventing a determined outsider from gaining access to the school, we must take reasonable steps to reduce the risks of unauthorized access. Campus security does not happen overnight, but we can begin the journey today.

Content Breakout Sessions – Orlando, FL

Download Sessions List

Trauma Informed Schools and Classrooms
Ann McCarty Perez
Are you looking to create a safe and caring learning environment for all students? Understanding the impact of trauma is one of your first steps. Research shows that traumatic experiences can alter the brain and affect children and adults in all facets of their life. In this session we will explore the various types of trauma, how it affects us both in and out of the classroom, and learn how adverse life experiences can impact the behavior of your students in the classroom. We will explore what we as adults can do to help and learn strategies for creating a safe and informed classroom/school.

Transforming School Culture
Linda Hopping
Research shows that good schools do not occur without first establishing a positive, collaborative culture that involves all stakeholders. This transformational piece is often time-consuming and difficult. However, with time and systematic approaches this collaborative culture can be achieved, and the result is a shared vision that energizes all stakeholders through teaming and collaboration that propels the school forward to optimum performance in all areas.

The Master Schedule as an Instructional Tool
Paul Dunford
Effectively designed master schedules provide the framework for essential middle grades practices and support for innovative instructional strategies. This session will explore the components of the middle grades scheduling process and connections to the evidence-based practices found in This We Believe, and provide a set of essential questions for scheduling teams to consider in determining if their master schedule is a contributor or a deterrent to improving student achievement. Participants will leave this session with:

  • A process to explore if your master schedule contributes to or hinders increased student achievement
  • Questions to frame a review of current practice and guide changes/adjustments to your master schedule
  • Considerations to integrate the characteristics of This We Believe into your master schedule

 

Personalized Professional Development
Bryan Boykin
The constant evolution of teaching and learning makes professional development necessary to meet the needs of teachers and students. Professional development not only allows teachers to learn new teaching styles and strategies, but also interact with other educators in order to improve their own teaching. As school leaders, it can be a challenge to create meaningful professional development opportunities for our staff, while also managing competing demands. During this session, participants will examine their current professional development models and how to re-allocate existing time to do so. You will learn how to create a culture of professional learning and how to maximize professional development opportunities.

Making School, Family, and Community Connections
Ruthie Stevenson
Too often we forget about the importance of our external stakeholders: families and the community. Few can disagree that all schools are in need of support. When schools have support from families and the community, the schools thrive; thus, it is imperative that school leaders seek ways to get the entire community to support schools. Research has shown that when schools, families, and the community partner, the results are improved learning for all students. This session will examine ways participants can engage its stakeholders; identify resources in the community; and provide strategies for communicating with families and the community. Participants will be invited to share their strategies for working with the community.

Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivators
Juan Rodriguez
In today’s fast-paced world, engaging students is a major challenge for teachers. Oftentimes, it’s all about finding the proper motivation. But which type of motivation are we talking about: intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation, or perhaps a combination of both? Is there room for both? A student’s poor performance is often attributed to a lack of motivation. We often put complex programs or systems in place to get the students to perform better. In an effort to increase the motivation on student achievement, rewards are given. Does this work? What exactly are the effects of rewards on students? Let’s find out.

Triple D – The Dean’s Life.... Dialogue, Decisions, and Demands
Christine Toth
Life as a dean of students can be challenging and highly demanding but also extremely rewarding. During this session, you will have the opportunity to reflect on your role as dean and share with others who have experienced this journey of dean life. Through case studies and group discussion you will walk away with strategies to set you up for success.

Equity and Culturally Responsive Teaching
Ann McCarty Perez
This session offers an introduction to creating a more equitable classroom environment through the use of culturally responsive teaching (CRT) and making student thinking visible. We will explore some aspects of equity frameworks and how CRT fits into the larger spectrum of meeting the needs of students.

Promoting Growth Mindset for Students and Staff
Dru Tomlin
Becoming a great school means every student needs to adopt a growth mindset so they can reach their goals. In fact, the same is true for teachers and staff. As it states in This We Believe, effective middle grades programs are driven by “ongoing professional development,” which means that we need to see ourselves as professionals who are always developing and learning for our students. In other words, to reach every student, teachers and staff need to get beyond a fixed mindset about themselves, too. This session will look at ways we can support and encourage a growth mindset throughout our middle schools—for students, teachers, staff, and ourselves.

Building Teacher Leadership at the School and District Level
Paul Dunford and Bryan Boykin
Thinking that the principal is solely responsible for the leadership of the school is a common mistake made by many school administrators. Teachers serve as formal/informal leaders, improve teaching practice by serving as models, and instill a commitment to professional learning. The purpose of this session is to exam the role of teacher leadership in school improvement efforts and how to develop it.

Dealing with Difficult Parents
Ruthie Stevenson
When a parent or family member shows up mad, or a parent is just downright difficult, what can you do to cope? Are there strategies to move difficult situations from confrontation to problem solving? Is it possible that there may be nothing you can do except let the individual vent? Most of us have probably experienced the stress of dealing with parents who are angry, hostile, defensive, and even threatening. The magic bullet does not exist for dealing with these parents. However, there are some strategies that have been effective with dealing with some of these difficult parents. This session will engage participants in conversations about ways to cope or turn bad situations into ways to positively affect students, parents, teachers, and administrators.

