Pennsylvania Association for Middle Level Education


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MONDAY SESSIONS & Keynote

Monday KEYNOTE - 8:00 AM

Keynote Speaker: Timothy Shoemaker
Topic: Unforgotten
Room: President's Hall

Keynote Description: "Unforgotten" is the first person account of a child whose early home life was burdened by poverty, substance abuse, mental illness, social-stratification and a learning disability. Isolation, crime and self-destructive decisions positioned him for jail or death at an early age, until an unlikely town official intervened. His rags-to-redemption story is the vivid personification of the daily impact that school counselors have, not just on individuals, but upon the future. (No I don't always write in the 3rd person. Not sure why I did here...)

Drug abuse and addiction forced their way into Tim Shoemaker's young life before he could even read. By the time he was a young adult, he had watched the people he loved most, be destroyed by their struggles with alcoholism, prescription drug abuse, marijuana and cocaine addictions. From the shadows of such bleak beginnings, Tim became one of our most passionate and inspiring drug-free advocates. 

After more than 20 years in the field, Tim's work has been recognized by multiple state and national organizations, agencies and politicians. Winner of both the NJ State, and the prestigious U.S. National Drug Abuse Resistance Education Officer of the Year award, Tim has been profiled by NJ 12 News, WGHT Radio, the Mensa Bulletin, NJ Cops Magazine, the Record, the Star Ledger and several other printed news outlets. Founder of EmpoweredParent.org, TimothyShoemaker.com and C.E.O. of MpoweredParent L.L.C., Tim has presented at corporate events such as MetLife, college campuses such as FDU, at state and national professional conferences and at more than 50 local school districts across the U.S.

Author of the viral "I Believe - Backwards" video and publisher of several prevention-based ebooks, Tim has consulted for several national and international prevention organizations.

PASAP Monday Breakout Sessions

PASAP Breakout Session Three: 10:30 AM -12:30 PM

PASAP Breakout Session Four: 3:00-5:00 PM

PAMLE MONDAY SESSIONS

SESSION Three - Mini Session #1: 10:15 AM – 11:15 AM

3H1: Beyond Pencil & Paper: Putting Skills to Work (ST/ST, SC, FC, PBL, MA, DDI, IT, SLO, DAP) Alyssa Mahramus, School Implementation Manager – EVERFI

We’ve all heard it at least once in the classroom, ‘When are we actually going to use this?’  Through EVERFI’s place based and PA Core Standards aligned digital resources, students will have the opportunity to not only put in their math & science knowledge into practice with real-life narratives and situations, they will acquire new vocabulary and problem solving skills that can be applied to every student's’ life.  In this session, teachers will receive their own account with access to several math & STEM online resources, lesson plans, and learn how to track student progress. All programs are available free of cost thanks to the NHL, NHLPA, and community sponsors.  Who said math couldn’t be fun!

3I1: Accentuate the Positive: Building a Culture of Pride and Self-Improvement, One Student at a Time  (AD, YA, GM, SoC) Frank Hernandez, Principal, Megan Huchko, Assistant Principal – West Allegheny MS

In just one year, the students and staff at West Allegheny Middle School dramatically decreased behavior referrals and chronic absenteeism, and increased student achievement, student and staff morale, and standardized test scores. Find out how this School-Wide Behavior and Intervention Supports Program transformed the academic expectations and school climate into a culture where the students and staff have ‘Pride in Themselves’ and ‘Pride in their School’. Participants will leave with 2-3 actionable strategies to implement in their school.

3J1: How & Why to Set Up a Writer’s Notebook (YA, DI, ELA) Diane Zaffuto, 6th grade teacher – DuBois Area MS

Come and see how we can integrate the joys of writing into a demanding common core curriculum. Middle School writers have so much heart. The WNB is a great way to bring meaning to learning grammar and the writing process while acknowledging students’ experiences and feelings.

3K1: Tools for your Teaching Toolbelt: Use Google Like a Boss (DDI, IT) Leighanne Forbes, Associate Professor – Gannon University

This presentation will focus on the hidden potential of Google’s many tools to enhance student performance and teacher productivity.  Participants may bring a device and follow along as the Google App Launcher, Forms, and Keep are introduced.  The Partnership for 21st Century Learning Framework will frame the discussion of each tool and participants will leave with practical strategies for integrating technology.  If time permits, additional Google tools may be introduced.

