Energize Your Middle Level Leadership

March 9–10, 2017
Iowa City, Iowa

Creating a high performing middle grades school is a marathon, not a sprint. Join AMLE and our hosts, ACT, in Iowa City as we coach you towards achieving your unique vision and long-term goals.

What You Can Expect

More than 12 essential leadership discussion topics including:

  • Student-Led Conferences
  • Courageous Leadership
  • Behavior Management for Leaders
  • Effective Transitions to and from the Middle Level
  • Culturally Responsive Schools
  • Motivating, and Leading Young Adolescents
  • Interdisciplinary Lessons and Team Planning
  • Making Advisory and Advocacy Work
  • Developing Teacher Leaders
  • RTI and MTSS
  • The 16 Characteristics of an Effective Middle School
  • Using Data & School Improvement Tools for Turnaround
    And much more!

Workshop Format

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

General session: During this engaging, whole-group session, 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.

Breakout sessions: You’ll get a variety of content from AMLE middle level experts in these interactive, solution-rich sessions.

Job-Alike session: You’ll meet and collaborate with attendees that share your job/role—to share similar triumphs, challenges, and solutions.

Synergy session: During this whole-group session, we’ll reflect and plot strategic goals for the road ahead.

Open Space sessions: Bring your critical issues and concerns, and then create sessions you need! Build the conference you want within the workshop, and get the answers you need to improve your school!

Show & Spark Best Practices Sharing session: During this session, you’ll have the chance to shine a spotlight on the great ideas, programs, and initiatives at your school!

Workshop Schedule

Thursday, March 9, 2017  
Registration 7:00 a.m.–8:00 a.m.
General Session (60 min)
8:00 a.m.–9:00 a.m.
Breakout Session 1 (65 min) 9:10 a.m.–10:15 a.m.
Breakout Session 2 (65 min) 10:25 a.m.–11:30 a.m.
Lunch (included) 11:40 a.m.–12:40 p.m.
Breakout Session 3 (65 min) 12:50 p.m.–1:55 p.m.
Job Alike Sessions (50 min) 2:05 p.m.–2:55 p.m.
Synergy Sessions (50 min) 3:05 p.m.–3:55 p.m.
Friday, March 10, 2017  
Breakout Session 4 (65 min) 8:00 a.m.–9:05 a.m.
Breakout Session 5 (65 min) 9:15 a.m.–10:20 a.m.
Open Space Activity (20 min) 10:30 a.m.–10:50 a.m.
Open Space Session 1 (30 min) 11:00 a.m.–11:30 a.m.
Open Space Session 2 (30 min) 11:40 a.m.–12:10 p.m.
Lunch 12:20 p.m.–1:20 p.m.
Show & Spark Best Practices Sharing Session
(50 min)
1:30 p.m.–2:20 p.m.
Breakout Session 6 (65 min)
2:30 p.m.–3:35 p.m.
Closing and Adjournment (15 min) 3:45 p.m.–4:00 p.m.

Breakout Sessions

Breakout Session 1
Thursday, March 9, 2017, 9:10 a.m.–10:15 a.m.

BOOST Towards Success - RTI2 Intervention
Marlena Gross-Taylor
In this session you will learn to leverage Response to Intervention (RTI2) best practices to provide specific support to students by addressing their individual learning gaps, promoting positive academic growth, and ultimately achieving gap closures.

This We Believe Connections

  • Varied and ongoing assessments advance learning as well as measure it.
  • Educators use multiple learning and teaching approaches.
  • Every student's academic and personal development is guided by an adult advocate.
  • Organizational structures foster purposeful learning and meaningful relationships.

Learning Objectives

  • Explore positive connotations to intervention support that encourage adolescent participation to maximize impact of intervention.
  • Discuss best practices for building teacher leadership capacity.
  • Examine flexible scheduling options to organically incorporate intervention sessions and embed teacher professional development.

Using Data for Sustainable School Improvement
*this session will be repeated on Friday
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.

