AMLE Awarded $100,000 Grant to Organize Stakeholders Around a New Vision for Middle Level Education

What is the future of middle level education? How can we elevate its importance? How can we better harness the innovative work happening right now in schools and districts and research institutions to improve the prospects and outcomes of all young adolescents through great teaching and learning, positive relationships, and expanded learning opportunities?

AMLE has embarked on a bold new initiative to rally a broad coalition of stakeholders nationally around a new vision and action agenda for young adolescents in the middle grades. We are delighted to share that the New York Life Foundation has generously awarded AMLE a $100,000 grant to support this effort.

AMLE remains steadfastly focused on the development and support of middle school educators and committed to the 16 characteristics outlined in This We Believe. However, we see our work amid a broad array of needs and activities to educate and develop young adolescents. Unfortunately, on the whole, middle level education has not been given the same degree of attention and investment as other areas of the education continuum. In recent years, early childhood education, early literacy, high school graduation, and college and career readiness have achieved greater prominence.

This lack of focus on middle level education has consequences for our country. Too many students are entering high school disengaged and behind academically. Again, compared to many other efforts preparing students for kindergarten or for college and career, there is far less programming around preparing students in the transitional middle grades to sustain gains from early education and prepare students for high school and beyond. And as a field we are not best leveraging the powerful recent research on adolescent development—cognitive, social-emotional, health—that can boost motivation and ensure long-term success of young adolescents with learning experiences tailor made for them.

Now is the time to change this. Now is the time to fully re-insert early adolescence and middle level education into the map on the road from early childhood and elementary school preparedness to high school graduation, post-secondary completion, and successful entry into the workforce, community, and civic life. We believe the collective power of a broad-based coalition is the best way to elevate the importance of our shared work.

For 2018, the New York Life Foundation-funded project enables AMLE to serve as a convener of prominent national researchers, policymakers, educators, and program providers to explore opportunities for collaboration, coordination, and potentially collective action in the area of young adolescents in the middle grades. The project has three main components.

  1. Create a map of activity and investment in young adolescents in the middle grades
    There are a number of literature and landscape reviews of research and core concepts in middle level education, some of which are offered by AMLE and its partners. But, there isn’t a full picture of activity and investment in the middle grades space: what individuals and organizations are doing and where, what impact they are trying to drive, and how much they are investing. This project will create a "map" of this activity and investment so funders and stakeholders can see what needs are being met, where there may be overlap, and what gaps exist. This would cut across research, policy and practice, in-school and out-of-school, urban, suburban and rural.

  2. Formalize stakeholder groups
    Ultimately, establishing a new vision and action agenda for young adolescents in the middle grades will rely on input from a large number of individuals and organizations with interest and expertise in middle grades education and early adolescent development. These stakeholders will also span policy, practice, and research circles, in school and out of school as well as urban, suburban, and rural. AMLE has already been organizing and facilitating an initial round of structured input sessions with more than 35 stakeholders to provide data, insight, and experience.

  3. Convene funders and stakeholders
    This project will assemble funders and stakeholders for a day-long convening to discuss the findings of the activity and investment map and come to consensus on key elements to focus on in the area of young adolescents in the middle grades. This event would serve as an important point of dialogue and organizing for the ultimate development of a new action agenda for the field.

We are still early in this initiative and it will take some time to fully gather stakeholder input and formulate a plan. We anticipate that this project will result in some momentum for collective action, seizing specific areas of opportunity many individuals and organizations across the field can work on together. If successful, we will then further engage with stakeholders on those areas of opportunity to collaboratively build out a detailed multi-year agenda for the field, which will include goals, activities, measures of success, and investments across research, policy, and practice.

AMLE is happy to engage with many stakeholders in this effort and we are grateful for the generous support of New York Life Foundation to advance this important work of collaboration. We are eager to share more of this initiative with our members throughout, and particularly at the AMLE Annual Conference in Orlando, October 25-27.

2017 AMLE Election Results

The results are in for the 2017 AMLE Election! We wish to congratulate the following individuals who were elected to serve on the AMLE Board of Trustees for the term of January 1, 2018 – December 31, 2020.