3L1: Transforming Mindset, Persistence and Math Achievement (CC, ST/ST, ID, YA, MA, GM, SoC, DDI, IT) Ronda Abbott, Director of Educational Partnerships, Abby Neumeyer, Regional Director of Professional Services

Learn how leaders are reinventing the classroom learning culture and improving Algebra I results by introducing new tools that develop students’ mindsets, motivation, and engagement in mathematics. By taking explicit steps to prepare students for a successful transition to Algebra I and to high school, educators can help ensure academic success—not only in Algebra I but also along students’ academic trajectory to college and career readiness.

3M1: Making Advisory a Priority (AD) Anneliese Ledebur, Social Studies Teacher – Titusville MS

Daily at TMS, time set aside for one of our most important initiatives, Advisory.  All students participate in a thirty-minute, non-graded class, where the focus isn’t mathematics, science, or even English.  This time is focused on teaching students how to work together and succeed as a team.

3N1: Supporting ML Education through CMLA on Campus. Carol Watson – Associate Professor – Kutztown University

Many universities have started AMLE chapters on their campuses. Future middle level teachers are able to participate in learning about and advancing ML education in many ways including tutoring, fundraising, hosting speakers, conference attendance, and hosting middle level students visiting campus. This session will describe some of the ways the Kutztown University organization supports the future of middle level education, and will offer suggestions to middle schools who may want to collaborate with universities.

SESSION Three - Mini Session #2: 11:30 – 12:30 PM

3H2: PA Common Core Shifts: Higher Level Thinking Across the Curriculum “Now watch me shift…now watch me PSS-AA..” (CC, TI, DI, RL, ELA, Rd/Wr, DAP) Amy Clark, 7th Grade ELA Teacher, Halee Sikorski, 7th Grade ELA Teacher – Neshannock Jr/Sr HS

Do you struggle with blending ELA Common Core standards in your content area? In this session, attendees will review and analyze one of the major shifts in Common Core questioning on standardized testing and the demands placed on students to achieve a higher-level responses. You will leave with strategies for identifying text complexity, creating layered questioning, and instruction on pairing various types of texts into your current curriculum. 

3I2: Using Notice & Note in a Station System at the 8th Grade Level (CM, DI, RL, DAP) Kathleen Madigan, Kathryn Hahn, Karen MacNamara, Karen DiMascola, ELA Teachers – Kennett MS

Looking to increase facetime with your students?  Searching for a research-based method to improve student comprehension? If so, this workshop is for you.  We will be exploring how to use a station model to meet the diverse learning needs of your middle grades language arts class.  Within those stations we will focus on the comprehension strategies put forth by Kylene Beers and Robert Probst in Reading Nonfiction and Notice & Note: Strategies for Close Reading

3J2: Creating an Interpretive Trail on Your Campus ST/ST, SC, PBL) Patty McGinnis, 7/8 Science Teacher – Arcola Intermediate School

Attendees will learn how to create an informational Interpretive Trail on their school campus that integrates science standards. This project can be easily modified so that the trail’s focus can be history, English, physical education, or any content area subject, making it an ideal multi-disciplinary project for a middle school teaching team. Information will also be shared about how to use NSTA’s Learning Center to locate additional STEM projects appropriate for middle school.

3K2: Using Digital Tools for Assessment (ASCA, IT) Richard Texter, 8th Social Studies, Rick Roth, 8th Math, Alex Martinez, 8th Social Studies Teachers – North Hills MS

We live in a time of instant information and data. Using digital tools is a great way to get instant feedback on our students. Are they learning what we are hoping they are learning? Do they have questions about the lesson? Using digital tools such as Google forms, Socrative, Goformative, Nearpod, Plickers, Quizlet, Padlet, and many others are a great way to conduct formative assessment.

3L2: In Pursuit of a Better Grade – Our Journey to Reform Grading & Assessment  (GM, SoC, ASCA, YA) Dr. Robert Salladino, Principal, Michelle Britton, Assistant Principal – Springton Lake MS

Explore current best practice in classroom assessment and grading, while learning about one school’s journey to reform efforts to make grades better support student learning. Participants will learn more about the resources that we used and how we engaged teachers, students, and parents in the process. There will be an opportunity to discuss some of the challenges that we encountered and how to shift thinking around the deeply rooted concept of grades.