This We Believe Connections

  • Varied and ongoing assessments advance learning as well as measure it.
  • A shared vision developed by all stakeholders guides every decision.
  • Leaders demonstrate courage and collaboration.

Learning Objectives

  • Examine how data influences faculty and school improvement efforts.
  • Learn about evidence-based practices for turning around any middle level school.
  • Consider specific tools to support the improvement of any middle grades school.

The Road Less Traveled: Behavior Management that Engages Middle Level Learners
Cedrick Gray
If you spend 99% of your time with 1% of the students because of their poor behavior or bad choices, this session is for your leadership team and you. Participants in this session will explore proven ways to reverse the trend of the minimum amount of students demanding the maximum of your time. You will be equipped with strategies to empower your students to make better choices.

This We Believe Connections

  • Leaders demonstrate courage and collaboration.
  • The school environment is inviting, safe, inclusive, and supportive of all.
  • High expectations are set for every member of the learning community (TWB Essential Attribute).
  • Ongoing professional development reflects best educational practices.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the importance of building professional relationships.
  • Provide a step-by-step process for improving culture and climate.
  • Provide time and facilitation for teams to begin to develop their plan.

Breakout Session 2
Thursday, March 9, 2017, 10:25 a.m.–11:30 a.m.

What's Your #Hashtag?
Marlena Gross-Taylor
Learn how to leverage social media tools to increase student engagement in classrooms, develop global perspective in students, and personalize teacher professional development.

This We Believe Connections

  • Students and teachers are engaged in active, purposeful learning.
  • Leaders demonstrate courage and collaboration.
  • Ongoing professional development reflects best educational practices.

Learning Objectives

  • Explore social media tools and resources to promote student engagement and expand student perspective.
  • Discuss best practices to develop, sustain, and personalize teacher professional development.

Engaging, Motivating, and Leading Young Adolescents
Dru Tomlin
Students in the middle grades need learning atmospheres that respond to their unique needs. But what exactly does a classroom built for young adolescent achievement look like, sound like, and feel like? And how does this affect administrative walk-throughs, observations, and professional development? This session will look at best instructional practices in the middle grades and how middle level leaders can support their teachers as they implement them.

This We Believe Connections

  • Educators value young adolescents and are prepared to teach them.
  • Students and teachers are engaged in active, purposeful learning.
  • Educators use multiple learning and teaching approaches.
  • Varied and ongoing assessments advance learning as well as measure it.

Learning Objectives

  • Examine the characteristics of young adolescents and how effective schools respond to them.
  • Explore the instructional components that best meet the unique needs of young adolescents.
  • Discuss the leadership tools necessary to support teachers and staff in this critical work.

What Every Superintendent Wants Middle Level School Leaders to Know (and be able to do)
Cedrick Gray
In this intellectually engaging session, participants will get a peek inside the mind of a school superintendent and what the superintendent wants potential school leaders to know, understand, and be able to do. If you have ever wanted to know, but were afraid to ask, this session will review the five characteristics that every high performing school leader has. These characteristics not only help improve the performance of the building level leader but solidify the relationship between superintendent and principal.

This We Believe Connections

  • Leaders demonstrate courage and collaboration.
  • The school environment is inviting, safe, inclusive, and supportive of all.
  • High expectations are set for every member of the learning community (TWB Essential Attribute).
  • Ongoing professional development reflects best educational practices.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the importance of building professional relationships.
  • Provide a step-by-step process for improving culture and climate.
  • Provide time and facilitation for teams to begin to develop their plan.

Breakout Session 3
Thursday, March 9, 2017, 12:50 p.m.–1:55 p.m.

Culturally Responsive Schools
*this session will be repeated on Friday
Marlena Gross-Taylor
Deepen your understanding of and commitment to culturally responsive practices in order to foster diverse educational experiences in your school and develop an intentionally inclusive community that incorporates multicultural perspectives.

This We Believe Connections

  • Curriculum is challenging, exploratory, integrative, and relevant.
  • Leaders are committed to and knowledgeable about this age group, educational research, and best practices.
  • Leaders demonstrate courage and collaboration.
  • The school environment is inviting, safe, inclusive, and supportive of all.