Walking Each Year with Your Kids - Multi-Age Teaming and Looping
Linda Hopping
One of the most important characteristics of successful middle grades schools is the establishment of small learning communities of teachers and students, established to provide close, lasting relationships between adults and young adolescents. Both looping and multiage teaming provide bonds that last throughout the middle level experience for students, parents, and teachers. This presentation explores the advantages of these exciting alternatives and how they can operate within the structure of a middle school.

Health and Wellness Concerns for Students and Staff
Juan Rodriguez
When we travel we are told to put on our oxygen mask first before helping others, but as educators we do not. We face many challenges to address the health and wellness needs of our students and staff. In our fast paced schools we give everything away often leaving little for ourselves. Teachers and school leaders are overworked and stressed, and self-care is what makes them capable of being the best they can be and able to sustain the energy needed for their demanding job. It’s time to stop the madness and get serious about self-care. It’s not a luxury. It’s not weakness. It’s not self-indulgent. Although improving the mental health and wellness for students and staff in our schools are top concerns, we struggle with maintaining a balance and focus between school demands and having the necessary resources to get it done. We all know that healthy eating, sufficient sleep, and being physically active are good practices. But how do we truly break through our habits and start self-care practices that actually stick?

Team Building: Tips and Tricks to Add to Your Toolbox
Christine Toth
When it comes to developing a group, the best way to start is with team building. Many of us are not comfortable facilitating sessions nor do we even know where to begin. During this session, participants will have the opportunity to participate in hands on teambuilders, share best practices, and walk away with tips and tricks to add to their toolbox.

Monitoring Student Progress Using Early Warning Indicators
Linda Hopping and Gail Heinemeyer
The research is clear that the school dropout crisis begins in the middle grades. This session will familiarize you with the research and the urgency for interventions in the middle grades years. As early as sixth grade, schools can identify those students who are in danger of not graduating on time or at all. This session will provide a framework for how to set up tracking systems of the ABCs, (attendance, behavior, and course grades) and develop specific interventions.

Supporting English Language Learners
Juan Rodriguez
Every day, millions of linguistically and culturally diverse students enter our schools. Increasing diversity in schools places increased demands on all middle level educators. Successful middle schools ensure that all students are achieving in all aspects of their middle school experience. This session looks at classroom strategies and school-wide interventions to support the English Language Learner. We will provide the teacher and principal perspective on developing instructional strategies, forging cultural connections, creating a supportive environment, facilitating assessments, and designing professional development.

Homework - To Assign and Assess or Not
Ruthie Stevenson
The arguments for and against homework are not new. A 2007 article in Educational Leadership by Robert J. Marzano and Debra J. Pickering asserted, “Teachers should not abandon homework. Instead, they should improve its instructional quality.” Research has shown that there are pros and cons to doing homework. Some questions that will be addressed during this session will be:

  • What’s the purpose of the assignment?
  • Is it merely a way to show parents and administration what's going on in the class?
  • Is it a means to help keep the grades up?
  • Is homework being graded for accuracy or completion? If so, then what if the assignment is wrong?
  • Have the necessary skills been taught so the student can master the material on his or her own?
Participants will engage in discussions on the pros and cons of homework; how and why they use homework or why they do not assign homework.

 

Making Advisory and House Systems Work for Everyone
Dru Tomlin
In This We Believe, advisory is a critical ingredient in the recipe of an effective middle school but cooking it up can be challenging! This session will explore key considerations that every middle grades leader needs to think about when creating, rekindling, and/or growing an advisory program so it can work for every stakeholder. Participants will explore the limitless possibilities (and potential challenges) of a school-wide house system, which can bring even more community building, spirit, and collaboration to the marvelous middle grades! Examine what, when, where, and how to make all of this happen to improve the lives of young adolescents and share questions, experiences, and success stories of advisory programs.

Girls Empowerment
Christine Toth
As educators, we have the ability to instill confidence in our students and provide them with the tools they will need to thrive in this world. In this session, we will explore how to help girls find their voice, specifically through intentional programming. It is important for educators to provide female students the opportunity for growth in an environment that encourages the formation of new friendships and the strengthening of existing ones with a focus on communication, team building, relationships, kindness and empathy.

Understanding Specially Designed Instruction
Paul Dunford
As standards based instruction takes a firm hold in the middle grades landscape, a clear understanding of high-quality special education instructional practices and a multi-tiered system of supports are critical to ensure success for every child. This session will look at specially designed instruction as an essential strategy for serving students with disabilities and leadership practices that support specially designed instruction in the middle grades. Participants will leave this session with:

  • Actions middle level leaders might take to support high quality specially designed instruction in their schools
  • Options for special education services in the middle grades structure
  • Understanding how the focus on the “first teach” serves students in universally designed middle grades classrooms
  • Tools and schedule structures that support specially designed instruction for your middle school

 

1:1 Classrooms- Purposeful Use of Technology to Transform Teaching and Learning
Ann McCarty Perez
This session is designed to help leaders and teachers who have made the move to being 1:1 and are now looking for the next step in moving instruction beyond substitution of technology. We will explore pedagogy that facilitates the purposeful use of technology and how to leverage the power of devices to meet the needs of students at every level.

Developing a Comprehensive School Counseling Program
Bryan Boykin
The purpose of the school counseling program is to impart specific skills and learning opportunities in a proactive, preventive manner, ensuring all students can achieve success through academic, career, and personal/social development. In this session participants will examine the components of a comprehensive school counseling program and learn how to create one that meets the needs of their students.

