2022 Midwinter Conference Learning Sessions | Michigan Association of Superintendents & Administrators

All of the sessions below will be held at the 2022 Midwinter Conference, Jan. 19-21, 2022.

Wednesday, January 19

1 p.m. – 3 p.m.        General Session

Innovation Magic: Discovering What’s Possible
Keynote Speaker Mark Robinson

Learn how a magician starts with an impossible goal and works backwards to innovate solutions. Professional magician, comedian, author, and motivational speaker Mark Robinson reveals this, along with audience interactive examples of how easily we are distracted from what we should be focused on. Learn how important the “little things” are to someone’s impression of you, and how to create “wow” moments for others.

3:15 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.         Concurrent Learning Sessions

Bringing Solar to Michigan’s K-12 Community
Ray Telman, Michigan Schools Energy Cooperative/BRITE

The Michigan Schools Energy Cooperative have developed a turn-key solar energy program for Michigan schools. Our session will introduce this creative and one-of-a-kind opportunity.

Key Takeaways: Is solar right for your district; Learn about the MISEC-BRITE turnkey opportunity Trusted savings.


iPad and Reading Achievement in Middle School
Tim Schigur, Director of Education, Diamond Assets, LLC

This will be a discussion on the use of the iPad in reading instruction at the middle school level. There will be evidence of engagement and academic achievement increases based on assessment and student survey data. Presenter will talk through ways staff engaged the students using various applications and the positive impacts with this instructional technology.

Key Takeaways: The use of data evidence when implementing instructional technology; Ways to set the stage for successful professional development; Creating a vision based on student achievement.


The Basics of Real Estate Transactions
Piotr M. Matusiak and Christopher J. Iamarino, Thrun Law Firm

School districts are often eager to put pen to paper when buying or selling property. But before board approval of the purchase and before any purchase agreement is signed, school officials need to consider steps involved in buying or selling property such as environmental assessments and title work on the property. Another overlooked step when selling or leasing property is any outstanding tax-exempt bonds associated with the property that school officials need to consider. This session will guide you through the important steps and requirements when purchasing or selling real estate.

Key Takeaways: Participants will learn: (1) The necessary steps needed before completing a real estate sale or purchase; (2) How to avoid common problems when selling or purchasing property; and (3) Other situations that may arise when planning to sell property.


The 5 C’s of Effective Communication
Chelsey Martinez, Chief of Staff, Director of Communications, MASA

Communication is part of everything we do and as district leaders, it’s a key part of your role. Participants in this session will learn how to best approach communicating with all types of stakeholders and “meet them where they are.” Leave the session with research-based tools and techniques to streamline your outreach, shake up your current methods, and up your communication game. Participants are encouraged to have a recent email or other communication available for personal review during the session.


Designing for Staff and Student Wellness: Global Trends in Physical SEL Spaces
Ellen Duff, Senior Designer, Fielding International; Kimberly Rowland, Learning Experience Coordinator, Grand Rapids Public Schools; and, Michael Posthumus, Senior Learning Designer, Fielding International

Student and staff personal wellness has become an exponentially growing area of focus for school leadership following the unprecedented impacts of COVID-19 on schools and districts. Around the world, district and building leaders are developing new strategies that leverage physical spaces to support social-emotional learning and personal wellness for both students and staff. This session will showcase and explore several innovative designs and strategies for creating new environments within school and district facilities to provide more holistic SEL and wellness support for both students and adults. Through exploring different patterns of design, participants will consider ways to add SEL and wellness support to existing schools.

Key Takeaways: Attendees will learn how the environment can support and enhance social-emotional learning and student wellness. Attendees will be introduced to new patterns of space use for professional work and personal wellness. Ideas for creating and prototyping new SEL support spaces for students and staff that any district or building could implement.