Todd Bloch
Seventh Grade Science Teacher
Warren Woods Middle School
Warren, MI

Todd Brist
Watertown Middle School
Watertown, SD

Lisa Harrison
Associate Professor of Middle Level Education
Ohio University
Athens, OH

Scott Woods
Urbana Middle School
Urbana, IL

New Editors Announced for Middle School Journal

AMLE welcomes three leading middle grades scholars as co-editors of refereed journal

August 18, 2017

COLUMBUS, OH —The Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE) is pleased to announce the selection of Lisa Harrison, PhD, Kathleen Brinegar, EdD, and Ellis Hurd, EdD as co-editors of Middle School Journal. A refereed journal, Middle School Journal, is an official publication and a Professional Membership benefit of AMLE. Published five times per year with publishing partner Taylor & Francis, the journal offers articles that promote quality middle level education and contribute to an understanding of the educational and developmental needs of youth between the ages of 10 and 15.

Dr. Lisa Harrison is an associate professor and middle childhood program coordinator in the Department of Teacher Education at Ohio University, Athens, Ohio. She earned a Bachelor of Science from Spelman College, a Master of Education degree from Pace University, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Middle School Education degree from the University of Georgia, Athens. Harrison is a member of the AMLE Professional Preparation Advisory Committee, serves on the editorial board of the Middle Grades Review, and has served on the executive council for the Middle-Level Education Research Special Interest Group of the American Educational Research Association.

Dr. Kathleen Brinegar is an associate professor and program director of middle and secondary education at Johnson State College/Northern Vermont University, Johnson, Vermont. She earned Bachelor of Arts, Master of Education, and Doctor of Education degrees from the University of Vermont, Burlington. She is a co-leader of the Cultural Responsiveness Working Group and editor of the Chronicle of Middle Level Education Research for the Middle-Level Education Special Interest Group of the American Educational Research Association. Brinegar also serves on the board of the Vermont Association for Middle Level Education.

Dr. Ellis Hurd is an associate professor at Illinois State University, Normal, Illinois. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Judson University, his Master of Education degree from National-Louis University, and his Doctor of Education degree from the University of Northern Iowa. He is a member of the Middle-Level Education Research Special Interest Group workgroup for the Research Agenda Project on Developing a 21st Century Middle Level Education Research Agenda and a faculty mentor in the Faculty Mentor Initiative. Hurd is also a member of the AMLE Program Review Board for the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).

AMLE Executive Director William Waidelich said, "We are thrilled to welcome these three highly respected leaders and scholars as our editorial team for Middle School Journal. This publication has a long history as an esteemed academic journal with a focus on research-based practices that help middle school students be successful in the middle grades, and we’re honored to have Lisa, Kathleen, and Ellis on board to continue that tradition."


About the Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE)
The Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE) helps middle grades educators reach every student, grow professionally, and create great schools. A non-profit membership organization, AMLE members include teachers, principals, counselors, professors, researchers, and others interested in the education of 10- to 15-year-olds.

Media Contact
April Tibbles | Chief Communications Officer | 800-528-6672 | 614-212-7808 |

Middle Grades Longitudinal Study of 2017-18 (MGLS:2017) Webinar

Are you passionate about middle grades education? Interested in an unprecedented new study designed to fill the gap in national data related to this critical developmental stage of adolescence?

Join representatives from the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics and RTI International for a webinar to learn more about the Middle Grades Longitudinal Study of 2017-18 (MGLS:2017), the first nationally representative longitudinal study of middle grades students.

MGLS:2017 data will provide a rich, descriptive picture of the experiences and lives of adolescents to help educators, researchers, and policymakers examine associations between contextual factors and student outcomes. Growth in math and reading, as well as family and school factors that encourage success during the middle grades years, will be the focus of MGLS:2017, which will provide evidence about the effectiveness of middle grades programs and practices.

Superintendents, principals, school leaders, teachers, and anyone with an interest in middle grades education are invited to learn more about this exciting study!

Two webinars will be offered, so choose the one that works for you and register now!

Wednesday, April 5 at 1:00pm

Wednesday, April 12 at 3:00pm

Greetings from the AMLE Foundation Fund Committee!