Transitioning To and From the Middle Grades
Dru Tomlin
According to This We Believe, young adolescents need educators who value them and who are prepared to teach them. In addition, they (and their families) need and deserve effective and amazing transitional programs to and from the middle level. This interactive session will provide you with the tools, ideas, and examples you need to make this happen for every student in your school. Participants will take away a "blueprint" to create your own transition camp for incoming middle grades students.

Instructional Leadership: Making the Most of Your PLCs and the School Improvement Process
Ann McCarty Perez
The role of instructional leader is one of the most important in the organization. You are tasked with the learning of adults and students to ensure student outcomes. In this session you will learn how to facilitate your Professional Learning Communities to build collective capacity and understanding of instructional outcomes to improve performance. Learn how to lead your organization by developing consistent and clear ways to review school data and choose instructional strategies to meet the needs of your students. This session will help those who are focused on continuous improvement through Professional Learning Communities and improving their multi-tiered systems of support.

Fundamentals of an Advisory Program
Christine Toth
This session is designed for those who are new to advisory or those that are interested in starting an advisory program. An effective advisory program should touch every aspect of a student’s life: the social, emotional, and academic. During this session, we will discuss the importance of an effective advisory program, what should be included, and share best practices.

Student-Led Conferencing: The Best Kept Secret in Middle Grades Schools
Linda Hopping
Student-led conferencing is gaining momentum throughout the country as educators begin to understand how this powerful format brings students to the center of the learning process. Students assume responsibility for their learning when they begin to reflect on what they have and have not accomplished, develop goals based on those reflections, and share that information with their parents.

How to Have Difficult Conversations
Juan Rodriguez
The ability to manage difficult conversations effectively is a key leadership skill and critically necessary to achieving almost any significant change. What knowledge and skills are needed to engage in difficult conversations and give effective feedback? How do we deal with our own emotions? Asking everyone to give just a little more and "push it" requires strong relationships; a culture of trust, respect, and accountability; and commitment to high expectations. Where do we learn how to handle healthy conflict and debate with tact and a lot of patience with one another? Do people in our schools deal with conflicts directly, routinely, and well? Or does the email and water cooler chat continue to focus on all the ways things are not working.

Creating a Culture and Structure for Systems Change in Support of Middle Grades Practices
Paul Dunford
We never seem to be short on reports that define what we must do to transform our schools. In this session we will look at how theories and ideas become practices that make a difference to the students in our classrooms. We will share successful strategies for building capacity and sustainable supports around and within districts and schools to transform middle level classrooms. Our conversations and activities will center on this essential question: What does it take to bring everyone ( district, school, classroom) to the point at which what we talk about, and what we plan, positively impacts the work of middle grades teachers in the classroom? Participants will leave this session with:

  • Understanding how change theory when put into practice builds capacity for fully implementing the characteristics of This We Believe.
  • Ideas for implementing theories of change and how Active Implementation Science ensures success for innovative middle level practices.
  • Tools and resources that will support implementing This We Believe in your middle grades school.

 

Authentic Leadership to Build Relationships and Foster a Positive Climate and Culture
Ann McCarty Perez
Culture trumps strategy every time! How we define ourselves as leaders shapes our schools and affects our every interaction. If we want to provide a safe, inclusive, and positive school culture where teachers and students thrive, we must first be authentic leaders by modeling courage, vulnerability, risk taking, and imperfection. This session is designed for school leaders who want to reflect on their personal selves to increase their ability to connect with teachers and students to improve school culture and climate. Participants will learn strategies to help them lead with authenticity and foster a more inclusive and equitable school environment.

Onboarding New Teachers
Bryan Boykin
Effective onboarding is vital to the success of school and school division efforts to recruit, develop, and retain highly qualified staff. As a school leader, it is important to understand that new teachers are onboarded through a process and not a single event. During this session, participants will learn the value of an effective onboarding process.

Digging into Data for School Improvement
Dru Tomlin
Building an effective and amazing middle school is challenging work. Middle level leaders want to not only create great schools, but they want to maintain and sustain them. The essential key to this process is knowing how to gather, analyze, and utilize critical data about best middle school practices and the level at which they are being implemented at one's school. Explore this topic and the AMLE School Improvement Assessment tool at this engaging session.

Developing Teacher Teams
Linda Hopping and Ruthie Stevenson
Many middle school leaders have instituted teaming as the basic organizational structure of their school, and teachers practice basic teaming principles every day. Come explore ways to move to the next level, where teams look closely at data on a regular basis, coordinate and integrate curriculum, engage in their own ongoing professional development, and even develop innovative teaming structures that extend beyond the norm.

The Design Thinking Process
Christine Toth
The design thinking process is a great way to challenge traditional ways of thinking and find creative solutions to everyday issues and problems that are not always predictable. During this session, you will learn how to use this process and have the opportunity to participate in a solution-based feedback session using a growth mindset approach.

Establishing Core Beliefs for Implementing This We Believe
Paul Dunford
Creating a culture of shared beliefs is essential to the characteristics of This We Believe, a framework of proven practices that define high-performing middle schools. Schools that embrace this research and implement aligned practices provide academic excellence developed and maintained in an environment that is appropriate for young adolescents. Participants will leave this session with:

  • Strategies and tools to use with your team to build a culture of shared beliefs
  • Connections to middle grades research and classroom practices
  • Understanding of the essential attributes of middle level education in the context of your work in the middle grades.