Designing a World-Class System of Career and Technical Education in the Kalamazoo Area
George Kacan, Education Market Sector Leader, Wightman; David Campbell, Superintendent, Kalamazoo RESA; Sarah Mansberger, Business and Community Relations, Kalamazoo RESA; Greg Monberg, Director of Architecture, Wightman

The competition for talent in Michigan is fierce. You hear about it in the media and see it in “Help Wanted” signs on storefronts. We listen as employers express concern over a drought of skilled labor for jobs – many of them high-paying – and advertise out-of-state for workers, poach from each other, or give up altogether in the search for young, skilled talent. Too many young people leave school without the skills employer’s desire, without a plan or hope for the future. This session will outline the process to develop and design a World-Class CTE program and a facility that serves the needs of both students and the community in which it resides. Strategic Visioning: the why, “schools must prepare ALL our students with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to earn a living, participate in society, and pursue their dreams.” — Michael F. Rice, Ph.D., Superintendent, Kalamazoo Public Schools.


Understanding Millage Proposals & the Headlee Rollback
Matthew F. Hiser and Ryan J. Nicholson, Thrun Law Firm, P.C.

Understand how your school district can utilize different voter-authorized millages to receive funding from local sources. This session will cover the different millages available to school districts (and their uses) and strategies to maximize funding and counteract potential Headlee rollbacks.

Key Takeaways: Participants will learn: (1) The various millages available to school districts; (2) How millages and Headlee hedges can be used to increase and maintain local funding sources; and (3) The procedures and timing necessary to get millages on the ballot.


Social/Emotional Learning Through Curriculum and School Design
Jeff Hoag, Architect/K12 Practice Leader, GMB Architecture + Engineering; Roger Bearup, Superintendent, Grandville Public Schools; Christy Buck, LLBSW, Executive Director, Founder, Mental Health Foundation, Be Nice Program

The welfare and well-being of students impacts entire communities. Schools that focus on mental health and social/emotional learning with their students foster deeper connections and develop skills like listening, teamwork, and relationship building. This type of instructional strategy can also positively impact the mental health of students by fostering connections and communication. In this conversation, we will share the story of how a mental health organization partnered with local schools to implement research-based strategies. We will share how Grandville Public Schools in Grandville, Michigan, piloted this program of instructional strategy in all grades, the ways it has evolved since its launch in 2011, and the impact it has had in the built environment.

Key Takeaways: Learning Objective 1 – Learn components of an evidence-based mental health program for schools. Learning Objective 2 -Understand a framework for individual action that can impact others’ mental health. Learning Objective 3 – Understand age-appropriate programs that districts can implement to produce a positive campus climate and create mental health awareness. Learning Objective 4 – Identify both large and small design elements that support social and emotional learning and development.


Helping a Community to Thrive Across all Sectors by Implementing Positive Psychology
John M. Searles, Superintendent, of Midland County ESA and Holly Miller, CEO, Midland County United Way and Community Advocate

Presenters will discuss the positive psychology model we have implemented, how we are disseminating information through classes and training opportunities, and we will discuss community data to show how Midland County is being impacted by the work.

Key Takeaways: Participants will learn how leaders in Midland County have worked to implement the tenants of positive psychology across the community in order to move closer to our community vision captured in our motto: Together. Forward. Bold. An exceptional place where everyone thrives.


Intentional Relationships Through Restorative Practices
Dr. Dania Bazzi, Superintendent, Ferndale Public Schools/2022 Michigan Superintendent of the Year and Johanna Mracna, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum & Instruction, Ferndale Public Schools

 Ferndale Schools is moving from a traditional discipline approach to an approach based on research that supports social-emotional and optimal brain development. Restorative Practice is a movement to community/relationship-based approach that starts with a conscious, mindful adult. From the work of Dr. Becky Bailey there are 7 powers we as adults must continue to remember, utilize, and believe in. The more we understand the importance of being calm, present, and attuned in the face of disorder the better we are able to respond and not react in times of distress. The conscious awareness and emotional intelligence of the adult is integral to the short-term and long-term success of the situation and student.