Greetings from the AMLE Foundation Fund Committee! Today is #Giving Tuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back, and we wish to ask for your support of middle level education through a donation to the AMLE Foundation Fund. Below are various ways your dollars make a difference.

Legacy Circle Nominees

Anyone may nominate a candidate for the Legacy Circle. Nominees are vetted by the Legacy Circle Committee and, once selected, can be inducted into the Legacy Circle when $5,000 has been donated to the Foundation Fund in honor or memory of the candidate. You may contribute to their induction to the Legacy Circle by making a donation in any amount in their honor to the AMLE Foundation Fund. There are presently three nominees, John Swaim, Sue Swaim, and Tom Erb.

Collegiate Middle Level Association Chapter Grant

One or more CMLA Chapter Grants are awarded each year to the CMLA chapters whose grant proposals are judged to be outstanding. This year Georgia College and State University, Milledgeville, Georgia, was awarded the grant.

Collaboration Mini-Grant and Distinguished Educator Award

The Foundation Fund awarded the Collaboration Mini-Grant to Coastal Middle School of Savannah, Georgia. Find out more about the Collaboration Mini-Grant Award. The proposal due date is April 15, 2017.

At the AMLE Annual Conference for Middle Level Education in Austin, Texas, the Distinguished Educator Award was presented to Randy Jensen, principal of William Thomas Middle School, American Falls, Idaho. The award was recently renamed the AMLE Educator of the Year, and the due date for applications is April 28, 2017.

AMLE Foundation Fund Booth in Austin

Foundation Fund members met many AMLE members who care a lot about helping young adolescents at the Foundation Booth October 9-12, 2016 in Austin, Texas. This year winners had their choice of the available prizes and seemed very pleased with this arrangement.

To Honor Middle Level Educators and Support the Work of the Foundation

Contributions to the Foundation Fund may be made in any amount and may be designated in honor or memory of an individual, though this is not required. All donors will be recognized in the 2017 Annual Conference Program in Philadelphia. Several levels of giving have been designated by the Foundation:

Founders Club: $5,000
Platinum Friend: $2,500–$4,999
Gold Friend: $1,000–$2,499
Silver Friend: $500–$999
Bronze Friend: $250–$499
Friend: $100–$249

Make your tax-deductible gift in any of three ways:

  • Donate online.
  • Mail a check to AMLE Foundation, 4151 Executive Parkway, Suite 300, Westerville, OH 43081.
  • Call AMLE at 800-528-6672.

Important: However you choose to contribute, be sure to note your donation is for the AMLE Foundation Fund and include the names of honorees, if any. Thank you for your generosity.

More information about the AMLE Foundation Fund

2016 AMLE Election Results

The results are in for the 2016 AMLE Election. First, the constitutional amendment passed with an 87% yes vote. Changes to the AMLE Constitution require a 2/3 vote of the members voting. The amendment includes a reduction in the number of trustees from 18 to 12, and changes in the process by which trustees are elected.

Congratulations to the following candidates who were elected to the AMLE Board. Their terms of office will commence on July 1, 2016.


Nancy Ruppert
Swannanoa, NC
South Region Trustee

Michelle Owens Hayward
Fayetteville, AR
West Region Trustee

Gail Anderson
Canby, OR
East Region Trustee

James Barnes
Sewell, NJ
Trustee to Represent Teachers, North and West Regions

Christine Thielen
Chicago, IL
Remembering Tom Erb

Remembering Tom Erb

AMLE is deeply saddened by the loss of our friend and colleague, Dr. Thomas "Tom" O. Erb. Tom passed on November 27 after a brief illness. Tom devoted his career to middle level education, focusing particularly on teacher preparation, curriculum, and interdisciplinary teaming. He was a scholar, professor, author, researcher, and a passionate advocate for the middle school philosophy. After serving as a middle school teacher in the US and abroad early in his career, Tom became a faculty member at the University of Kansas (KU), Lawrence, where he taught middle level courses, directed middle grades teacher preparation programs, and served as chair of the department of curriculum and instruction. Tom retired from the university in 2005 and was awarded the title of Professor Emeritus of Teaching and Leadership. After retirement from KU, Tom received two distinguished visiting professorships from DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, also where he earned his undergraduate degree.

