2019 Middle & High School Principals Convention 

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Audience: Middle and High School principals. 

Cost: Pre-Con Sessions $39 or $69, Member Registration $199, Non-Member Registration $348

Purpose: Registration will open soon for the 2019 Middle and High School Principals Convention! 

This year's convention will take place from February 6-8, 2019 at the Concourse Hotel in Madison, Wisconsin. 


Booking Information:  

The Concourse Hotel
One West Dayton Street
Madison, Wisconsin
$139 single/double
Ask for: AWSA High School/Middle School Principals Conference
The time to book a block room at a discounted rate will end 1/9/19. There are a limited number of block rooms and they may sell out before that date so we recommend that you make your reservations soon.
Additional hotel options 
Hampton Inn & Suites Downtown
444 W Johnson St
(608) 255-0360
2 city blocks from the Concourse Hotel 
Best Western Hotel
22 S Carroll St
(608) 285-8000
1 block from the Concourse Hotel on the Capitol Square

*Full refund of fees will be made on cancellations received 10 days prior to the start of the convention. Following that date, a 40% administrative fee will be retained. There will be no refund for no-shows or cancellations during the event. 


Wednesday, February 6, 2019

12:00-4:30 Pre-Con Session

1. Secondary School Leaders Legal Seminar ($69 Fee) 

Law and Technology: Challenges and Solutions for HSMS Principals
Kirk Strang, Attorney, Strang, Patteson, Renning, Lewis & Lacy

1:45-2:45 Concurrent Sessions

A) Transgender Students Legal Update
Bob Butler, Staff Counsel, WASB 

B) Student Discipline and Administrator Contracts and Liability
Malina Piontek, Attorney, Piontek Law 

Avoiding Legal Pitfalls & Traps
Mike Julka, Attorney, Boardman & Clark

2. Trauma-Sensitive School Practices:  What? Who? Why? How? ($69 Fee)

Pam Black, Consultant, National Council for Behavioral Health   
Over 60% of students across the country have been exposed to trauma(s) before they reach the age of 18. Committed educators see symptoms of these students’ brokenness in all areas of their school life. Schools and districts across the country are addressing these issues in a variety of ways from In-School Mental Health Clinics to Universal Trauma-Sensitive Schools. In this session participants will learn about developmental trauma, it’s prevalence as reported in the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study and its impact on life and learning. Implementing trauma-sensitive school principles and practices within the multi-tiered system of supports will be explored. The role of the administrator in supporting and adopting these practices will be addressed especially in the areas of behavior, discipline and staff self-care. Participants will leave the four-hour session with resources to support their work in the schools as well as knowledge about the trauma-sensitive school movement nationally and in Wisconsin. 

Session Objectives:

  • Understand the prevalence of developmental trauma in the school population 
  • Identify trauma-sensitive school principles, practices and strategies that can be implemented within the multi-tiered system of support.
  • Become aware of the national and state-wide move toward trauma-sensitive schools and resources available to all schools.  

2:00-4:00 Pre-Con Sessions 

3. Leverage: Designed for Maximum Learner Advantage.  Leadership Strategies for Creating a Culture of Student ($39)

Ryan Krohn, Director of Learning Strategies, CESA 6, Matt Mineau, Principal, Appleton East High School, Robert Blessington, Principal, Horning Middle School, and Mark Becker, Prin Necedah SD

Learner Agency is no accident, and school leaders that value learner agency, must develop a culture that develops it, and learn learning experiences that depend on it. Dr. Ryan Krohn, Director of the Learning Strategies team at CESA 6, has partnered up with secondary principals who are ‘leaders of agency’, Robert Blessington, Matt Mineau, and Mark Becker to engage audiences in a powerful pre-conference event called ‘Leverage’. The precon session will bring participants together to discuss and launch ‘Leadership Strategies for Creating a Culture of Student (and staff) Agency’. The preconference, Leverage, is design for leaders to explore ideas designed for the purposeful coordinated actions of a team. The term leverage is defined as “the use of something to maximum advantage”, and educational organizations are constantly looking at their existing resources, practices, processes (RPPs) as a way to maximum performance. ‘Leverage’ is created to help teams examine current RPP’s, and ensure that they are maximizing their best resource; the learner.

