Indianapolis Marriott North (Keystone at the Crossing)

Conference Session Descriptions & Schedule

Sunday, September 29, 2019

4-5 p.m. Informal Meet & Greet

Registration, Visit Exhibitors, Hotel Check In

5 p.m. Keynote Speaker (Ballroom)

Buddy Berry, Superintendent, Eminence Schools, KY

        “How to Set Your School on F.I.R.E.”

(Followed by a Performance by the unique & AWESOME “2 Infinity” Rock Band, East Washington MS)

Monday, September 30: 

7:00-7:45 am Registration & Continental Breakfast (outside Ballroom)

7:50 Conference Welcome (Ballroom)

8 a.m. Keynote Speaker

Dr. Lori Desautels, Butler University,

“Listening Beneath the Behaviors of Our Most Troubled Students”




Whitcomb Ballroom Rounds


Sarah Weimer, Head of Curriculum & Instruction, Christel House Schools, “Culture of Student Self-Efficacy”

        Student self-efficacy is a powerful predictor of their achievement. So how do classroom teachers create self-efficacious cultures in their classrooms? What initiatives should administrators and instructional coaches encourage and support in their buildings to improve student self-efficacy and student outcomes? Learn more about self-efficacy and deconstruct some classroom artifacts and practices to internalize in your context!


Katie Powell, Teacher, Southmont Junior High, “Lecture Busters: Engaging Ways to Break up Your Lecture and Get Students Thinking”                                 

Given that even adults can pay attention to a lecture just minutes at a time, it's no surprise our students "zone out" sometimes. Lecture Busters are engaging, challenging, thought-provoking activities we can use to break up our lectures, get students thinking about what we have taught, and to provide useful feedback to guide our teaching. These Lecture Busters are easy to have on hand to use spur-of-the-moment or as a planned part of our teaching routine. Bust the lecture routine and get students engaged!


Fay Gore, National Geographic Educator Network, “Lead from the MIddle: Become a National Geographic Certified Educator” 

        Would you like to join an interdisciplinary collaborative learning community that supports educators to become innovative leaders who teach students about the world and how it works, empowering them to succeed and to make it a better place? Become a National Geographic Certified Educator, a free professional learning program! During this interactive session, you will engage with the National Geographic Learning Framework (the Attitudes, Skills, and Knowledge students need to take on an Explorer's mindset) while completing Phase 1 of the 3-phase program today. You will be able to complete Phase 2 and 3 online.

Marion Classrooms


Jacob Koressel, DOE Computer Science Specialist, and Dr. Christy Hilton, DOE STEM Specialist,  “IDOE STEM and Computer Science Updates”        

Looking for information on state-level STEM and computer science initiatives and resources? Attend this session for important updates and an opportunity to have your questions answered by IDOE’s STEM and Computer Science Specialists.        


Adam Allen, SLC Director, Decatur Middle School, “Are You on Track?”

        "Are you on track" is an actionable system that all educators can walk away from with materials and an system to utilize in you school to ensure students are ready for high school and as stated above college and career readiness.

        In my presentation will be an overall message about our "why" and how we adopted this process. From that point, I will dive into our system of tracking students academic achievement per STAR teacher, our "B's or Better" message. DMS Data Days Focus Friday and Make-Up Mondays.

        All of these pieces together are designed to provide multiple layers of support for our students, parents and community to ensure our students understand the importance of grade point average and credits from day one entering high school.

        Participants will walk away with resources to utilize in their school that are simple to use but effective in improving student outcomes and tracking student progress at the middle level to ensure they are successful day one in high school.


Jennifer Jensen, Assistant Director for Curriculum & Instruction, Robin Conti, Secondary Math Specialist,  DOE, “Planning Effective Instruction Using the Math Framework”                

        Participants will have the opportunity to explore the Math Framework, including the newly released Phase II! We will talk about how to utilize the framework to plan for the implementation of the 8 effective teaching practices. Educators will walk away with practical strategies and resources to empower them to "Lead from the Middle" in their math classrooms.