Tom was instrumental in the formation of the Kansas Association for Middle Level Education (KAMLE), having also founded their journal. In 1993, he received a Kamelot Award for Outstanding Contributions to Middle Level Education and was honored with the association's establishment of the Thomas O. Erb Award for Excellence in Teaming. Tom worked with teachers in more than 90 school districts in 23 different states, and for six years he ran an institute at KU where he would invite school districts to send teams of teachers and administrators to the university in the summer for a week of learning and planning.

Tom was dedicated to and deeply engaged in the work of the Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE). As editor of AMLE's flagship publication, Middle School Journal, from 1994 to 2009, he was the longest to have served in this important role. In 2009, Tom was awarded the John H. Lounsbury Award for Distinguished Service, the highest award given by the Association for Middle Level Education. Throughout his career he authored and co-authored more than 90 publications including several AMLE books. He served as an AMLE Board of Trustees member in the mid-1980s and was a member and chair of many committees, including, most recently, member of the AMLE Foundation Fund.

Tom was a world traveler and adventurer. He and his wife Karen not only raised four children, but traveled, studied, and taught around the world in places such as Germany, England, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Brazil, Mozambique, South Africa, Nigeria, Zaire, Malawi, and Kenya.

Tom's spirit lives on with the many friends he made at AMLE over the years. He will be greatly missed.

The family has suggested that donations be made to the AMLE Foundation Fund in honor of Tom.

New Partnership Gets You Even More

AMLE is proud to announce a new publishing partnership! Beginning with the 2016 volume, Taylor & Francis will publish and distribute your two highly regarded professional journals from AMLE, Middle School Journal and Research in Middle Level Education Online. What does this mean for you? With your member login, you can

  • View and download every back issue of Middle School Journal from 1970 to the current issue.
  • Soon view and download all issues of AMLE’s research publication from 1977 to present.

Visit or

This partnership also gives you access to two additional publications: The Clearing House and Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy, and Practice. Access these journals today using your member login.

Press Release: Routledge Now Publishing AMLE Journals

AMLE Membership Hits Record High

In June 2015, the Association for Middle Level Education membership reached a record high of more than 40,000 middle grades educators, a 42% increase in the past two years.

"Reaching this milestone is a clear indicator of the value educators place on the opportunity to bond and share as a community of professionals who expect only the best for our students," said Will Waidelich, AMLE executive director.

"AMLE members are advocates for developing learning experiences based on awareness of and respect for the unique needs of this age group," said Kathleen McCaffrey, AMLE president. "Every new member that joins this organization makes our collective voice stronger."

Recently expanded member benefits and services have increased the association’s reach to more educators dedicated to making a difference in the lives of students in grades 5-8. "With a new and mobile-friendly website, the launch of AMLE Magazine in print and tablet editions, a redesign and increased frequency of AMLE Newsletter, and the development of a webinar series (complementary to all members), we are offering more of what our members need, and the experience is customizable," said Derek Neal, AMLE director of membership and IT.

A dual membership, offered in partnership with many of our state organizations, brings even more value and resources by providing members with full benefits to both the state organization and AMLE for a reduced rate.

Founded in 1973, the Association for Middle Level Education is the leading international organization advancing the education of all students ages 10 to 15, helping them succeed as learners and make positive contributions to their communities and to the world. AMLE is committed to helping middle grades educators reach every student, grow professionally, and create great schools.

2015 AMLE Election Results

The results are in for the 2015 AMLE Election. First, the constitutional amendment passed to change the term of office for newly elected trustees to commence on July 1 in the year of their election.

And, we extend our congratulations to the following candidates who were elected to the AMLE Board starting July 1, 2015:


Pam Millikan
Franklin, IN
North Region Trustee

Steve Norlin-Weaver
Minneapolis, MN
South Region Trustee

Gayle Andrews
Athens, GA
Trustee to Represent Diverse Cultures

Reginald O. Davenport
Plainfield, NJ
East Region Trustee

Ken Nicely
Roanoke, VA
West Region Trustee

Lauren K. Jones
Denver, CO