 

100 Day Entry Plan for New Leaders
Bryan Boykin
The first days of school are just as important for school leaders as they are for teachers with their new students. This is why it is important for new leaders to have a detailed plan to guide their work and increase their chances of success. Entry plans are designed to help individuals systemically collect information about their new school or department and manage the transition of leadership. During this session participants will examine the components of an effective entry plan and learn how to develop one by creating an entry plan to meet their individual needs.

Closing Access and Opportunity Gaps in Middle Schools
Dru Tomlin
Keeping students connected to school in the middle grades is essential to their academic, behavioral, and social growth. We want them to stay for clubs after school, but transportation is an issue. We want them to be celebrated more, but we only have Honor Roll at certain times of the year. We want them to achieve academically, but access to technology is lacking. So how do we help ensure that students have unfettered access to activities, recognition, technology, and more? Let’s discuss the answers, examples, and the challenges to this critical question in this engaging session.

School Safety: How to Ensure that Everyone Feels Safe
Juan Rodriguez
We are all shocked by the recent violent events in our schools that affect how we feel about safety and security. Although improving the security measures in our school campuses and buildings are two of our top concerns, school administrators struggle with maintaining a balance between having a user-friendly, welcoming school climate and a facility that is secure from unwanted intruders. While even the best school access control efforts will not guarantee preventing a determined outsider from gaining access to the school, we must take reasonable steps to reduce the risks of unauthorized access. Campus security does not happen overnight, but we can begin the journey today.

Courageous Conversations About Adolescent Suicide and Bullying
Ruthie Stevenson
Unfortunately, teenage suicide is increasing, and rapidly. It had been decreasing in the 1980s and 1990s, but now is becoming much more prevalent. In 15- to 24-year-olds, it is the second leading cause of death in the United States. Many external forces pressure young people to consider suicide, such as bullying, and with the relatively recent advent of advanced communication technology, such as the Internet, this pressure is even greater. Clearly, much work needs to be done, but many barriers have existed to turn the tide of this ongoing tragedy. In too many instances, the suicide crisis among adolescents is not addressed until it happens. Fortunately, that is not always the case. Some school districts have openly addressed the problem. This session will actively engage institute attendees in “courageous” conversations and activities to examine what may be described as an epidemic among adolescents.

Meet the Facilitators

Our team of middle school experts facilitates learning at the Institute for Middle Level Leadership guided by the following principles:

  • Develop courageous, collaborative, compassionate, and reflective leaders.
  • Provide a safe space for taking the risks to implement the actions necessary to improve middle schools.
  • Create a personalized experience that is responsive to the needs of participants, school teams, districts, and state teams.
  • Foster an environment based on energy, humor, and humanity.

Tracey Abercrombie
-bio
*CA only

Bryan Boykin
-bio
*FL only

Sue Caron
-Bio
*CA only

Paul Dunford
-Bio
*FL only

Cedrick Gray
-Bio
*CA only

Gail Heinemeyer
-Bio

Linda Hopping
-Bio

Ann McCarty Perez
-Bio
*FL only

Barbara McCarty
-Bio
*CA only

Juan Rodriguez
-Bio

Ruthie Stevenson
-Bio

Dru Tomlin
-Bio

Christine Toth
-Bio
*FL only

Cheryl Mizerny is a veteran educator with more than 25 years of experience–most at the middle school level. She began her career in special education, became a teacher consultant and adjunct professor of educational psychology, and currently teaches sixth grade English in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Cheryl writes about student motivation and engagement at The Accidental English Teacher and about teaching middle school in her blog "It's Not Easy Being Tween" for MiddleWeb.

Dr. Bobby Moore is known for high energy, engaging, and thought-provoking keynote addresses, presentations, and workshops. Moore has presented all over the country and internationally. As the former principal of a nationally recognized middle school and the author of the AMLE book Inspire, Motivate, Collaborate, he is recognized across the country as a thought leader in education. While serving as middle school principal, his school received visitors from all over the state to learn how one of the lowest funded districts in Ohio was also one of the highest performing, despite poverty and limited resources. During his time as a superintendent Bobby led his district to the highest rating of Excellent with Distinction, the very first time for the district, and to a ranking among the top districts in the state for student growth. For the last several years, Bobby led one of the largest school improvement collaboratives in the United States for the not-for-profit Battelle for Kids and has done extensive consulting with state departments of education and large urban districts. Bobby is currently president and CEO of the EPIC Impact Education Group and is the strategic partnerships and professional learning manager for AMLE. His areas of interest and expertise include leadership; emotional intelligence; high performing middle schools; positive school culture; motivating and engaging staff; leveraging time, talent, and resources (school scheduling); literacy; and character education. Follow Bobby Moore on Twitter: @DrBobbyMoore.