Rachel Patton, Science Teacher, Paul Hadley Middle School, “Using Case Studies to Promote Scientific Literacy and Cross-Curricular Support” 

What is a case study? A case study is a systematic investigation or examination of a person or topic where the result is a conclusion based upon facts and evidence. In a school-wide test prep environment and based on Indiana standards, all teachers are considered teachers of literacy. Case studies provide a relevant examination of comprehension of nonfiction texts, as well constructing evidence-based responses to Level 3 and 4 DOK questions.



Whitcomb Ballroom (Rounds)


Molly Joll and Sara Alberson, Teachers, Thomas Jefferson Middle School, “ An Amazing, Free Resource for Civics Education Using Multiple Disciplines”                        

        Want to learn how to "Win the White House"? Students can become president in one class period by playing the iCivics game "Win the White House." is the largest provider of civics curriculum in the nation, and it is FREE! iCivics gives students the necessary tools to learn about and participate in civic life. Who doesn't want a fun, engaging way to help students navigate how our country works? Through stand alone-games to curriculum units that include structured lessons and WebQuests, participants will leave ready to use the lessons in with their students immediately!


Shannon Hudson, Science Teacher, Crawfordsville Middle School, “Traveling STEAM Tinker Trays”

        In 2018, Indiana passed a 6-year Strategic STEM Initiative that declares every classroom in Indiana will teach STEM at some level within 6 years. The reasoning behind the plan is clear- businesses are begging for graduates who can exhibit 21st Century skills and we need to start that process much earlier than high school.

        These Travelling Tinker Trays utilize inexpensive materials allowing, allow students to begin the basic study of STEAM, are easy to store, and can include task cards. They can be used if teachers are giving a test for those who finish early, for a scripted lesson, or for a day completely devoted to STEAM.


Gina Whitaker, Special Education Teacher, and Travis Smith, Assistant Principal, Tri-West Middle School  “A Year of Character Education”

 In addition to academics, social, mental, and emotional growth at the middle level, building character is an important part of helping students become well rounded and well sought-after candidates for the life path they choose after graduation. Learn about our year-long program that is designed for a 20 minute advisory - advisee / homeroom time.

Marion Classrooms


Carrie Rosebrock, Professional Learning Coordinator, CIESC, “Close Reading:How to Pace Questions to Methodically Break Down Texts with Your Students”

Teachers often feel stressed and overwhelmed by the volume of standards and objectives they are expected to cover in a course. Educators need to do more with less, and that is especially true of standards and curriculum. Once a narrowed curriculum is determined, teachers should use highly effective close reading strategies. We will model what effective and ineffective close reading looks like based on the research of Doug Lemov. Our workshop is perfect for all educators 6-12 looking for ways to simplify their curriculum and improve student literacy skills.


Deb Sachs, Assistant Professor, University of Indianapolis, “The Adolescent Brain: What’s Going on in There?” 

        Learn, during this interactive session, about the tremendous changes occurring in the adolescent brain. Understand the impact of these changes on middle school students' learning. Leave with practical, concrete, immediately applicable strategies for reaching and teaching today's adolescent that will empower you to make instructional decisions and design effective lessons that yield the greatest return on student engagement and learning and that will assist you in helping adolescents in their quest toward becoming lifelong learners.


Stephanie Nancarrow, Indiana State Police/ICAC, “Digital Safety”                                   

Past high profile instances of youth being victimized by cyber bullies, and sexual predators demanded a proactive program be developed and implemented in an effort to inoculate youth against such criminal acts. The Indiana ICAC Youth Educators provides age appropriate Cyber Safety presentations to help reach our youth before they become victims, to provide help to those who have already been victimized and mitigate the potential for acts of school violence committed due to online victimization. The good news is that most children are not getting into trouble online, but there are still risks to consider.

Technology changes all the time, and kids are constantly finding the newest websites, apps and gadgets. It's vital they learn the rules of Internet safety so they can use technology responsibly. This presentation will address the safe use of all devices and websites, no matter how kids access the Internet. Each Youth Educator works within the structure of the Indiana ICAC Task Force with presentations specifically designed to prevent victimization in the areas of:

Online child sexual solicitation

Online child extortion

Online production of child pornography Online bullying, also known as cyberbullying


Amber King, Principal, East Washington Middle School, “The Total Culture Overhaul”

        Learn how to turn your school into a hub of joy and excitement; a place students, teachers, and YOU want to be! Rather than talking about the importance of culture, let's talk concrete strategies to make it happen. Learn about the best professional development without spending a dime--Pineapple Days. Remind teachers to find the joy in teaching-- The Transformation Room. Excite students and keep them guessing--Houses, Creeds, School Makeovers, 2 Infinity, and the Amazing Shake. Involve business leaders as volunteers--Wow over Lunch. Learn how these methods have increased enrollment, raised scores, and changed the entire culture of East Washington Middle School.