Supporting District Leadership Through Technology: Statewide Resources to Support Local Needs
Kurt Rheaume, Executive Director of IT Solutions, Wayne RESA, Chair of METL, Matt McMahon, Associate Superintendent for Technology, Gratiot-Isabella RESD; Chair of METL Cybersecurity Task Force

Learn about the collaborative work of ISD Technology leaders through the MAISA METL group to produce cutting-edge Michigan K-12 resources to keep students, staff, and communities online. METL members will share technology planning tools in MICIP, cybersecurity training resources (MiSecure.org) and connectivity initiatives (MiConnect). Hear how these successful collaborations have mitigated some of the challenges of attracting and retaining technology talent. Last year MiConnect coordinated the distribution of $25 million dollars directly to districts to offset costs and increase connectivity.

Key Takeaways: There are Michigan-specific K-12 resources for districts to prioritize funding to secure technology. There are Michigan-specific K-12 resources to districts to train staff on cybersecurity. There are established collaborations to provide guidance for implementing, maintaining, and securing technology in Michigan schools.

Thursday, January 20

7 a.m. – 8:15 a.m.     Equity Breakfast


 Leading Equity-Developing Promising Practices for MASA
Facilitators: Dr. Sarena Shivers & Dr. Brian Davis, MASA 

Join other leaders across the state as we begin to develop a strategic vision/plan for MASA that supports the continued development of current and aspiring school leaders. The discussion will focus on the Michigan Department of Education’s newly adopted standards for leadership certification based upon the National Educational Leadership Program (NELPS) and the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). Both NELPS and CAEP have an emphasis on school/district leaders demonstrating the capacity to develop and maintain a supportive, equitable, culturally responsive, and inclusive school district culture.  The outcome of this session will be to identify district leaders who desire to continue in this work as we develop MASA’s equity strategic plan. Participation is limited to 30 individuals. Breakfast will be provided.

NOTE: The room is limited to 30 participants. This session is first-come, first-served. We will not be accepting RSVPs.

8:30 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.        General Session

Coming Soon!

10:30 a.m.  – 11:45 a.m.       Concurrent Learning Sessions


One Size Fits None: Meet the New Breed of LMS Transforming Special Education
Dr. Yair Shapiro, Founder and CEO, Amplio; Jack Dilanian, Amplio

Join our session to learn how technology, in its current and future state, will power special education strategies to cultivate self-sustaining solutions that deliver evidence-based curricula and structured protocols faster and more cost effectively. Session Description: Districts are getting comfortable with learning platforms and embracing models to operationalize it. This has resulted in various technology solutions emerging to address the immediate needs of special education. The complex landscape of SpecialEd has triggered an increased focus and sense of urgency to implement or harden learning management solutions for exceptional children. Forward-thinking districts and educators are taking advantage of this situation to implement special education solutions that help children reach their full potential in this new learning landscape. A new breed of learning platform can solve the immediate needs of special education while giving districts the ability to quickly scale and implement a targeted learning management solution (LMS) exclusively for SpEd.

Key Takeaways: How to implement smart, evidence-based curricula, and structured protocols for a variety of special needs. Leveraging AI-powered adaptive learning to give special education 23 students personalized stimuli and positive reinforcement toward mastering goals. Advantages of automating continuous data collection and monitoring student progress in real-time to ensure compliance and reduce cognitive load.


GEARup2LEAD, a K-12 Partnership Designed to Change the World One Student at a Time
Adam Hartley, Superintendent, Fenton Area Schools

 This session will outline the partnership between Fenton Area Public Schools and GEARup2LEAD, a 501c3 non-profit organization located in Flint, MI. In doing so, participants will learn how a K-12 public school district is attracting students and retaining students while providing a robust education to 4th-12th grade students outside the traditional setting. The key focus of the presentation will be the GEARup2GROW Micro-School where 4th-8th grade students learn through community transformative projects. The G.E.A.R. concepts of Growth Mindset, Empathy, Action and Responsibility will also be highlighted so participants can add to their list of interventions for alternative students.

