Middle grades strand slated to be blockbuster at summit

Middle grades education leaders are in for some serious career development opportunities to coincide with “celebrating the hero within” at ACSA’s 2008 Leadership Summit.

Set for Nov. 6-8 at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego, the Leadership Summit is ACSA’s premier annual event. This year, the Middle Grades Education Council encourages participation in strand offerings that support the essence of the principalship as well as the major focus areas of Taking Center Stage: Act II.

Thursday, Nov. 6, will start off with an 8:30-11 a.m. seminar led by Patti Kinney, a national middle level principal of the year who now serves as associate director for Middle Level Services at the National Association of Secondary School Principals.

Kinney’s session, “Courageous, Collaborative Leadership for Middle Level Leaders,” will address the indicators and practices necessary to create and sustain a successful school for young adolescents.

“Strong and effective leadership at the middle level is an absolute necessity if districts sincerely desire to prepare all their students to successfully meet the challenges of high school graduation and post-secondary education,” Kinney said. “To achieve this goal, today’s middle level principals must be visionary leaders, instructional experts, building managers, assessment specialists, disciplinarians, community builders, and more; they are also the ones held ultimately responsible for student achievement.”

 Kinney’s session will include small and large group interaction, and reflective practice and will provide the participants with an opportunity to learn more about and to reflect on their capacity to:

• Establish a culture of collaboration and shared decision-making.

• Lead school improvement in curriculum, instruction and assessment practices.

• Develop a positive, supportive school culture.

Friday, Nov. 7 will feature an 8:30-11 a.m. session titled “Now that You’ve Taken Center Stage, What Do You Do?” Key middle grades council members will take an in-depth look at how the 12 recommendations of TCS-2 can be used for effective professional development. In addition, the session leaders will provide hands-on help in using the new Taking Center Stage: Act II Web portal.

Join middle grades council president Creig Nicks, principal in Moorpark USD; past-president Steve Van Zant, superintendent of Mountain Empire USD; John White, principal in LAUSD; and Jim Dilday, administrator of Program Improvement in San Bernardino City USD, for an investigation of the TCS focus areas:

• Academic excellence.

• Developmental responsiveness.

• Social equity.

• Organizational structures and processes.

“Taking Center Stage II was just rolled out in April, and the middle grades council continues to take the lead in helping practitioners use this valuable new resource,” Nicks said.

Also in this session, the Schools to Watch self-study and rating rubric will be discussed as a powerful tool for long-term professional development.

In addition to the sessions, the Middle Grades Education Council is hosting a luncheon with Karen Dyer of the Center for Creative Leadership, from 12-1:30 p.m. Friday. Dyer has been a principal, Title 1 program manager, reading language arts specialist, teacher of regular and gifted education at the elementary and middle grades and an instructor at CSU Hayward and Nova University. She is an expert school leadership academy facilitator.

The 2008 Leadership Summit includes a host of other learning opportunities as well as Friday night’s Association Awards Presentation and President’s Celebration. Along with 18 other job-alike award recipients and five additional leadership honorees, Tess Johnson, principal of Eleanor Murray Fallon Middle School in Dublin USD, will receive ACSA’s 2008 Middle Grades Principal of the Year Award.

Other special events include a new member breakfast; a kick-off dance; exhibit hall; diversity breakfast and women’s leadership breakfast.

The cost of this one-stop professional development and celebration of leadership is only $360 for members and $710 for non-members eligible for membership. This year, members have the option of inviting a non-member for the member price when registrations are submitted together.

For more information and registration materials visit www.acsa.org or call ACSA Educational Services at (800) 608-ACSA.