Dr. Neil Gupta is the director of secondary education for Worthington City Schools in Ohio. Neil has been an administrator for more than 10 years providing focused leadership and support to middle schools and high schools. He also serves as the past president on the board of directors for the Ohio Association of Secondary School Administrators. Neil has presented at state and national conferences on the topics of leadership principles and practices, legislative advocacy, standards and curriculum alignment, assessment practices, and data analysis. His main focus is providing team development strategies with a focus on data analysis, curriculum alignment, and strategic planning. Neil continues to engage with educational leaders face-to-face and in a virtual setting through Twitter (@drneilgupta), Google and Voxer. He co-moderates weekly Twitter chats for #ohedchat and #leadupchat and receives an enormous amount of attention on his Wordpress blog: drneilgupta.wordpress.com

David Hayward has spent more than 20 years sharing his passion for education and technology, inspiring educators to integrate educational pedagogy with 21st century technology tools. He began his career as a classroom teacher in Toledo City Schools and within a few years accepted the position of educational technology trainer (ETT). As an ETT, his love for teaching and technology grew as he helped develop, teach, and facilitate the integration of technology in the classroom, providing individualized instruction to teachers and students as well as conducting district level technology workshops. In 2002, he moved to Columbus, Ohio, where he completed his M.A. in Technologies of Instruction and Media from The Ohio State University. That same year he accepted a position with a non-profit education technology agency in Ohio working with educators to share and build education technology practice in central Ohio. After 12 years of working through the agency inside and outside of schools, David felt the pull of the classroom again. Currently, he spends his days working as an Instructional Technology Coordinator of Junior High Schools in Pickerington Local Schools where he is part of a team working to implement the largest K-12 1:1 technology initiative in Ohio. David has presented at numerous state and regional conferences including being a keynote speaker at AMLE's Annual Conference. David is extremely proud and honored to be returning as a faculty member at this years Leadership Institute.

Gail was a teacher, assistant principal, and principal in the Ridley School District since 1972. In 2007, she moved to the central office as Director of Support Services. Her responsibilities included conducting the district induction program, submitting state report for the Pennsylvania Information Management System, overseeing child accounting and enrollment, coordinating student teacher assignments, supervising ELL, guidance, and nursing services, as well as managing the district website and cable TV.

Gail has been actively involved in both the state and national middle level associations. Currently as member of the Southeast Region Board for the Pennsylvania Association for Middle Level, she is an evaluator on the Schools to Watch State team. She has presented at AMLE (Association for Middle Level Education) national conferences. She is trained as a consultant for AMLE 's Middle Grades Assessment, is a member of their speaker's cadre, and has been on the faculty of the AMLE Institute for Middle Level Leadership since 2003. She is currently serving as the Director of the Institute. Gail has also presented at the Attendance and Child Accounting Association annual conference and the Pennsylvania Department of Education Data Summit.

Dru Tomlin is the principal of Heritage Middle School in Westerville, Ohio and is proud and passionate to serve his students, staff, and families every day. Dru was formerly the director of middle level services for the Association for Middle Level Education, and in that role, demonstrated a commitment to educational improvement and a passion for teaching, learning, and middle school. He began his work in the middle grades as a young adolescent at Lynnhaven Junior High School in Virginia Beach, trying to fit in with other kids while also playing tuba in the marching and concert bands. In 1994, Dru began his formal career in education as an English teacher at Harrisonburg High School in Virginia and then, in 1998, he discovered the joys of middle school in Georgia as a language arts, reading, and social studies teacher and then as a school administrator. He has also been a school system staff development trainer and a faculty member for AMLE's Leadership Institute, believing firmly in the power of professional learning. For his work, Dru has been recognized as a school system Teacher of the Year and as Georgia's Middle School Assistant Principal of the Year. He holds a Ph.D. in Teaching and Learning and a M.S. in Educational Leadership from Georgia State University, a B.A. in English/Secondary Education from James Madison University, and a Certificate of Perfect Attendance from Lynnhaven Junior High School.

Dr. Ann McCarty Perez is a passionate educator with over 20 years of experience working in schools to improve processes and outcomes. She has been a middle school teacher, principal, and central office administrator for curriculum, instruction, and assessment. She is well versed in state and federal programming and data driven decision making. In her various roles she has implemented curriculum reviews and writing activities, program and process reviews, MTSS and responsive instruction, student behavior modification plans and PBIS, coordinated projects to reduce truancy, increased student achievement and closed gaps, provided services for at-risk students, and collaborated with parents to create school community. Her experience includes a variety of settings to include urban, sub-urban, and rural schools.

As a presenter and facilitator, Dr. McCarty Perez has helped school leaders with vision and mission, master scheduling, equity and courageous leadership, implementation of MTSS, and using Professional Learning Communities to increase teacher capacity and improve instructional outcomes. As a school and district leader, she has demonstrated results of closing achievement gaps and improving outcomes for all students through continuous improvement efforts and strategic planning. In addition to her work in K-12 education, Dr. McCarty has been an adjunct professor at George Washington University where she worked with aspiring school leaders on supervision of instruction.

Barbara McCarty has worked as a middle school teacher for over 23 years. In her current position as a media specialist, Barbara is actively involved in the creation of an innovative makerspace, collaboration with teachers to engage students and enhance their skills through the use of technology as well as the design and implementation of community service and social emotional learning projects. Not only does she provide tech support and professional development for the staff in her school, but Barbara collaborates with a variety of educational professionals outside of her district and has recently presented at ISTE, New Jersey Association of School Librarians, and Pennsylvania Educational Technology Expo and Conference. In 2014, Mrs. McCarty was honored with the New Jersey Governor's Teacher Recognition award. In 2015, she was recognized as the New Jersey State Educator of the Year by the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of New Jersey. Most recently, in 2018 Axalta and the Philadelphia Eagles recognized Barbara as an All-Pro Teacher, an honor given to ten exceptional middle school or secondary school teachers specializing in STEM education in the tri-state area. Barbara is currently a student at New Jersey City University in the Doctorate of Educational Technology Leadership program.

