Why a Back to School Camp?

We get it. The challenges you’ve faced these past months have been immense and the burnout is real. You are almost to the end of the year, and we know you can do it!

As we think about next year, there are many unanswered questions. What we know is that it will not be normal. Some will return to a blended model of remote and in-person learning, some may even still be fully remote. Even when we are together in person again, we will still face many challenges including learning gaps, student trauma and social-emotional needs, staff wellness, and making up for lost transitions for incoming students.

But, perhaps, next year being different is a good thing too! We are a resilient and collaborative group armed with an opportunity to try new things and approach this school year with an innovative spirit and the wisdom we have gained. You do not have to do this alone. AMLE’s Leadership Faculty and the power of the middle school community are here to help. Join us for a one-of-a-kind online experience kicking off this July that will support your team as you reopen school and throughout the year.

Who should participate?

The Back to School Camp is ideal for middle school teams, including principals, assistant principals, teachers, counselors, technology coordinators, etc. Campers will have two “trails” to follow:

  • Adventure Trail: This trail will focus on building-wide planning, mapping your back to school strategy, how to engage parents in the process, assessment and grading policies, and addressing SEL and learning gaps for returning and new students
  • Discovery Trail: This trail will cover on-the-ground tactics, training and skill building, and resources to help school staff offer meaningful instruction and student support in a remote or hybrid learning model – as well as how to strategically employ technology even after COVID-19

What Will I Get Out of It?

The 2020 Back to School Camp is more than a talking head giving you content that may or may not apply to your school community. Instead, it is access to a cohort of colleagues and a build-your-own toolkit with a wealth of resources, including:

  • One-on-one planning time with your ‘Camp Guides’ (aka our amazing AMLE faculty) offering a diverse range of expertise, including grading and assessment, social and emotional learning, staff wellness, trauma-informed teaching, leadership training, and more;
  • Three full days of collaborative planning with the entire camp cohort, guided by faculty.
  • Three full days of training for teachers to help you adapt to a hybrid learning model and be prepared to offer meaningful instruction no matter your circumstances
  • Access to a library of take-home resources, including best practices, strategic planning exercises, and professional development content you can use with your team on your own schedule;
  • Inclusion in a continuing cohort of middle level educators that will support and check-in with each other
  • And a sneak peak into AMLE’s newly revised position paper, known over the years as This We Believe, on research-based best practices for successful middle schools.

You’ll also earn 20 contact hours to help you stay on track with your recertification requirements!

How It Works: Build your own Camp Experience!

So, as you can see, it is way more than a virtual conference; it’s a cohort of colleagues and mentors ready to support each other through the incredible challenge of going back to school this fall. Camp activities will run July 14 – July 16, and all full-camp sessions will be recorded in case you miss something.

Here’s what you can expect:

  1. Registration: Participants can sign up individually or as a school team. Registration opens June 1 and ends June 30. We encourage you to register early, space is limited and participants will be asked to complete a pre-assessment to hone in on your specific needs and goals for camp. While there is a registration fee to attend, we want this opportunity to be as accessible as possible. There are scholarships and flexible payment options available.
  2. Basecamp: Basecamp opens July 6th is your hub to plan your camp experience and where you’ll access all of the amazing resources available to campers:
    • Your Homebase team – a small cohort of campers guided by a faculty member who have a common school community or need that will touch base throughout camp.
    • The Quick Help Button – campers can submit less complex questions and get a faculty video response within 48 hours.
    • Fireside Chats – To dig into more complex challenges, sign up for one-on-one 30-minutes office hours sessions with a faculty member (appointments will be available July 8-24 and booked based on your schedule).
    • Camp Headquarters – Your resource center complete with shared planning resources from other campers, pre-assessments to baseline your school’s strategy, recorded video, take-away tools, and PD facilitation guides.
  3. The Trail Hike: July 16-18 we’ll come together for three days in a variety of choose-your-adventure virtual meet-ups that will all be recorded and available afterwards. The Hike will be comprised of two trails of sessions, one focused on administration and school planning, and one on teacher needs. Check out the current schedule, which is subject to change based on your input.
  4. Keep camping, at your own pace! Fireside chats with faculty and the quick help button will continue to be available through July 24. Many of our faculty also provide in-depth consulting if your school would like follow-up professional development (may be at an additional cost).
  5. Post-camp Bonfires: Just like summer camp, hopefully you have made lasting relationships with colleagues! We also know that the plans we develop will need to be tweaked and adjusted as we deal with constantly evolving circumstances. Let’s keep the conversation going with monthly virtual check-ins through December to in share what’s working well and identify ongoing challenges.
  6. Camp Out at #AMLE20: We’ll meet-up in person this November at #AMLE20 in National Harbor, MD for a special session with our amazing camp faculty where we can finally “camp out” in person! No worries for those unable to attend live, we’ll be streaming it to a computer near you. (Registration to #AMLE20 sold separately and not included in registration to the 2020 Back to School camp)