11:05-11:20 Break

11:20-12:15 Luncheon

12:15-12:30 Break

Session IV


Whitcomb Ballroom Rounds


Kristen Poindexter, Teacher, Spring Mill Elementary; Dawn Bick, Teacher, Hasten Hebrew Academy; “Interdisciplinary Literacy”                                        

Participants will be provided a trade book and work through the 5E model to create a detailed interdisciplinary/STE(A)M unit. Through this experience, participants will conceptualize building all disciplines into the topic/idea presented in a trade book depending on the level of the learners in the classrooms. In the end, participants will learn how to put content to work in the face of a question. At the end of the session, we will have created a google doc that will be shared with all participants after a networking session. Please bring a device for typing.


Jean Sienkowski, Principal, and Melissa Fisher, Teacher, Benjamin Franklin Middle School, “Mindful in the Middle: Realistic Technology Integration”

        In the fast-paced, ever-changing world of tech in the classroom, it can be easy to feel disconnected from our role as a teacher. Are we curators of links or purveyors of knowledge? Guides on the Side or can we still be a Sage on the Stage? Technology can be transformative, but it can also be intimidating, even disempowering at times. For many of us, the sheer number of choices can be overwhelming, and it is easy to lose sight of what exactly we are supposed to bring to the table when kids can just "Google it." In this session, we will discuss our role as teachers in this age of technology and three things we should bring to the table: discernment (Kolb's Triple E Framework for vetting edtech) and high-impact ideas to help students get the most out of technology in the classroom.


Beth Smith and Joan Belschwender, INSPIRE3, “Utilizing Service-Learning to Support Social-Emotional Learning and Employability Skills”

        Service-Learning is a natural vehicle for integration of K-12 social-emotional learning and employability skills. Participants will discover the connections to SEL and employability skills and also become familiar with and utilize the FREE resources on generationOn and Learning to Give to support service-learning in the classroom while developing social-emotional learning and employability skills inherent in the process. Because critical skills are practiced in an authentic setting with real-world application, students are better able to acquire and generalize the learned skills. Educators will be able to support students' in their social-emotional learning and employability skills while showing students that they can make a difference and become an integral part of their community, developing leaders of tomorrow with a heart for others. Participants will be able to identify projects and lessons that will support their existing curriculum and integrate service-learning that gives authenticity, meaning, and purpose to the content material.

Marion Classrooms


Mike Hasch and Tori Cox, Special Olympics Indiana, “Champions Together: Leadership and Relationship Building for Middle School Students”

        "Students who used to walk the halls looking at the floor, now walk with their heads high and give high-fives all the way to class." - Dan Bailey, mentor

"Athletes now come through my classroom giving hugs to students they once never knew."

"The most influential Anti-Bullying program I have ever been a part of" Oscar Haughs, Rochester MS Principal

Learn how your school can become a part of the Champions Together program from schools that have participated. Champions empowers students and builds important, long-lasting relationships.


Kristy Stephens and Mike DeFries, Teachers, Hebron Middle School, “Project-Based Learning in a Traditional Setting”

        Discover ways to implement project based learning in your curriculum without altering your schedule or your classroom. You can make PBL work in a traditional setting with some creativity and teamwork. We will review the foundations of PBL and share resources we use to engage students in authentic, collaborative learning.


Pam Millikan, Former Middle School Principal and AMLE President, “Go from Surviving to Thriving in Your First Year of Teaching”

        First Year Teachers or New Teachers: Are you scared, anxious, worried, prepared, or confident for your first day in the classroom? Attend this session to learn tips and strategies from veteran education professionals. Learn ideas for creating a successful classroom where all students learn and thrive. Leave with websites, organizations, and professional contacts to help you throughout your career. Meet other first year professionals who will become your own professional learning community throughout the year as questions arise. Finally, leave confident that you are prepared to face the first days with your awesome middle school students!