Key Takeaways: 1) Examples and strategies on how to partner with community organizations to enhance the learning opportunities for alternative students; 2) The knowledge of how outside the box partnerships can be funded and how these partnerships are changing how K-12 schools approach alternative education; 3) Awareness of how a K-12 school district can create learning opportunities for both in-district and school of choice alternative education students that is purposeful, meaningful and leads to success in both career and college readiness.


Look at The Heart First
Kevin Szawala, National Youth Speaker, Mr. Peace, Inc. 501(c)(3)

In light of the recent tragedy here in our state, the hope for human kindness is needed now more than ever. So is the necessity of seeing everyone for their heart before anything else, and realizing how just one word or action can change a life forever. Knowing these truths and that at the core of violence are hurt people who hurt people, this presentation will provide solutions for how we become healed people who heal people. Along with tangible ways on how to improve school climate and overall student and staff wellness, attendees will also leave this session with a better understanding of the bullying epidemic facing our youth and the social media trends exacerbating this issue.

Key Takeaways: 1) Gain a comprehensive look at the mental and emotional state of our young people and the influential effects of social media on their health. 2) Explore the need for proactive heart-focused programming in our schools that supports the overall well-being of our youth. 3) Focus on creating a school environment where every child and teacher feels safe, loved and celebrated.


Construction Contract Negotiations: An Overlooked Step
Kirk C. Herald and Philip G. Clark, Thrun Law Firm, P.C.

After the arduous process involved in capital improvement projects, including facility assessments, planning, and obtaining financing, many school districts are rushed to start construction. Standard form American Institute of Architect agreements require modification for use by school districts and to address Michigan law. This session will outline the role of the construction professionals, delivery methods, including “CM At-Risk” and “CMAdvisor”, competitive bidding, and requirements for projects funded with ESSER and other federal funds.

Key Takeaways: Participants will learn: (1) The differences between various architect and CM relationships; (2) The legal requirements related to school construction projects; and (3) How to start a project correctly.


Where Did This Talk of Systemic School Reform Come From?
Dave Campbell, Superintendent, Kalamazoo RESA

This presentation will focus on some of Michigan’s educational reform efforts over the years and how they compare to the top performing states and nations.  We will look at some of the core elements of top performing educational systems of public education that have helped them increase their focus on the academic, social, and emotional needs of kids.  This intentionally designed focus has lead to better outcomes for a higher percentage of their children who are entering the global economy than in other jurisdictions.  Connections will be drawn to the work of Launch Michigan.


Mapping the District Journey to Personalized Learning and Growth
Mark Schneiderman, Senior Director, Future of Teaching and Learning, D2L, John R. VanWagoner II, Superintendent, Traverse City Area Public Schools; Daniel O’Connor, Superintendent, Alcona Community Schools; David Rabbideau, Superintendent, Alpena Public Schools; William Heath, Superintendent, Portland Public Schools

 Emerging from the pandemic, we have opportunity and obligation to accelerate learning innovation to better meet student needs and expectations. Join peer superintendents for a frank discussion about how we can use this unique time as a catalyst to further reimagine the classroom toward increased student agency, engagement, and personalized pathways. They will share their journey of system growth enabled by curriculum, technology, and professional learning redesign.

Key Takeaways: 1. Gain a vision and framework for how to reimagine the classroom at this unique moment to increase student engagement, deepen learning, and better support student growth. 2. Learn from the journeys of peer district leaders how to co-construct and implement a more student-centered, personalized learning model for all students. 3. Understand how a learning vision, curriculum redesign, digital tools, and professional learning can be blended across modalities to drive system and student growth.