Learning Objectives

  • Leverage cultural capital to increase relevance and rigor of curriculum.
  • Explore strategies for establishing caring relationships with a diverse student population.
  • Differentiate between equity and equality in preparing students to be future ready.

Making Effective Transitions Happen to and from the Middle Level
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.

This We Believe Connections

  • A shared vision developed by all stakeholders guides every decision.
  • Leaders demonstrate courage and collaboration.
  • Leaders are committed to and knowledgeable about this age group, educational research, and best practices.
  • Organizational structures foster purposeful learning and meaningful relationships.

Learning Objectives

  • Identify the stakeholders in the transition process, determine their concerns, develop strategies to address those concerns.
  • Explore strategies to strengthen relationships and ease the anxiety for students in grade-level transition and the families who love them.
  • Take away a "blueprint" to create your own "transition camp" for incoming middle grades students.

Raise Student Academic Performance by Having a Fit
Cedrick Gray
Professional learning communities (PLCs) drive our work in student achievement. Are yours working? This session will make you have a FIT about student achievement and develop a process—with strategies—to ramp up and revive the traditional PLC.

This We Believe Connections

  • Educators use multiple teaching and learning approaches.
  • Curriculum is challenging, exploratory, integrative, and relevant.
  • Students and teachers are engaged in active, purposeful, learning.
  • Varied and ongoing assessments advance learning as well as measure it.

Learning Objectives

  • Explore multiple approaches for using data to improve student learning and measure achievement.
  • Learn about varied and ongoing assessments that measure and advance learning.

Breakout Session 4
Friday, March 10, 2017, 8:00 a.m.–9:05 a.m.

Conferencing 2.0: Student-Led Conferences
Marlena Gross-Taylor
Want a full parking lot and an overflowing building for parent-teacher conferences? Join this session to learn how student-led conferences can fill your middle school building by allowing students to take the lead in sharing their progress and goals with their parents.

This We Believe Connections

  • The school actively involves families in the education of their children.
  • Educators use multiple learning and teaching approaches.
  • Varied and ongoing assessments advance learning as well as measure it.
  • Organizational structures foster purposeful learning and meaningful relationships.

Learning Objectives

  • Explore the benefits of students taking ownership of their academic and behavioral choices.
  • Learn how to leverage PLCs to encourage parents and students to have open communication about school.
  • Discuss how teachers are able to develop a stronger working relationship with families.

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. This session will look at ways we can support and encourage a growth mindset throughout our middle schools—for students, teachers, staff, and ourselves.

This We Believe Connections

  • Educators value young adolescents and are prepared to teach them.
  • Leaders are committed to and knowledgeable about this age group, educational research, and best practices.
  • Ongoing professional development reflects best educational practices.
  • The school environment is inviting, safe, inclusive, and supportive of all.

Learning Objectives

  • Define growth and fixed mindsets and how they affect our school culture and climate.
  • Examine ways to foster growth mindset in our students at the classroom and school-wide levels.
  • Discuss strategies for promoting growth and learning for our faculty and staff.

Developing Teacher Leaders
Cedrick Gray
Teacher leaders with competencies such as the ability to use evidence and data in decision making, mobilizing people around a common purpose, marshaling resources, taking action, and contributing to realizing the vision of a middle level school are critical to successful middle level schools. This session examines the benefits of identifying and nurturing teacher leaders and their role in helping schools collaboratively meet today's achievement challenges.

This We Believe Connections

  • Leaders are committed to and knowledgeable about this age group, educational research, and best practices.
  • Ongoing professional development reflects best educational practices.
  • Organizational structures foster purposeful learning and meaningful relationships.

Learning Objectives

  • Explore the skills and characteristics of successful middle level teacher leaders.
  • Develop action plans to identify, train, develop, and utilize the unique talents of teacher leaders.
  • Learn how to create opportunities for developing teacher leaders, while ensuring effective relationships between teacher leaders and school leadership.

Breakout Session 5
Friday, March 10, 2017, 9:15 a.m.–10:20 a.m.