Juan Rodriguez from Framingham, Massachusetts had been a Principal of elementary and Middle schools in urban and suburban schools for 27 years. Juan is currently working with a school district in Massachusetts redesigning one of the middle schools. He recently had worked as a reviewer of administrator's licensure for the State of Massachusetts and had served as an administrator's Mentor in a school district.

Juan has been a member of AMLE's Leadership Institute Faculty since 2006. Juan was the Massachusetts Middle School Principal of the Year in 2005. His middle school had been designated a Spotlight School, a Compass School and the top performing middle school for ELL learners. Juan completed the National Institute of School Leadership program (NISL) and has been a mentor of principals. He has presented at national and state conferences on ELLs, Leadership, School Safety and middle level organization.

Juan was the Coordinator of the Post Baccalaureate Teacher Licensure program at Framingham State University. He has been a member of the Massachusetts Secondary Schools Administrators Association Middle Level Committee and the Education Professional Standards Committee at FSU. Juan was recognized as a distinguished alumni and is currently serving as the President of Framingham State's Alumni Board of Directors.

Linda Hopping is a State Director of Georgia STW, part of the National Forum Schools to Watch Program. She most recently served as a USDOE I3 Grant School Coach in California for 8 years. She is a former middle grades teacher, state of Georgia middle school staff development coordinator, and as a middle school assistant principal and principal. While principal at Crabapple Middle School, she established two highly successful multiage teams. She was in charge of the Education Task Force for the 1996 summer Olympic Games, represented the United States at the International Olympic Academy in Olympia, Greece, and developed an Olympic Day in the Schools program. Ms. Hopping has served on the Board of Directors of NMSA as well as on the NMSA Foundation Board. She also served as President and Executive Director of the Georgia Middle School Association. She is one of two authors of the AMLE Toolkit Assessment and served as a lead consultant in that project. Ms. Hopping has received the Georgia Middle School Principal's Association John Lounsbury Award, is a three time recipient of the President's Award from the Georgia Middle School Association, and the original recipient of the National Forum's Distinguished Leadership Award.

Paul Dunford is the Director of Instruction for the Capital School District in Dover, Delaware where he is a part of the Teaching and Learning Team. He work is focused on leadership development and collaboratively building equitable systems to support a multi-tiered system of supports for K-12. He is currently working with a team to design and build two middle schools that will share a core facility built on a single campus. Paul was the Director of Middle School Initiatives in the Division for Leadership Development at the Maryland State Department of Education where he facilitated partnerships with professional organizations and districts to promote and support improved teaching and learning in middle grades across the state. His team responsibilities included lead for The Maryland Principals' Academy, The Aspiring Principals' Institute, and leadership development and The Academy for School Turnaround. He later served as the Chief of Performance and Technical Assistance in the Division of Special Education and Early Childhood Initiatives for Maryland. Mr Dunford was the Director of Cross-Divisional Initiatives and was responsible for leadership development through The Breakthrough Center, a Statewide System of Support. His work was with chronically low achieving middle and high schools, Turnaround Schools and their local school systems.

Dunford was the Instructional Director of Middle Schools for Frederick County Public Schools facilitating plans for system-wide middle school reform. He began his career in his home state of Massachusetts, then teaching in Athens, Greece. After teaching in the middle grades for 10 years (with a brief stint in high school for good measure) he served in administrative roles as middle school assistant principal, curriculum supervisor for Career and Technology Education and middle school principal. He partnered with the Maryland State Education Association (MSEA) through Quality Schools and was nationally recognized for his work. He was a Maryland Distinguished Principal Fellow serving in the Baltimore City Public School System. He was awarded the Washington Post Distinguished Educator Award, a PTA Life Membership and recognized nationally by the National PTA Outstanding Educator Program and was Maryland Technology Education Teacher of the Year.

Dunford has been an Independent Consultant to the Association of Middle Level Education and was an adjunct professor at The Graduate School of Educational Leadership at Hood College in Frederick, Maryland.

Christine H. Toth joined the Academy of the Sacred Heart as the Middle School Dean of Students in August 2015. The Academy of the Sacred Heart is a Catholic, independent, college preparatory school for girls offering education and instructional services from pre-k through grade 12. Little Hearts, the Early Learning Program for ages 1 through 3 year-old girls, is also a division of the school.

Christine holds a master's degree from the University of Southern Mississippi in Education and a Bachelor of Arts in Communications, with a Public Relations emphasis, from Loyola University New Orleans. Prior to joining Sacred Heart, Christine served as the Director of Student Programs at Tulane University where she had oversight and accountability for over 200 student organizations, student government, leadership programs, student media, and major campus programming. Prior to that, she was at the University of West Florida for eight years. Having worked in Student Affairs for over 11 years, she learned the importance of working with others, relationship building, and defining her leadership style. She believes that one of the most important functions of a Dean of Students is to build and maintain relationships with your constituents: students, administration, faculty, parents, and the community. She strives to inspire colleagues, peers, and the students she serves to realize their full potential.