Kaley Esselborn, Schools Manager, EVERFI, “Preparing Students for the Real World with Free Online Resources”

        Are your students equipped with the critical life skills they need to thrive beyond the classroom? From financial literacy to career exploration, entrepreneurship, healthy relationships, mental health, leadership, and more, EVERFI's free online resources help tackle the real world issues facing students today. Everyone who attends this presentation will be given access to resources they can start using with students immediately, plus ongoing technical and curriculum support at no cost. To get the most out of the session, make sure to bring your tablet or laptop.



Whitcomb Ballroom Rounds


Lindsay Hafft, Science Teacher, South Ripley Junior High, “Empowering Science Teachers to Help Improve State Test Scores”                                

        Science teachers are able to help Math and Language Arts teacher increase states score by incorporating all subject skills within their content area. In this session, I will provide 3 - 7th grade science lessons that incorporate tested reading, writing, and math skills. As non-tested content teachers become more familiar with tested content and skills, they will be able to work collaboratively with other grade level teachers to customize lessons to their student's data.


Katie Powell, Teacher, Southmont Junior High, “Worksheet Busters: Easy, Low Prep Activities You Can Use Again and for Any Content”

Learn to turn ordinary worksheets into active, collaborative, memorable learning experiences

that can be used over and over again for virtually any content with little to no preparation. Imagine the response when you dump colorful balls in the middle of your room, tell students to turn their worksheets into paper airplanes, or pit them against an unpredictable timer. Curious? They will be too. And they'll want to come back for more tomorrow.


Fay Gore, National Geographic Educator Network, “Developing Student Leaders through Inquiry”

        National Geographic invites you to join a movement of educators empowering students to think like explorers and make a difference. In this interactive session, participants will learn about National Geographic's Geo-Inquiry Process and tools (including mapping, photography, videography, storytelling and more) to integrate real world projects into middle school classrooms. Come and explore how you and your students can work with National Geographic to investigate and change the world.         

Marion Classrooms


Eric Grim, Principal, and Lori Church, Instructional Coach, Muncie Community Schools; Sheryl Stump, Professor, Ball State University, “Restructuring a Middle School Math Program to Meet Today’s Standards and Assessments Using the Eight Effective Mathematical Practices”

We will introduce the Effective Mathematical Practices and discuss how to build a lesson plan using them. Once lesson plans have been constructed, participants will see an example lesson. Finally, we will show how to observe and debrief the lesson. Participants will walk away with many resources including the effective practices, lesson plan templates, observation forms, debriefing questions, and a variety of other tools that will be beneficial in restructuring their math program to meet current standards and assessments.



Deb Sachs, Assistant Professor, University of Indianapolis, “Getting Beyond Forgetting: Capitalizing on What We Know about Learning and Memory”

        Do you ever think, "I just taught that, why don't you remember it?" In this interactive session, learn how the brain stores and retrieves information. Experience a variety of strategies that can be used in any classroom to take advantage of synaptic plasticity, encoding and retrieval mechanisms. Leave empowered to make instructional decisions and design lessons that capitalize on using a variety of sensory inputs and rehearsal and elaboration strategies to strengthen your students' learning.                         


Brandon Cloud, Coordinator of Experiential Learning; and Janie Ulmer, Director, Hamilton Southeastern Fishers Academy; “Making Learning Meaningful and Relevant for ALL Students”

        What is the best way to engage students? As a follow-up to last year’s popular presentations by  educators from Hamilton Southeastern, learn about different ways you can design a continuum of services while employing best practices to meet the needs of students with exceptionalities.


Marilyn Leatherman, Bullying Prevention Trainer and Presenter, “Making Your School Bully Safe”

This BullySafe presentation defines exactly what bullying is/isn't, describes the types of bullying, why bullies bully, how we can help bullies change, what one should do if being bullied, signs to look for if a student is being bullied, the importance of being an upstander, why and how to apologize, and the POWER OF KINDNESS. Attendees will learn “bully” prevention information and strategies they can share with their colleagues in order to create a safer, happier, and more productive learning environment. For middle grades the session will focus on “bullying” on the social network.



