The Michigan Department of Education’s Fall 2017 School Improvement Conference is set for Nov. 20-21 at the Lansing Center. View the conference program here.

Download and view presentations and handouts here

Overnight Rooms available at the Radisson Lansing at the Capitol 111 N. Grand Avenue, Lansing, MI 48933 by calling 1-800-333-3333 and asking for the MDE School Improvement block of rooms or at www.radisson.com/lansingmi and using the promotional code OSIC17.  Room rate:  $117.95.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Dr. Steve Perry
Dr. Steve Perry’s heart pumps passion and produces positive change. Featured in CNN’s Black in America series, Dr. Perry is the most talked about innovative educator on the scene today. Perry is the founder and principal of what U.S. News and World Report has cited as one of the top schools in the country, Capital Preparatory Magnet School in Hartford, Connecticut. Capital Prep has sent 100% of its predominantly low-income, minority, first generation high school graduates to four-year colleges every year since its first class graduated in 2006.   When Perry speaks, he reaches the heart of his audience to motivate change in themselves and their community. His secrets to success and calls to action are revealed in his new book, “Push Has Come To Shove: Getting Our Kids The Education They Deserve – Even If It Means Picking A Fight.” In addition to being the principal of Capital Preparatory Magnet School, Dr. Perry, MSW is an Education Contributor for CNN and MSNBC, an Essence Magazine columnist, best-selling author, and host of the #1 docudrama for TVONE “Save My Son.”

Day One:
7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.  Registration and Breakfast
8:30 a.m. to 8:45 a.m.  Opening Session
8:45 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.  Keynote featuring Dr. Perry
10:15 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.  Break
10:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.  Concurrent Breakout Session #1 (Dr. Perry has a breakout during this session)
11:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.  Lunch (Special recognitions)
1:00 to 1:15 p.m.  Transition to Breakout #2
1:15 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.  Concurrent Breakout Session #2
2:30 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.  Snack Break
2:45 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.  Concurrent Breakout Session #3
4:00 p.m.  Adjourn

Tuesday, November 21, 2017


Dr. John Almarode

Dr. John Almarode has worked with schools, classrooms, and teachers all over the world.  John began his career in Augusta County, Virginia, teaching mathematics and science to a wide-range of students.  Since then, he has presented locally, nationally and internationally on the application of the science of learning to the classroom, school and home environments.  He has worked with hundreds of school districts and thousands of teachers in countries as far away as Australia, Canada, England, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, South Korea, and Thailand.  Prior to making the decision to devote his time to Pre-K – 12 schools and classrooms, he was an Associate Professor in the Department of Early, Elementary, and Reading Education and the Co-Director of James Madison University’s Center for STEM Education and Outreach.  In 2015, John was named the Sarah Miller Luck Endowed Professor of Education.  At James Madison University, he worked with pre-service teachers in elementary science methods, and actively pursued his research interests including the science of learning, the design and measurement of classroom environments that promote student engagement and learning.

The work of John and his colleagues has been presented to the United States Congress, Virginia Senate, at the United States Department of Education as well as the Office of Science and Technology Policy at the White House.  John has authored multiple articles, reports, book chapters, and two books including Captivate, Activate and Invigorate the Student Brain in Science and Math, Grades 6-12 (Corwin Press, 2013).  He is currently working on the K-5 version of the same book as well as a book on Teacher Clarity with Kara Vandas and Visible Learning for Science with John Hattie, Doug Fisher, Nancy Frey, all with Corwin Press.  He is the co-editor of the Teacher Educator’s Journal.  However, what really sustains John, and his greatest accomplishment is his family.  John lives in Waynsboro, Virginia with his wife Danielle, a fellow educator, their two children, Tessa and Jackson, and Labrador retrievers, Angel and Forest.

Day Two:
7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.  Registration and Breakfast
8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.  Concurrent sessions: Dr. John Almarode, “Teaching Children in Poverty: What Works Best in Teaching and Learning” and MTSS Implementation featuring representatives from: Portage North Middle School, Portage Public Schools; Port Huron High School, Port Huron Area School District; Willie E. Thompson Middle School, Saginaw Public Schools; Pinewood Middle School, Kentwood Public Schools
11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.  Lunch
12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.  Concurrent sessions: Dr. John Almarode, “Teaching Children in Poverty: What Works Best in Teaching and Learning” and MTSS Implementation featuring representatives from: Portage North Middle School, Portage Public Schools; Port Huron High School, Port Huron Area School District; Willie E. Thompson Middle School, Saginaw Public Schools; Pinewood Middle School, Kentwood Public Schools

Dr. Almarode’s Breakout Session – (will be presented twice):

Teaching Children in Poverty: What Works Best in Teaching and Learning
Research Finding: The experiences of children in poverty have significant influence on their learning in your classroom.  This research finding has significant implications on teaching and learning in our schools and classrooms given that 1 in 6 children grow up in poverty.  Therefore, this matters to all of us!  Research from the science of learning continues to highlight the ability of our learners to make incredible learning gains in one academic year through high-impact, high-yield instructional practices.  What is even more exciting is the latest research on teachers’ mindframes demonstrates how important classroom environments are in facilitating positive change for students who grow up in impoverished environments.  Quite simply put, our DNA is not our destiny.  As educators, our main focus is how to translate this research into classroom practice, especially for those students that come from very different backgrounds?  I have great news!  This jaw-dropping workshop will look at the key components and the “must haves” for creating an enriched learning environment and positively influencing the learning outcomes of students in poverty.  Participants will develop an understanding of what enrichment is and how it can influence teaching and learning.  What school-level, classroom-level, and teacher-level factors cause the greatest change in student outcomes?  How do you create an enriched environment for every student, each and every day?  Educators will not want to miss this highly active, empowering, and motivating workshop.  Walk away with dozens of ideas and strategies ready to be to put into action!

Learning Intention:  I understand the role of poverty in teaching and student learning in my classroom.

Success Criteria:
By the end of this workshop,

  1. I can explain how children growing up in poverty are different from their peers living in middle and upper socioeconomic statuses.
  2. I can give specific examples of how these experiences influence my teaching and my students’ learning.
  3. I can identify mindframes that support greater learning outcomes in my students.
  4. I can describe evidence-based strategies that have the greatest influence on learning in my classroom.
  5. I can create learning experiences that support learning over performance.

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