The 40-Billion-Dollar EdTech Horizon: Forecasting the Future of Learning in a Rapidly Expanding Industry
Ken Dirkin, Senior Director of the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute and Scott Watkins, Senior Director of Business Strategy, Michigan Virtual

 Investment in K-12 educational technology grew from $500 million in 2010 to $16 billion in 2019. By 2025, this investment is expected to grow to a whopping $40 billion. In this session, we’ll explore questions such as: What’s on the horizon for EdTech? What is changing with investment, and where is this money going? Given the dynamic landscape of both technological infrastructure and instructional practices, how might we forecast the future of learning? What can district leaders do to start planning for these changes now? Change is coming. Are you plotting a course?


Equity Leadership Dispositions of the Superintendent
Kevin Polston, Superintendent, Kentwood Public Schools

Essential to the superintendency is leading for equity. During this session, attendees will explore research-based equity leadership dispositions that will identify and address inequities in schools and districts. Equity driven leadership from superintendents will create the conditions for each child to be successful!

Key Takeaways: 1. A framework for leaders to self-reflect on their own assumptions, beliefs, and behavior 2. Tools to evaluate disproportionality in schools and district. 3. Strategies to utilize with school leaders to embed equitable practices into all leadership actions.


The Role of Organizational Wellbeing in Talent Attraction and Retention
Chadd Hodkinson, Area Vice President and Doug Derks, Area Senior Vice President Gallagher Benefit Services, Inc.

 As the nature of work changes, issues related to stress and burnout are diminishing resiliency and overall employee engagement. Join us as we discuss the changing objective and demographics of today’s workforce and stressors by generation, the workplace issues that reduce 21 resiliency, the relationship between resiliency, burnout and employee engagement and what employers are doing.

Key Takeaways: Attendees will learn: – The linkage between organizational wellbeing and talent attraction/retention – Key drivers for burnout and disengagement – Practical strategies to enhance organizational wellbeing.


Beyond Equity: MASA’s 18-Month Professional Learning Support Through the Lens of the Novi Community School District
Brian Davis, Associate Executive Director for Professional Learning, MASA; Dr. Steven Matthews, Dr. Melissa Jordan, Dr. RJ Webber and Darby Hoppenstedt, Novi School District

MASA recognizes the increasing need to assist leaders in their continued interpersonal understanding of social justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion. We are living in an era where we must continue to confront the issues surrounding these topics given the historical impact on the preK-12 education system and continued demographic shift in the students that we serve. The intersection of multiple social identities, systemic practices, and deep-rooted challenges is impacting the achievement of students across our state. As we deepen our own learning around privilege, implicit bias, microaggressions, and the intersectionality of social identities, we can begin to have a systemic impact. This session will highlight MASA’s Beyond Equity 18-month professional development program and the journey of the Novi Community School District.

Key Takeaways: 1. Understanding of MASA’s Beyond Equity Program-what to expect, curriculum outcomes, district audit, and ongoing coaching support. 2. Attending to the journey of one school district and understanding the impact it is having on themselves as district leaders and the systemic impact they hope to achieve. 3. How to get started on one’s own personal/professional journey as a social justice champion.


1:45 p.m. – 3 p.m.         Concurrent Learning Sessions

EduPaths: MAISAs Professional Learning Platform – Are you taking full advantage of this ISD-Built FREE Resource?
Molly Bruzewski, Content Coordinator and Anthony Buza, Project Manager, EduPaths

 EduPaths (edupaths.org) is a FREE Professional Learning platform that Michigan educators around the state are actively engaging with. EduPaths has 350+ FREE courses, 99% are SCECH eligible. EduPaths works with educators to share classroom best practices as well as with various statewide partners to share resources. Our statewide partners include MAISA, Michigan eLibrary, MiMTSS, Early Literacy, and Early Mathematics, among many others. There is something here for everyone with lots of room to grow! EduPaths is uniquely positioned to collaborate with service agencies to share resources with educators in your region and to provide them statewide.

Key Takeaways: What is EduPaths? How can differentiated Professional Learning be leveraged in your area? Where are opportunities for collaboration on a regional and statewide level?