3M2: Using the Giant Map of Pennsylvania in the Middle School Classroom (MA, CCC, SS, DI, SE, EN) Kristin Byers, Program manager – PA Alliance for Geographic Education

Understanding geographic concepts has never been more important in our increasingly global society. Come explore the Giant Map of Pennsylvania and learn how to present geographic and spatial thinking skills to your middle school students while having fun learning about our state. The Giant Map of Pennsylvania is a free to borrow resource for all PA teachers provided by the PA Alliance for Geographic Education.

3N2: Transitioning from Campus Coursework to Field Experience. Carol Watson, Associate Professor – Kutztown University

No matter how carefully planned and grounded university coursework is, it is always a challenge to make the jump from on campus classes to middle school classrooms. Many factors are outside the control of both university supervisors and cooperating teachers, and levels of willingness and ability to collaborate effectively can be challenging. With a goal of creating a smoother transition in ML teacher education programs, this session will report the findings of an investigation into this transition from the perspective of the teacher candidates.

SESSION FOUR - Mini Session #1: 2:45 – 3:45 PM

4H1: Raider Pride: Student Advocacy for Building a Strong School Community (AD, YA, SoC, G, DAP) Dr. Gerald Catagnus, Brenda Boyer, Principals, Rachel Kutney, Andy Stine, Jennifer Williams, Jennifer Moyer, Richard Morse, Amy Kochel & ShawnMarie Gardner, Teachers – Twin Valley MS

The Twin Valley Middle School (TVMS) Raider Pride Program is a school-wide advocacy program that strives to build community among all students and staff.  Raider Pride creates a climate where students are heard and have a sense of belonging.  Student leaders for community building sessions, peer mentors, a Restorative Practices model, and school-wide behavioral expectations are only a few of the components that make this program a success at TVMS.

4I1: Teaching Today’s Learners to be Tomorrow’s Leaders ST/ST, TI, CCCG, EN, SoC, YA, DAP) Christine Kline, Counselor, Julie Baun, Librarian – DuBois Area MS

Through the DuBois Area School District’s new READY initiative (Regional Economic Acceleration through the Development of our Youth), Career and Education Work Standards as well as real life experiences are being embedded into the existing curriculum. Our comprehensive Career and Life Program focuses on 21st Century careers and occupations, but aims to develop the local, regional, and state economies. Career Cluster Collaboration Stations, monthly career cluster panelists, hands on discovery, digital learning, and personal interactions with their peers and community are driving this program. Through a partnership with the North Central Workforce Development Board a career counselor will be holding lunch and learns, helping students with career plans, and supporting our initiative. Come get ideas on how to help your students get READY!

4J1: Flexible Seating: Creating a Personalized Learning Space for Middle Level Students (CM, DI, ASCA) Lauren Baxter & Danielle Corrao, Teachers – Cocalico MS

Teachers should not only personalize learning but also personalize spaces to increase student achievement. Classrooms today look similar to classrooms years ago: desks in rows. However, our world has evolved and our classrooms should, too. Flexible seating at the middle level gives students varied seating options, allowing them to choose the seat that best fits their learning needs. By eliminating desks and creating spaces that encourage comfort and productivity, teachers create conducive and communicative atmospheres.

4K1: Clips for Community & Classroom Engagement (FC, PBL, IT) Joe Welch& Larry Dorenkamp, Teachers – North Hills MS

Apple's Clips for iOS application allows for easy video production for middle school students. Explore practical, creative, and engaging methods on how to get started in utilizing Clips. No matter your role, leverage Clips to engage students, parents, teachers, and the public. Explore ways North Hills Middle School teachers and administration use Clips to engage in conversations with parents and the community.

4L1: Full STEAM Ahead (ST/ST) Beth Zigmont, Instructional STEM Coach – Radnor SD

This session will focus on the benefits of STEM integration for the development of 21st century learners. Strategies for enhancing existing STEM opportunities and incorporating additional opportunities including, but not limited to, the development of interdisciplinary projects, the formation of partnerships with local community members and organizations, and opportunities for peer coaching practices will be shared. Participants will walk away with a variety of suggestions and tools to further develop STEM programming at the middle level.

