Culture and Community

Explore AMLE’s most popular Culture and Community workshop topics, or create your own. Contact Katie Powell, AMLE Director for Middle Level Programs, at for more information or to schedule your engagement.

18 Characteristics of Successful Middle Schools

Explore the 18 Characteristics and the implications for classroom practice in this engaging, interactive session. You’ll leave with a conceptual understanding of how we can meet the developmental needs of our students as well as take-and-use strategies and ideas.

Advisory 101 and 201

Need help starting an advisory program from the ground up? Do you have an advisory program that needs a little work? We can help! Rather than prescribing a one-size-fits-all approach to advisory, we support your team with information, research, examples, and provocative questioning so you can make informed decisions to develop an advisory program that fits your needs. From duration and frequency to content and delivery, training of advisors, and troubleshooting, we can craft a supportive experience just for you.

A Middle Grades Primer

Do you find yourself working with middle schoolers but don’t have a background as an educator? You may be a mentor, run an after-school program, provide career education, or run a club. This session provides an overview of the nature of middle grades learners and strategies for building impactful relationships, planning engaging instruction, and navigating challenging behaviors.

House Systems

Organizational structures that foster belonging optimize positive relationships between students and students and teachers. This engaging workshop explores the transformative potential of implementing a House System within your middle school. Participants will delve into the benefits of fostering a sense of community, healthy competition, and cross-grade relationships. Gain practical insights on structuring and implementing a House System, promoting a positive school culture where every student feels connected and motivated to excel. Using case studies, we’ll share how to build a House system that works for your school, regardless of size.

Career Exploration

More than asking, “What do you want to be when you grow up,” career exploration is a discovery of passions, strengths, and potential. Leveraging the ASA and AMLE Career Exploration Playbook, and a collaboration with Canva, we’ll take a look at what’s possible, share a road map for success, and explore how to optimize programming for our pioneering thinkers! There are careers out there that don’t yet exist!

Creating a Middle School Culture and Climate Where Kids Belong and Become

Offering practical strategies to cultivate a positive and inclusive school environment, participants will explore innovative approaches to building strong connections, fostering a sense of belonging, and empowering students to flourish academically and personally. Join us for a dynamic blend of theory and application, ensuring that your middle school becomes a nurturing space where every student not only belongs but also thrives as they grow into their best selves.

Developmentally Responsive Discipline

One of the most common challenges for middle grades staff is discipline. We know relationships are essential in the middle school world, but how do we handle student behavior without damaging those relationships? How do we empower staff with real steps they can take to not just smooth over issues, but actually address them at their root? By starting with the lens of young adolescent development and growing our understanding of behavior and discipline from there, we’re able to de-mystify middle school behavior and empower teachers to take action that addresses these behaviors, strengthens relationships, and improves school culture.

Executive Functioning in the Classroom

Typically moving from a one-classroom homeroom in elementary school to five to seven classrooms a day, middle schoolers need to learn the skill of transitioning from one place and set of expectations to another very rapidly. Executive functioning skills are one of the top challenges for new middle schoolers. Utilizing proven mindfulness and habit-building techniques, we’ll share skills and strategies that teachers can use to support students who are building those new middle school muscles.

Family Engagement: Parent EDU

Research shows that student atten­dance, social skills, and behavior improve when parents/guardians are involved in their child’s education. If the extent to which schools nurture a relationship with families makes all the difference to a student’s success, how do we cultivate positive parent-school partnerships while setting high expectations and maintaining appropriate boundaries? Set up a Family Engagement plan to enhance your school’s educational outcomes and ensure the kids are alright.

Fostering a Positive Brain State for Learning

We may have planned a highly-engaging lesson that spans bell-to-bell with expert strategies, but if our students enter our classrooms emotionally escalated—or practically asleep—they’re not likely to learn much of anything. Leveraging educational neuroscience, we’ll equip teachers with practical steps they can take to foster a positive brain state for learning so students are ready to receive that expert instruction.

Interdisciplinary Teaming

The structure of interdisciplinary teaming is a hallmark of the middle school concept. That may mean looking at the master schedule and staffing needs, ensuring that students are grouped together with the same teachers and that those teachers have planning time together. However, developing a master schedule that affords common planning time for teams of teachers is just part of the story. Once teachers have that time together, what do they do with it? How can teaming create true learning communities within your school? We will work with you to meet you where you are and help you advance toward truly student-centered, productive interdisciplinary teams.

Student Motivation

Let’s face it—not every student shows up to class eager to learn. Sometimes we see far more compliance than engagement…and sometimes, we don’t even get that. When students aren’t eager to learn—or downright refuse to even start—it can feel out of our hands. But there’s hope! Learn some of the common root causes of motivation issues and practical steps you can take to start to shift the tide toward participation—and even true engagement.

Supporting SEL in the Classroom

SEL isn’t a curriculum or a lesson we teach once a week. It weaves in and out of every aspect of school. Learn ways to support SEL in the classroom in authentic, practical ways without sacrificing instructional time.

The Neuroscience of the Adolescent Brain

This engaging workshop delves into the latest neuroscience research, offering insights into how the adolescent brain learns and develops. Participants will gain practical strategies for creating brain-friendly learning environments, fostering emotional well-being, and optimizing teaching methods to align with cognitive development. Join us for a dynamic blend of theory and application, ensuring you’re equipped to nurture and maximize the potential of the developing minds in your middle school classrooms.

The New Post-Covid Adolescent

This workshop dives into the evolving educational landscape, offering practical strategies to meet the distinct challenges faced by students in the aftermath of the pandemic. Explore innovative approaches to address learning gaps, prioritize mental health, and reset expectations. Join us for a dynamic session that equips you to understand and cater to the nuanced needs of post-COVID learners, ensuring a resilient and adaptable educational experience for every student.

Young Adolescent Development

YAD is the heartbeat of middle school, the why behind what we do—and don’t do. However, many educators find themselves in middle grades positions without a strong background in young adolescent development, and sometimes our developmental responsiveness gets dulled under the weight of the countless decisions we make and obstacles we face in any given day. In this engaging session, we lay a foundational understanding of young adolescent development and explore the implications for teaching, classroom management and discipline, and school culture.