Future of Learning Council – What Are We Currently Discussing About the Future of Learning in Michigan
Christopher Timmis, Superintendent, Dexter Community Schools; Dr. John VanWagoner, Dr. Dave Richards, Dr. Kelly Coffin, Other FLC Members 

Members of the Future of Learning Council will provide an update of their discussions regarding the future of learning in Michigan. This discussion will include a mixture of brief mini-presentations and open panel discussions on topics like leading a community/district through the creation of a Profile of a Graduate, Student Apprenticeship Programs, Extended Learning Opportunities, Microschools, Flexible Pathways for students, Project-Based Learning, Place-Based Learning, and other topics participants would like to explore.

Key Takeaways: Multiple ways to lead your community and district through the creation of a Profile of a Graduate and how to use the Profile to shift learning in your district. Trends in education around innovation (i.e., Student Apprenticeship Programs, Extended Learning Opportunities, Microschools, Flexible pathways for students, etc). Networking with the Future of Learning Council members.


 Are Tomorrows Cyber Scams in Your Inbox Today?
Steve Privasky, Sales Manager and Paul Grienke, Insurance Education Specialist, SET SEG

Administrators may think their systems are secure, but cybercriminals are continually creating new cheats to get past your protections. As their attempts become more elaborate and harder to recognize, your districts become more of a target for bad actors. In this session, you’ll walk through real-life cyberattack scenarios and common missteps from our claim files, top awareness, and mitigation strategies, and important first steps to take if a breach does occur in your district. You will also learn the benefits of connecting with a cyber defense partner and how their services can help districts avoid falling victim to scams.

Key Takeaways: Discover common phishing attempts and online scams employed by cybercriminals. Learn the steps you should take immediately after a breach occurs to mitigate further danger. Learn about current protection tactics and defense strategies from a leading national cybersecurity incident response team.


Selection Development Policies, School Libraries, and Our Student’s Freedom to Read
Carrie Betts, School Librarian and Elementary Library Facilitator, West Maple Elementary Library/Birmingham Public Schools

Selection policies for school library collections and for instructional materials are being critically reviewed during a time when it is essential to support multiple viewpoints and ensure our students have access to the information they need to thrive. This session will share how to develop policies that protect the interests of your students and give confidence to your administrators when faced with community members that wish to restrict access to information. This session will also share resources for developing inclusive collections to ensure students have access at their point of need. 48 Takeaways: 1. An outline of components in an effective materials selection policy. 2. A review of the Library Bill of Rights centering in on a Student’s Freedom to Read. 3. Resources for developing inclusive collections for our students.


Trademarks and Copyrights in Schools
Philip G. Clark, Thrun Law Firm, P.C.

This presentation will cover the basics of trademark and copyright laws in the school context. For instance, a school logo represents not only a rich source of community pride but also a trademark that should be protected from unauthorized users. The reverse is also true as a school’s unauthorized use of online images, which are subject to a copyright, can subject a school district to costly claims of infringement.

Key Takeaways: Participants will learn: (1) The dos and don’ts when it comes to protecting their schools’ intellectual property; (2) How to avoid the misuse of copyrighted material; and (3) How to vet opportunities that may arise for your school district.


Upstream Suicide Prevention for the Whole School Community – Be Nice
Christine Buck, Executive Director and Cat Lanting, Program Director, Mental Health Foundation of West Michigan

Participants will learn the be nice. action plan for mental health and suicide prevention education. be nice. is an evidence based, upstream prevention program for K-12 schools that equips students, staff, and parents with a tool to notice changes in mental health, invite caring and educated conversations about mental health, challenge an individual to utilize resources available, and empowerment through protective factors for mental health. Participants of this session will leave with an understanding of the need for upstream mental health and suicide prevention initiatives and understand how be nice. can create a culture shift within a school and its community.

Key Takeaways: Participants will be able to: – define upstream mental health and suicide prevention education for a whole school community. – demonstrate how using a common language action plan (be nice. – notice, invite, challenge, empower) can receive evidence-based outcomes for school connectedness, resource sharing and suicide prevention behaviors. – understand how be nice. can fit into a MTSS model like PBIS and SEL learning.