Branding Like a Start-Up
Marlena Gross-Taylor
The start-up model thrives on high energy, innovative ideas, and intentional marketing. This session will guide you as a leader in branding your school with a start-up mentality to create excitement, celebrate the creativity of students, and promote family and community involvement. Principals are the lead storytellers of their schools and must become adept in leveraging digital resources to share the amazing accomplishments of their school.

This We Believe Connections

  • Leaders demonstrate courage and collaboration.
  • The school environment is inviting, safe, inclusive, and supportive of all.
  • The school actively involves families in the education of their children.

Learning Objectives

  • Leverage the start-up concepts needed to craft your school's story and create excitement within the community.
  • Explore actionable steps for building school brand to increase student and family engagement.

Using Data for Sustainable School Improvement
*this is a repeated session from Thursday
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.

This We Believe Connections

  • Varied and ongoing assessments advance learning as well as measure it.
  • A shared vision developed by all stakeholders guides every decision.
  • Leaders demonstrate courage and collaboration.

Learning Objectives

  • Examine how data influences faculty and school improvement efforts.
  • Learn about evidence-based practices for turning around any middle level school.
  • Consider specific tools to support the improvement of any middle grades school.

Teaming at the Next Level
Cedrick Gray
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 them to the next level, where they look closely at data on a regular basis, coordinate and integrate their curriculum, engage in their own professional development, and even step out of the box to develop innovative teaming structures that extend beyond the norm.

This We Believe Connections

  • Educators value young adolescents and are prepared to teach them.
  • Leaders are committed to and knowledgeable about this age group, educational research, and best practices.
  • Organizational structures foster purposeful learning and meaningful relationships.
  • The school environment is inviting, safe, inclusive, and supportive of all.

Learning Objectives

  • Share organizational structures that foster purposeful learning and meaningful relationships in the middle grades.
  • Learn how to take teaming beyond a structure to a tool for taking your school to the next level.

Breakout Session 6
Friday, March 10, 2017, 2:30 p.m.–3:35 p.m.

Culturally Responsive Schools
*this is a repeated session from Thursday
Marlena Gross-Taylor
Deepen your understanding of and commitment to culturally responsive practices in order to foster diverse educational experiences in your school and develop an intentionally inclusive community that incorporates multicultural perspectives.

This We Believe Connections

  • Curriculum is challenging, exploratory, integrative, and relevant.
  • Leaders are committed to and knowledgeable about this age group, educational research, and best practices.
  • Leaders demonstrate courage and collaboration.
  • The school environment is inviting, safe, inclusive, and supportive of all.

Learning Objectives

  • Leverage cultural capital to increase relevance and rigor of curriculum.
  • Explore strategies for establishing caring relationships with a diverse student population.
  • Differentiate between equity and equality in preparing students to be future ready.

Strengthening Relationships through Advisory
Dru Tomlin
In This We Believe, advisory is a critical ingredient in the recipe of an effective middle school, but cooking it up is challenging! All young adolescent students need advisors and mentors as role models. Advisory is not a scheduled time or event but must be interwoven into the curriculum and daily operation of a middle grades school. Life skills and lifelong guidelines can become "the way we do business" in today's middle grades schools. Examine what, when, where, and how to make advisory work to improve the lives of young adolescents and share questions, experiences, and success stories of advisory programs.

This We Believe Connections

  • Organizational structures foster purposeful learning and meaningful relationships.
  • The school environment is inviting, safe, inclusive, and supportive of all.
  • Every student's academic and personal development is guided by an adult advocate.
  • Health and wellness are supported in curricula, school-wide programs, and related policies.

Learning Objectives

  • Discover how the affective domain and student advisory and advocacy can fit into the standards-based classroom.
  • Determine what effective middle schools must do to ensure successful advisory programs.

Faciliators


 
Cedrick Gray
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. More...
 

 
Marlena Gross-Taylor
Educational Leader. Questioner. Writer. Speaker. Marlena Gross-Taylor is a dedicated and successful K-12 administrator with proven track record of improving educational and operational performance through vision, strategic planning, leadership, and team building. More...
 