Bryan Boykin is the principal of Williamsburg Middle School in Arlington VA and is a passionate educator who believes every child can succeed when given an opportunity. In 2003, he began his formal educational career as an elementary special education teacher, and in 2007 became a school counselor at the middle and high school levels. During this time, he had the opportunity to work with students from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds and served as a member of the school's equity teams to increase cultural awareness and eliminate opportunity gaps for academic success. In 2011, Bryan began his administrative career as an assistant principal at Williamsburg Middle School and later Carlin Springs Elementary. As an assistant principal, Mr. Boykin worked to implement professional learning communities and develop an RTI model to provide academic support. In 2013, Bryan was selected for the SCOPE Cohort through the University of Virginia Curry School of Education for emerging educational leaders in the state of Virginia. Mr. Boykin is a graduate of the University of South Carolina, holds a Master's degree in counseling, and an endorsement in educational administration.

Tracey Abercrombie is an Instructional Technology Specialist in Forsyth County, Georgia. After 21 years in the classroom, her passion for engaging students drove her to a career as a coach in technology integration. She serves on the Forsyth County instructional technology leadership team and has presented alongside district leaders at conferences including GAETC and GAMSP. She helps to organize and coordinate EdCamp Forsyth, the participant driven “unconference”. Tracey designed her school's personalized professional learning model that many across the district are using and finding successful. She believes schools should be working to prepare students to compete globally for careers in the future that don't exist today. Tracey feels that to be successful in this, we cannot simply use technology, but we must utilize it in a way that transforms our classrooms into a place of discovery. The classroom must be one that inspires high level questioning, creativity, collaboration, communication and critical thinking.

Dr. Ruthie Smith Stevenson is a leadership faculty member for the Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE). She has more than 49 years in education. She is currently an Associate Professor in the School of Education, Department of Teacher Education and Leadership at Mississippi College, in Clinton, Mississippi, where she has been selected Distinguished Professor for the School of Education four times. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, she coordinates the Doctor of Education Program in Educational Leadership.

Dr. Stevenson worked in the Jackson (MS) Public Schools for more than 20 years as a junior high school teacher and administrator. She served as an Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction and Federal Programs in the Canton Public Schools (MS). She was Executive Director of Middle School Programs in the East Baton Rouge Parish Schools (LA) prior to becoming a Senior Program Officer and Regional Director of Mid-South Middle Start for the Academy for Educational Development (AED).

She regularly serves as a leadership coach for principals in Mississippi elementary and middle schools. She has presented at numerous conferences and has worked with middle schools in Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, New York City, Washington, DC, and Ohio.

Among Dr. Stevenson's areas of interest are diversity and multiculturalism, adolescent suicide, and the relationship among schools, families, and the community. She believes that her areas of interest are connected, as they encompass understanding, acceptance, and respect. She enjoys reading, gardening, and spending time with her family and Beau, her Yorkie.

Dr. Cedrick Gray is formerly the proud lead teacher of the Jackson Public School District. He was appointed superintendent by the Jackson Public Schools Board of Trustees in 2012. He is widely praised for leadership and guidance that have revived the District and given it a new focus. He's known for an innovative and effective strategic direction process. Dr. Gray raised the graduation rate 10% in four years, increased proficiency on the third grade assessment by 9% in one year and reduced the number of schools labeled “F” by the state accountability rating system from 17 to 2 in two years. Additional achievements include:

  • Superintendent of the Year, National Association of School Superintendents, 2016
  • Superintendent of the Year, National Alliance of Black School Educators, 2015
  • Educator of the Year, Young Gifted and Empowered Awards, Savvy Life Magazine, 2016
  • Outstanding Administrator Advocate, Mississippi Association of Gifted Children, 2015

Dr. Gray's career has been guided by his vision to lead others to see the leader in themselves. He previously served as the superintendent of Fayette County Public Schools in Fayette County, Tennessee. Prior to becoming a superintendent, Dr. Gray was principal of Craigmont Middle School and Lester Pre-K-8 School, both in Memphis, Tennessee. Currently, he is formerly the Executive Director of Principal Supervisors for New Leaders – Southeast Region where he trained and coached school leaders in instructional leadership practices. Dr. Gray was recently appointed as Director of Education for Shelby County Government where he advises Mayor Lee Harris on policy and reform efforts related to education in Shelby County. Dr. Gray and his wife, Karen, are the proud parents of their daughter, Peyton.

Suzanne Caron has been teaching at the middle level in Maine for more than 25 years. Earning her undergraduate degree from the University of Maine at Farmington and her Master's in Education from Thomas College, she is currently working on her CAS in administration. At RSU#2 in Richmond, Maine she teaches 6th, 7th, and 8th grade math as well as integrated content seminars. She is also a team leader and is actively helping the staff to design and implement a strong advisory program. Sue is a member of the Board of Directors for the Maine Association for Middle Level Education and is pursuing opportunities to work with pre-service teachers across the state. For several years, Sue has been one of the chaperones for Alfond Youth and Community Center, American Heritage Tour. The American Heritage Tour is a week-long trip for 8th Graders. Students and chaperones explore historical sites throughout New York, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., Virginia, and Boston. Sue is returning to the Leadership Institute faculty this year.

Video Testimonials


Dru Tomlin talks with Matt Schottel and Jessica Garcia-Dominguez at the AMLE Leadership Institute.

Dru Tomlin talks with Courtney Bailey at the AMLE Leadership Institute.

Dru Tomlin talks with Danny Fracassi at the AMLE Leadership Institute.

Dru Tomlin talks with John Ferraro at the AMLE Leadership Institute.