4M1: Teaching Growth Mindset in Middle School (GM) Deborah Hamiliton, Amanda Pomeroy & Christina Labarron, Teachers – Northern Potter MS

Middle school is a time of growth and learning for students. Most importantly it is a time where students learn about who they are as a person. It is important to shape perception and mindset in a positive light. Teaching students growth mindset at an early age gives them the tools they need to move on and be successful both in middle school and in the future.

4N1: Preparing to Teach Middle Level Students in the Post-Truth Era (CCC, ID, DAP) Dr. Jason Hilton – Associate Professor – Slippery Rock University

Facts no longer speak for themselves, but great teaching still does! Whether you are a new teacher or a seasoned veteran, the classroom has changed. Evolution, climate change, the Earth is flat, what news is real – all are open to debate. The young adolescent mind is forming a worldview that will impact them for the rest of their life. Are you prepared to help middle level learners become knowledgeable, effective citizens in the post-truth era?

SESSION FOUR- Mini Session #2: 4:00 – 5:00 PM

4H2: Close Reading with Related Writing (RL, ELA, CCC, Rd/Wr) Janelle Johnson & Kelly Johnson, Teachers – Kane Area MS

This presentation will help you teach your students to look at text differently and more closely.  The focus is on reading multiple times with different purposes in mind.  Independent, cooperative, and whole class reading are combined and the lesson will end with an independent writing assignment.  This method is especially useful in science and social studies classrooms as well as the ELA classroom.

4I2: Character Education in Secondary Schools (AD, CM) Jared Shade, Principal – Upper Dauphin MS

Upper Dauphin Area School district defines Character as “who you are when nobody's watching”.  Character education provides students a foundation to learn with less distraction.  Discovery groups are broken into intimate groups of mixed grade level students. Weekly activities include seminar, team building, performing arts, academics, and school jobs. These activities provide connections among peers, teachers, and community.  Data shows a significant reduction in discipline, violence, and truancy; displaying our program’s effectiveness.

4J2: Collaborative Leadership (TM) Julie Cook & Jeannine Dunn, Teachers, Jennifer Arevcalo, Director of Education – Souderton Charter School Collaborative

Learn how to build the capacity of faculty members in a distributed leadership model school.

4K2: Using Google Classroom, YouTube and Nearpod to Flip Your Classroom (CCC, IT, FC, AR, SLO) Becky Sensor & Joe Sensor, Music Teachers – DuBois Area MS

Looking for a way to extend your daily lesson? Would you like to give students knowledge and insight on a topic before it is first introduced in class? Using Google Classroom, YouTube and Nearpod to bring new material and supplemental instruction to your students, can be wonderful ways to engage students and encourage them to dig deeper into a topic in and out of the classroom.

4L2: Seeking a Future: Adolescent Refugees (SED, DAP) Leighann Forbes, Associate Professor – Gannon University

This presentation will focus on strategies for responding to the needs of adolescent refugees in the middle level classroom.  Challenges, opportunities, and recommendations based on current research will first be shared with participants.  Participants will then examine each of the Essential Attributes of This We Believe with the presenters and leave with practical strategies to help adolescent refugees adjust to life in the United States and classroom culture.

4M2: PA School's Mental Wellness Initiative: A comprehensive Approach to Mental Wellness (ID, YA, SoC, G, SED) - Jim Burgess, Mental Health First Aide Instructor – Mental Wellness Awareness Association

The PA School's Mental Wellness Initiative is a collaboration between Please Live, Inc. and the Mental Wellness Awareness Association, Inc. to educate middle and high schools about mental health and suicide prevention.  The Initiative focuses efforts toward mental health awareness and suicide prevention using a four-stage approach tailored to individual school districts - Youth Mental Health First Aid, student assembly, mental wellness health fair, and a brain wellness app called MyBrain365.

4N2: From Chaos to Culture: How to Tame the PBL Beast (PBL, TM) Mike Hall, Principal, Julie Tullar & Ross Adler, Teachers – Avonworth MS

A team can only be effective if the adults are learning along with the students.  In order to create a team with equal voice from ALL members, team norms and protocols must be utilized.  This session will provide you with some specific strategies to use that will help you develop true team norms and protocols.  The power of team norms and protocols can change your school’s culture and be infused into everyday teaching practices.


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