4. Planning for Your Retirement ($39)

Joel Craven, Owner, Astrais Financial LLC (Horace Mann)
This session will provide information on the three legs of a solid retirement: the WI Retirement System, Social Security and personal savings (e.g. Roth, 403(b) plans, etc.). The session will also cover what educators should know about putting savings to good use and public service loan forgiveness. Come with your questions and leave better prepared for your future.

5:00 Reception 


Thursday, February 7, 2019

6:30 Registration and Continental Breakfast

7:15 - 8:00 New Members Breakfast

8:00 - 8:20 Welcome and Secondary Principal of the Year Recognition

8:20 - 9:50 Opening Keynote

Collaborative & Proactive Solutions: Fostering the Better Side of Human Nature in Classrooms and Families

Dr. Ross Greene, Director, Lives in the Balance
Dr. Ross Greene’s evidence-based Collaborative & Proactive Solutions model – as described in his books The Explosive Child and Lost at School – has transformed the understanding of treatment of kids with social, emotional, and behavioral challenges in countless families, school, and therapeutic facilities. With the release of his most recent book, Raising Human Beings, Dr. Greene has turned his attention to all kids, with a particularly focus on teaching the skills that define the better side of human nature: empathy, appreciating how one’s behavior is affecting others, resolving disagreements without conflict, taking another’s perspective, and honesty. These skills have never been more important, and research indicates that solving problems collaboratively and proactivity teaches these skills with any kid. Any – despite academic initiatives that have made it harder for educators to be the socialization agents they’ve always been – that’s something that parents and educators have boundless opportunities to teach, model, and practice every day.

Dr. Greene served on the faculty at Harvard Medical School for over 20 years, and is now founding director of the non-profit Lives in the Balance, which aims to disseminate the CPS model through no-cost web-based programming advocate on behalf of behaviorally challenging kids and their parents teachers, and other caregivers; and encourage the use of non-punitive, non-adversarial interventions. He is currently on the adjunct faculty of the Department of Psychology at Virginia Tech and on the adjunct faculty of Science at University of Technology Sydney in Australia. He is also Creator and Executive Producer of the forthcoming documentary film The Kids we Lose. Dr. Greene’s research as been funded by the Stanley Research Institute, the National Institutes of Mental Health, the US Department of Education, and the Maine Juvenile Justice Advisory Group. He lectures and consults extensively to families, general and special education schools, inpatient units, and residential and juvenile detention facilities throughout the world.

10:00 - 11:15 Concurrent Sessions 

1. Solving Problems Collaboratively and Proactively

Dr. Ross Greene, Director, Lives in the Balance
Once a child’s unsolved problems have been identified – and prioritized – it’s time for caregivers and kids to solve those problems together. In this breakout, Dr. Greene will describe the three steps involved in doing so.

2. Future Ready: CIA Principles to Practice — This Is a “We” Thing, Not a “Me” Thing

Mike Roemer, Principal, Reagan High School, Milwaukee
In this session, future ready principals create conditions and expectations for collaborative work groups that are owned by teachers including professional learning infrastructure, curriculum, instruction, assessment and data. Participants will be asked to self-assess school collaboration to maximize focus on CIA as well as teacher and student learning.

3. Leaders Shaping Cultures that Deeply Impact Students

Joe Schroeder, Associate Executive Director, AWSA
John Hattie (Donohoo 2016) cites collective efficacy as the variable with the highest effect size on student achievement. This makes sense because, in such a case, we have a whole faculty feeling effective—able to actually accomplish better student achievement and equitable conditions for all. But collective efficacy does not happen on its own. It is the product of a certain sort of school culture that is cultivated over time through specific leadership qualities. This session will break down what our field is learning about impactful leadership and culture in simple and accessible terms so that participants are equipped with specific approaches they can implement back home to lead their organization to the next level.

4. Leadership Strategies for Creating a Culture of Staff Agency (Middle School)

Robert Blessington, Principal, Horning Middle School
How can school leaders empower teachers to help redefine the learner experience that promotes learner advocacy and student engagement? The session will focus on the design process in empowering teachers to implement meaningful change to ensure high levels of learning.