Whitcomb Ballroom Rounds


Daryl Werner, Principal, Manchester Elementary School; Destiny Rutzel, Principal, South Ripley Junior High, “eLearning Best Practices Panel Discussion”

        This panel discussion will include principals from several districts who have implemented eLearning in their districts. Each will share what eLearning looks like in their districts and be available to answer questions and share ideas with those who have implemented eLearning or are considering it. DOE no longer requires schools to apply for or report holding an eLearning day, and it is expected that more schools will explore this option.


Dr. Meredith McAllister, Associate Professor, Butler University, ”STEM-ulating Activities on Human Ecology”

        Teaching human ecology makes for relevant lessons in the life and earth sciences that also brings in math, literacy and social science content. In this hands-on session, the presenter will lead participants in small-group problem solving, data analysis, online tool demonstration and discussion that cover a range of human ecology topics including human population and natural resource use trends, and their resulting impacts on ecosystems, biodiversity, climate and the availability of fresh water. A variety of teaching techniques will be outlined for a truly inclusive classroom. Participants will receive lesson plans in an electronic format matched to Indiana Academic Standards.


MeLissa J Williams, (Eastern Band Cherokee) Director of the Native American Indian Affairs and Commission, “Moving Past the Feathers and Mascots: Let’s Talk about Being Native in the Indiana Classroom

        Diversity, inclusion, and cultural competency in education are key to building the next future leaders of America. As educators and community stakeholders, it’s our responsibility to ensure that students are well-rounded throughout their K-12 years and beyond. In this session, we’ll take a look at Native American history and culture, and give you the tools you need to increase your cultural competency and promote Native sensitivity in the classroom.


Laurie Ferry, Director of Professional Learning, CIESC, “Creating Assessment-Capable Learners in the Middle Grades”

        Assessment-Capable Learners defines students who are responsible for their learning and aware of their progress and success and seek to understand how to get better. How do we create these types of learners in our classrooms? We will examine the characteristics of a classroom and school culture that create the environment necessary for students to achieve the label of 'assessment capable learners'. These students strive for excellence have the motivation to learn. Think about the impact this could have on iLearn scores! In this session we will use the Visible Learning work of John Hattie to answer these questions and many more.


Madeline Mason, Mindfulness and Social Emotional Learning Coach, MSD Washington Township, “SEL, Equity, and Mindfulness: Supporting Teachers to Support Students and Create Equitable Schools”

        We have all heard of mindfulness in the classroom, anti-bias and anti-racist equity work being implemented in schools and districts, as well as socio-emotional learning. But, how do these three buckets all connect and actually depend on one another for successful implementation of all three? This session will help participants make these connections as well as teach strategies for supporting teachers to operate through these lenses. This session follows a framework called Mindful Equity developed by the presenter, an experienced teacher and coach.                



Shirley Wright, Executive Director, IMLEA; Jean Sienkowski, Principal, Benjamin Franklin Middle School; Doyle Dunshee, Principal, Lebanon Middle School; Dr. Matt Maple, Principal, Sunman Dearborn Middle School;  “The Power of Becoming a School to Watch

Our panel will discuss how being designated as a "School to Watch" prepares students to be lifelong learners ready for college, career, and citizenship., Schools to Watch are academically excellent, responsive to the developmental needs and interests of young adolescents, and socially equitable. Schools to Watch® is an initiative of the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform Schools to Watch. IMLEA is an Approved Technical Assistance Partner for Indiana DOE


Rachel Patton, Science Teacher, Paul Hadley Middle School, “No More F’s, No More Excuses- One Strategy to Encourage a Growth Mindset”                                

Middle school students, see also: apathetic adolescent. This session explores one strategy, referred to as "Ketchup and Pickle Day," as a classroom pillar to promote students to be reflective and motivated to complete missing work and retake failing assignments. By offering this day periodically, teachers provide a restorative practice to give struggling students time and opportunity, while simultaneously challenging strong students to enrich their understanding of the curriculum through enrichment projects. This session describes how this strategy works, how to implement, and still keep your sanity with extra grading.