Professional Learning Contact Hours

Contact hours are offered with your attendance at the Institute for Middle Level Leadership! A certificate for 19 contact hours will be emailed to you a few weeks after the event.

What is a Professional Learning Contact Hour?
In order to remain a certified middle level educator, it is critical to continue learning and growing through outstanding professional development opportunities—and to receive credit for those learning experiences. By participating in the Institute for Middle Level Education, you can earn Contact Hours to maintain your teaching and administration certification. Please check with your school system and/or state certification agency to make sure they accept contact hours from AMLE.

Graduate Credit

More information coming soon...

San Diego Hotel/Travel

San Diego Mission Bay Resort
1775 East Mission Bay Drive
San Diego, CA 92109
Reservations: (877) 313-6645 Hotel Direct: (619) 276-4010
Online Reservations

Special Hotel Rate: $222–$262
plus applicable taxes
(Room rate includes in room wireless internet, access to all recreational activities on property, 24 hour fitness center and tennis center)
Housing Deadline: May 21, 2020

Limited number of rooms—book early!


** Rooms are limited and available on a first-come first-serve basis. Rates are available 3 days pre and post event based on hotel availability.
***ALL ROOM RESERVATIONS MUST BE MADE IN THE NAME OF THE REGISTERED PARTICIPANT OR MAY BE SUBJECT TO CANCELLATION.

The institute is a perfect opportunity to bring the entire family!

The San Diego Mission Bay Resort offers a variety of options for the entire family to enjoy—from spa and pool activities to tennis and sailing, we have it all! Located just six miles from the San Diego International Airport, this San Diego hotel has 357 stylish guest rooms including eight spacious suites with private balconies. Enjoy waterfront dining at Acqua California Bistro, or sit by outdoor fire pits and sip cocktails during Happy Hour (4pm – 6pm) at The Olive Lounge. In the morning, stop by A'roma Cafe where freshly brewed coffee and snacks are available daily

Transportation

Late afternoons and evenings are yours to enjoy!
Plan how you’ll explore San Diego:

Orlando Hotel/Travel

Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld
6677 Sea Harbor Drive
Orlando, FL 32821
Reservations: 1-407-351-5555
Online Reservations

Special Hotel Rate: $176
plus applicable fees & taxes
(Room rates includes in-room internet, 50% discount on self-parking.)
Housing Deadline: June 19, 2020

Limited number of rooms—book early!


** Rooms are limited and available on a first-come first-serve basis. Rates are available 3 days pre and post event based on hotel availability.
***ALL ROOM RESERVATIONS MUST BE MADE IN THE NAME OF THE REGISTERED PARTICIPANT OR MAY BE SUBJECT TO CANCELLATION.

The institute is a perfect opportunity to bring the entire family!

Five restaurants, Starbucks, and an ice cream shop will please all palates. Pamper yourself in style at the full-service Neu Lotus Spa and enjoy a massage, facial, or scrub. Looking to explore Orlando like a local? Ask our friendly Navigator for tips about hidden gems and plan your next big adventure at Renaissance now.

Want to experience the Orlando area after sessions?

Airport Nearby

Orlando International Airport – MCO
Visit MCO airport website
Hotel direction: 13 miles W

This hotel does not provide shuttle service.

Help spread the word about the Institute for Middle Education. Let every educator know you will be there and you want them to attend too.

Twitter

@AMLE is the official twitter handle for the Association for Middle Level Education.

Sample Tweets

San Diego
Join me in San Diego, June 21-24, 2020, for the Institute for Middle Level Leadership, a collaborative learning event for middle school leadership teams #middleschool #AMLEleaders www.amle.org/leadership @AMLE

Attend the best event for #middleschool leaders in San Diego, June 21-24, 2020 www.amle.org/leadership #AMLEleaders @AMLE

Exceptional #middleschool leaders are meeting at the Institute for Middle Level Leadership in San Diego, June 21-24, 2020. www.amle.org/leadership #AMLEleaders @AMLE

I'm going to the @AMLE Institute for Middle Level Leadership in San Diego to be the best #middleschool educator I can be. www.amle.org/leadership @AMLE

Orlando
Join me in Orlando, July 12-15, 2020, for the Institute for Middle Level Leadership, a collaborative learning event for middle school leadership teams #middleschool #AMLEleaders www.amle.org/leadership @AMLE

Attend the best event for #middleschool leaders in Orlando, July 12-15, 2020 www.amle.org/leadership #AMLEleaders @AMLE

Exceptional #middleschool leaders are meeting at the Institute for Middle Level Leadership in San Diego, Orlando, July 12-15, 2020. www.amle.org/leadership #AMLEleaders @AMLE

I'm going to the @AMLE Institute for Middle Level Leadership in Orlando to be the best #middleschool educator I can be. www.amle.org/leadership @AMLE
 

Newsletter, Facebook, and Email

You can use the following description with an image from the section below.

Bring your middle school leadership team to an AMLE summer Institute for Middle Level Leadership where you will make a plan to improve your school and develop your leadership team in a collaborative, immersive experience. San Diego, CA, June 21-24, 2020 or Orlando, FL, July 12-15, 2020. www.amle.org/leadership

 

Images

The following are banner ads you may use on web pages, in blogs and social media, and in your email signature, to link to the Institute for Middle Level Leadership website, www.amle.org/leadership. To download an image, right click and choose "Save Link As ...".