Dru Tomlin
As the Director of Middle Level Services for the Association of Middle Level Education, Dru Tomlin, Ph.D. has a commitment to educational improvement and a passion for teaching, learning, and middle school. More...

As the Director of Middle Level Services for the Association of Middle Level Education, Dru Tomlin, Ph.D. has a commitment to educational improvement and a passion for teaching, learning, and middle school. In 1994, Dru began his 18 year 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 and a B.A. in English/Secondary Education from James Madison University.

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: "Wearing WIGs (Wildly Important Goals), having FITs (Focused Instructional Teams), and saying ABCs (Attendance, Behavior, Coursework)," which applies a research-based focus to school improvement and student achievement. Since being appointed superintendent by the Jackson Public Schools Board of Trustees in 2012, Dr. Gray has been acclaimed as an innovator, motivator, risk taker, outside-of-the-box thinker, and true educational visionary. His recent achievements include the following:

  • 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 embody breakthrough leadership by inspiring 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 the Director of Aspiring Principals for New Leaders – Southeast Region. Dr. Gray and his wife, Karen, are the proud parents of their daughter, Peyton.

Educational Leader. Questioner. Writer. Speaker. Marlena Gross-Taylor is a dedicated and successful K-12 administrator with proven track record of improving educational and operational performance through vision, strategic planning, leadership and team building. She is also an educational consultant and founder of #principalroundtable which she created to further support educational leaders. A Nashville transplant originally from southern Louisiana, Marlena’s educational experience spans several states allowing her to have served K-12 students in both rural and urban districts. She has been recognized as a middle school master teacher and served as an administrator at the elementary, middle and high school levels. Because of her sound knowledge of both elementary and secondary education, Marlena has broad-based experience creating and implementing dynamic interactive programs to attain district goals while leveraging her flexibility, resourcefulness, organizational and interpersonal skills to foster learning through a positive, encouraging environment. Marlena's professional development expertise has garnered both state and national attention most recently serving as a Summer Leadership Institute Faculty Member of the Association of Middle Level Educators (AMLE). As a proud Louisiana State University alumni, she is committed to excellence and believes all students can achieve.

Professional Learning Contact Hours

Contact hours are now offered with your attendance at the Energize Your Middle Level Leadership workshop! A certificate for 11.5 contact hours will be emailed to you a few weeks after the event.

Location/Housing

All events will be held at:

ACT, Inc. Headquarters
500 ACT Drive
Iowa City, Iowa 52243

Housing:

Coralville Marriott Hotel
300 East 9th St.
Coralville, IA 52241

To make reservations, call 319-686-4000 and mention the AMLE Workshop to receive this rate.

Rate: $103.00 per night special AMLE rate
** Rooms are limited and on a first come first serve basis

  • Hotel room rate deadline: February 15, 2017

Registration

Included in registration:

  • Earn 11.5 professional learning contact hours
  • In-depth training for middle grades leadership
  • All presentations and course materials
  • Two lunches
  • Copy of This We Believe: Keys to Educating Young Adolescents
  • Chance to win a free registration for AMLE2017, the 44th Annual Conference for Middle Level Education in Philadelphia, PA, November 6-8, 2017.
Attendee Registration Rates
AMLE Professional Member
$200 (U.S) 
Non-Member & Associate Member
$250 (U.S.)
All non-members receive a one-year Complimentary Individual Professional Membership.

 
Register Online

Download Registration Form

-cancellation policy-

Cancellations

Cancellations must be made in writing and received a week before the event date. AMLE cannot be responsible for cancellations that are made by phone. A $35 (U.S.) processing fee is assessed for all cancellations. No refunds will be issued after the registration deadline, a week before the event date.

Registration fees include all presentations, course materials, and lunch each day of the event. Attendees are responsible for accommodations, transportation. Registrations must be received a week before the event date.

Within 14 days of your registration, AMLE will send you a confirmation email. Registrations received after the registration deadline may be returned, and you may be asked to register on-site at the on-site registration rate.