2020 Middle Level Conference

Friday, January 31, 2020 – Saturday, February 1, 2020

Eberhard Center
301 Fulton St W, Grand Rapids, MI 49504


Member Principals: $225
Member Assistant Principals/Teacher Leader: $175
Non-Member Principal: $270
Non-Member Assistant Principal/Teacher Leader: $210
(includes 3 meals)

Cancellations received after January 15 will be charged a 50% cancellation fee.


Participants may earn up to 9 SCECHs for this event.



Holiday Inn Grand Rapids Downtown

Go to www.ihg.com
Promotional code: MEM
Reservations can be made by calling (616) 235-1995 and mention MEMSPA


Room block is $141/night

Contact Taryn Hurley


Strong Core. Strong Middle: Healthy Living at the Middle Level
Recentering, Recalibrating, Refocusing  

Back by popular demand, Kim Campbell will join us Friday evening as our opening keynote and Adam Welcome will be our Saturday afternoon closer!  Great bookends to sessions led by Middle Level Leaders who will lead multiple breakout sessions to choose from.  Come learn, participate, and network with other middle level leaders.


Friday, January 31 | 6:00pm – 9:00pm

Keynote Presentation with Kim Campbell

Lead to Succeed and Laugh in the Process
Leading a middle school can be challenging, rewarding and for sure, interesting. Join me as we discuss ways to successfully lead a middle school and love every minute of it. Let’s brainstorm, laugh and have fun together.

Kim Campbell crosses the continent energizing educational professionals as a dynamic presenter and self-proclaimed “Proud Middle School Teacher.” Building on the lessons learned and techniques developed as a middle level social studies teacher since 1991, Kim is in national demand as a keynote speaker, workshop facilitator and consultant for the Association of Middle Level Educators, Staff Development for Educators, and the Jack Berckemeyer Consulting Group.

Kim is the co-author of SOAR: A Handbook for Closing the Achievement Gap, a guide for replicating the success of her revolutionary after-school program for disadvantaged students, and author of If You Can’t Manage Them, You Can’t Teach Them. She is in the process of completing her third book.

Saturday, February 1 | 8:45am – 10:00am

Breakout Sessions (Choose 1 of 5)

The Hard Work of Engagement – What is Possible and What is At Stake
Tim Hejnal, Ed.D., Administrator & Educational Consultant – Lake City Area Schools
When you join a learning experience, what does real engagement look like and how can you accurately assess what is going on between learners and practitioners? Do you set an expectation as a leader of learning, and do you model ways to engage team members and learners in your practice? Join us for some candid discussion about the real challenges we are facing in schools – and what it takes to get the best from our practitioners and learners.
Restorative Justice: What is it and How does it work?
Kim Campbell, Proud Middle School Teacher/AMLE Consultant/SOAR Coordinator/Dean of Students
Hopkins School District
Research shows that suspending students does NOT change behavior, but rather increases the chances of students dropping out of school and having a direct correlation to the school to prison pipeline.  Join me as we discuss new strategies and new ways to address behavior that uses restorative justice practices and educating students rather than relying strictly on punishment and consequences.   Participants will leave the session with several ideas being implemented in my school in which we are finding tremendous success.




#LeadPositive: Education Leadership Turned into Positive Action
Dr. Shanna Spickard, Principal at Milan Middle School
A career in education is not easy but can be exhilarating and fulfilling when you find positivity. The goal of this session is to support others (beginning and experienced leaders alike) to lead positively through a series of 12 actions. Leading with a positive lens cannot only keep leaders in the profession longer, it can have a huge impact on teachers, school culture, and even the community. Leadership vision, actions, and styles will be examined. Participants will have a quick overview of the power of positivity based on research and then dive into 12 leadership actions to support positive leadership. Each action is explored and resources are shared. Leading positively is for everyone.

Fake It Until You Make It: We Can Help!