5. There’s No I in TEAM

Tammy Gibbons, Director of Professional Learning, AWSA
This session will focus on the conditions and practices for effectively coaching a team and further define the principal’s role as a coach in helping teams function at high levels. Participants will engage in a consultancy protocol to experience how a team can develop collaborative problem solving skills. 

11:15 - 12:30 Lunch and Dessert with Exhibitors 

12:30 - 1:45 Concurrent Sessions

1. Ethical Approaches to Grading & Assessment

Gereon Methner, Principal, Gibraltar High School
Our session will include a presentation of Robert Starratt’s highly-renowned Ethical Framework.  Attendees will then be asked to apply the ethical framework to case studies on student grading.  Participants will be provided with a resource that could be used to lead faculty and PLC discussions around grading and assessment. 

2. Future Ready:  How To Leverage Feedback and Input to Create Positive Change

Susan Kern, Principal, Chippewa Falls Middle School 
In this session, participants will see examples of how through collective feedback, input and collaboration with stakeholders, system changes can be smoothly implemented and sustained.

3. The Adult Learning Framework: Articulating What Good Looks Like

Joe Schroeder, Associate Executive Director, AWSA
A common root cause problem in improvement efforts is that leaders have not yet articulated what good, better, and best practice look like in one or more area of instructional priority for their school/system. And our work with dozens of Wisconsin school/district teams to date indicate that, until teams address this root cause problem, their improvement efforts are essentially “stuck.” Adult Learning Frameworks are a solution to this common dilemma in ways that deepen learning, focus support, cultivate collaborative culture, and instill internal accountability. This session will help you understand the components and benefits of Adult Learning Frameworks, how to build them, and how to effectively roll them out to accelerate your school’s improvement journey.

4. Innovative Leadership: How to Build a Culture that is Open to Ideas (High School)

Matt Mineau, Principal, Appleton East High School
How does a leader create ‘space’ in the daily conversation for ‘ideas’? Join Dr. Matt Mineau as he shares his innovative leadership journey as a High School principal who is always thinking about ‘what is possible’ and who has created a school culture that is doing the same. The session will focus on leadership strategies and actions that promote a culture innovation, a ‘fail-forward’ approach, and shared enthusiasm for being on the cutting edge for ALL students. 

5. Tools for Talking When the Stakes are High—Crucial Conversations

Tammy Gibbons, Director of Professional Learning, AWSA
Holding conversations that need to be held require thoughtful preparation, skill, compassion and much more.  In this session, attendees with be able to see and hear how others hold these important conversations. Equip yourself with a few “go to” moves for your next conversation.

2:00 - 3:05 Roundtable Sessions (Select Two)

  1. Beyond Scores: Redefining Career and College Readiness
  2. Trauma-Sensitive Practices: Helping Students Achieve Personal and School Success
  3. Self-Care and Work-Life Balance
  4. Implications of EE Practice for Teacher Retention and Satisfaction
  5. Crisis Communications and Overview of AWSA Communication Services
  6. Building to District-Level Leadership: A Lens Adjustment
  7. State Supports for Meeting Students' Mental Health Needs 
  8. The Power of Connections
  9. Maximizing the Administrative Team-SRO Relationship 
  10.  Making Coaching Teachable, Learnable and Doable
  11. Supporting Special Education Para Professionals
  12. Building an Academic Focus Through Character and Community 
  13. Successful PBIS at High School Level  

3:15 - 4:15 Unconference 

Whereas the other conference sessions are prepared ahead of time, this block of time will allow members to share information on any topics that are identified through the unconference survey. We encourage you to attend the unconference, recommend a topic and volunteer to host one of the topical discussions. 

5:00 - 6:00 Jostens Reception 

Friday, February 8, 2019

7:15 - 8:30 Optional Fellowship Breakfast 

Joe Schroeder, Associate Executive Director and author of Labor of Love: A Spiritual Companion for Servant Leaders
As a school leader, you are a well for others. People come to you because they are thirsty. They thirst for knowledge, they thirst for wisdom, they thirst for resolution and justice. And that makes sense, because giving to others is what servant leaders do. But in facing nearly unceasing demands, where does one who serves others replenish his/her personal leadership well…before the well goes dry? Addressing this critical issue and equipping leaders with means for managing it is the core purpose of the Fellowship Breakfast, which we first offered in 2017-18 to AWSA Convention participants and to overwhelmingly positive feedback. So if you are interested in exploring how timeless lessons from a Christian perspective can encourage, equip, and sustain your heart, spirit, and mind along your leadership journey, please join us for this optional breakfast breakout session in order to powerfully and peacefully launch your Friday and beyond! 

8:00 - 9:00 Breakfast Program & Legislative Update 

John Forester will preview the 2019-21 Legislative session. 

9:15 - 10:15 Concurrent Sessions 

1. Getting Started with Grading for Learning 

Jerry Pritzl, Principal, Poynette Middle School, and Mark Hoernke, Principal, Poynette High School 
Moving from traditional grading to a Grading for Learning system can feel like an insurmountable challenge.  While difficult to implement, the gains in student achievement and positive school culture are undeniable. This session will guide school leaders through the key components of a successful implementation.  The session will also highlight the deliberate leadership practices necessary to lead this transformative change in a school system.

2. Grading for Learning: Moving Forward

Larry Zeman, Principal, Chetek-Weyerhaeuser Middle and High School 
Have you survived the initial shock of transitioning your school to learning friendly grading practices and standards based grading? Are you ready to work on strategies to connect grading with your curriculum, reduce administrative duties for your teachers, and to motivate students? This session will highlight strategies on how to connect your curriculum with your grade books, how to simplify teacher grading, and how to implement immediate Tier II interventions based on real time student learning data. 

3. Using Assessment Quality as a lever for Engagement & Achievement:  Conducting an Assessment Audit

Tammy Gibbons, Director of Professional Learning, AWSA
Teachers make many instructional and assessment decisions in a day.  As a leader, what role do you play in ensuring that the assessments teachers are choosing to inform instruction and are used to communicate progress are valid and reliable and demonstrate student understanding?  What does monitoring for assessment quality look like in your school? In this session, leaders will learn some tools for conducting an assessment audit, the role of the team/department and the variety of entry points for this work.

10:30 - 11:45 Closing Keynote 

Critical Leadership Questions for Inspiring Schoolwide Excellence

Baruti Kafele, Principal 

Principal Kafele makes the case that building a learning environment that inspires schoolwide excellence can never be overstated. In this high-energy, highly-engaging keynote address, Principal Kafele will challenge school and district leaders to look critically within themselves through reflective questions about their leadership practices relative to how they inspire energy, excitement and enthusiasm for learning throughout their buildings daily. he will lay out the touchstones for maintaining strong leadership habits, inspiring excellence and collaboration in others, and engaging an entire school community in striving to be the best. 

A highly-regarded urban educator in New Jersey for over twenty years, Principal Baruti Kafele distinguished himself as a master teacher and a transformational school leader. As an elementary school teacher in East Orange, NJ, he was selected as the East Orange School District and Essex County Public Schools Teacher of the Year, he was a New Jersey State Teacher of the Year finalist, and a recipient of the New Jersey Education Association Award of Excellence.  As a school principal, Principal Kafele led the transformation of four different New Jersey urban schools, including “The Mighty” Newark Tech, which went from a low-performing school in need of improvement to national recognition, which included U.S. News and World Report Magazine recognizing it three times as one of America’s best high schools.

One of the most sought-after education speakers in America, Principal Kafele is impacting America’s schools. He has delivered more than one thousand conference keynotes and professional development workshops over the past seven years since leaving his principalship in 2011. An expert in the area of “attitude transformation,” Principal Kafele is the leading authority for providing effective classroom and school leadership strategies toward closing what he coined, the “Attitude Gap.”  A prolific writer, Principal Kafele has written extensively on professional development strategies for creating a positive school climate and culture, transforming the attitudes of at-risk student populations, motivating Black males to excel in the classroom and school leadership practices for inspiring school-wide excellence. In addition to writing several professional articles on these topics for popular education journals, he is the author of eight books, which include his national best-sellers, Closing the Attitude Gap, Motivating Black Males to Achieve in School and in Life, The Principal 50 and The Teacher 50.