Debbie Rhoades, Principal at Trenton Public Schools & Rebecca Caldwell, Graduate Student at Wayne State University

Calling all new(er) principals and assistant principals that have heard the myths, been offered cliches of advice and experienced the concerned looks of others when you announced that you accepted the middle school (assistant) principal position. This session will bust myths based on current research and provide advice from personal experience to help avoid common pitfalls and speed bumps. This discussion may be just what you need to recenter, recalibrate and refocus and finish the school year strong.

Supporting Writing Development in the Middle Grades
Dr. Kailonnie Dunsmore, Director at Milan Middle School
This session examines approaches to improving writing within the ELA, Science and Social Studies middle school classroom. Topics include:
• Narrowing instructional and evaluation targets to improve the coherence and manageability of feedback
• Finding time in the schedule for a gradual release model (modeling, guided practice), especially in support of ELL, special education, and struggling writers
• Conditions and practice of school systems in which writing improvements happen system wide (e.g., progress monitoring, common rubrics and assessments)

Saturday, February 1 | 10:15am – 11:25am

Breakout Sessions (Choose 1 of 5)


Vulnerability From The Principal’s Chair
Ben Gilpin, Principal at Warner Elementary
“Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.” – Brene Brown The first step in creating a strong culture is building trust. Trust is a bi-product of vulnerability. In this session participants will gain 3 takeaways on how to be vulnerable, why it is so important, and how this will potentially feel uncomfortable.
Making the Transition to Standards Based Grading in the Middle Level
Daniel Haas, Principal; Sarah Manzo, Principal; Dave McKay, Assistant Principal; Randy Groya, Principal at Lake Orion Community Schools
Over the past several years, Lake Orion Community Schools have transitioned their grading practices to a hybrid standards based grading system. We believe this system meets the needs of our students, while also offering our learning communities the research-based benefits of standards based grading. In this session, we will walk through the process we followed, including research and resources used, challenges faced, and ultimately our final product.
MTSS in the Middle
Doug Ammeraal, Principal; Scott Panozzo, Assistant Principal; Jack Nummerdor, Assistant Principal at Mona Shores Middle School
Supporting all of OUR middle level students, academically and behaviorally. Through the MTSS lens, presenters will explore the role of culture and climate on student success. Attendees will learn about various academic and behavioral supports, structures, and processes that are in place to support success for all students. Time will be afforded to collaborate, share, and reflect on current practices within your own buildings. The presentation will be a time dedicated to learn, share, and “harvest” from each other.
Transforming School Culture Through the Master Schedule
Stephanie O’Connor, Principal at Trenton Public Schools
Are you ready for fresh ideas on implementing a master schedule that allows you to meet the needs of middle school staff and students? Our master schedule took us on a journey to become a Schools to Watch! Come think outside the box and discover ways to include student supports, professional learning, and developmental responsiveness during the school day!
Purely Platonic: Building Healthy Administrative Instructional Coach Relationships
Andrew Lindsey, Assistant Principal; Jean Smith, Instructional Coach at Owen Intermediate School
In this session, we will be exploring the relationship between school administrators and instructional coaches. We will look at where lines need to be drawn and boundaries established for healthy collaboration to build teacher capacity. We will discuss conversation structures and tools to maximize instructional effectiveness, the professional growth of teachers, and the culture of learning for students and staff in a school.

Saturday, February 1 | 12:30pm – 2:45pm

Closing Keynote Presentation with Adam Welcome

#KidsDeserveIt is a simple yet profound message and we should all join the conversation. Ride the bus with your students, read books to them, ride tricycles with Kindergarten students – stop making excuses and make it happen for your community!

Adam has been a teacher, Principal, Director of Innovation for a district with 35,000 students and enjoys pushing the envelope to always do what’s best for kids!

Adam was Principal of the Year for his region, a 20 To Watch for the National School Board Association, guest blogger for EdWeek, NAESP magazine, and many other publications. Adam also consults and works with many education companies as a way to improve their product for others!

Adam is passionate about technology integration with all educators and a huge advocate of social media and connecting with other educators from across the country. Adam makes it clear that kids come first and has preached the message of Team Kid for many years.

He is also the co-founder of Kids Deserve It and the author of Run Like a Pirate.