Capital Planning – Management and Steps Involved in the Process
Max Hotchkin, Director, Huntington Securities; Nate Watson, PFM & Jeff Malloch, West Ottawa Public Schools and Fredrick Heidemann, Thrun Law Firm.

This session will discuss capital planning and the steps involved. Identifying projects that may be handled through the general fund, a sinking fund, or a millage. How to manage the associated funds and entering the bond market after a successful election. Takeaways: Planning for an upcoming Election.; Capital Projects and Debt Funds – How to plan and manage.; Entering the Bond Market once there is a successful election.


Virtual Community Engagement: Moving Beyond Candy and Colored ‘Post-it’ Notes
Tim Wilson, Superintendent, Clawson Public Schools; Amy Scoby, Vice President, The Christman Company; Brian Smilnak, Vice President, Wakely Associates, Inc.

In the fall of 2020, Clawson Public Schools faced a significant crossroads brought on by a decade of declining population, a building utilization rate of 54%, structural financial challenges, and an aging infrastructure. In the height of COVID-19 social distancing, the district needed to work with the community to reimagine its future—failure was not an option. In August 2021, voters approved a $55.9 million bond proposal, including the closure of two buildings, by an overwhelming margin of 4 to 1 in support of the plan. This session will provide best practice tips and hands-on experience with virtual community engagement techniques and tools, for use with bond development or for other planning needs.

Key Takeaways: 1. Learn best practices in successfully setting up and carrying out virtual community engagement to work through complex challenges with diverse stakeholder groups. 2. Experience virtual community engagement tools and strategies that are effective in spurring meaningful input and ensuring all participants have their voices heard. 3. Discuss your barriers to engagement and learn proven strategies to overcome those challenges.


Succession Planning Using the Horizon Leadership Academy
Michele Lemire, Horizon Leadership Coordinator, and Dr. Brian Davis, MASA

Do you know an aspiring leader within your district who does not yet possess their administration certificate or central office endorsement? Come to this session to learn how you can “grow your own” administrators and future superintendents by participating in MASA’s Horizon Leadership Academy. Session attendees will learn about the structural details of this MDE approved alternative pathway to certification, components of the curriculum, and how the job-embedded homework activities and projects can support your district work right now. Takeaways: Attendees will have a solid understanding of the updated Horizon Leadership Academy Curriculum. Attendees will learn how districts have utilized the program to help aspiring leaders within their district to get their Administration Certificate and Central Office Endorsement within the two -year program, saving time and money. Attendees will be able to offer input on additional curriculum additions and enhancements they believe will benefit their districts as cohort members move through the program.


Developing Trust as a Governance Team: A Key Ingredient in Student Achievement
Jay Bennett, Assistant Director of Executive Search Services, Greg Sieszputowski, Debbie Stair, MASB

An effective and trusting governance team is a key component for districts as they strive to continue their work in school improvement and increasing student academic achievement. Please join former board members and current school board association professionals in an engaging conversation about strategies for identifying team trust behaviors and the modeling of openness, equity, and reliability.

Key Takeaways: 1) Strategies for modeling expected behaviors; 2) An understanding of different strategies for developing trust as a governance team; 3) Why an effective governance team is important for student achievement.


3 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.         Snack & Learn Sessions

Tools to Relieve Employee Stress
Jim Baker, Field Representative, Area 7, MESSA

With a constantly changing world, MESSA is committed to helping education employees thrive by finding work-life balance and overall well-being with our continued focus on health and wellness. MESSA understands that every person is different and every one of us needs to be able to focus not only on one’s self but also on one’s work environment. MyStressTools is a suite of tools that exemplifies how each person, no matter their environment, can self-identify positive steps towards their own well-being and get personalized guidance along the way. As employers and leaders, I encourage you to seek ways in which you can assist your greatest asset — your employees — by implementing hands on tools that are accessible whenever they need them.


Attracting and Keeping Students – Strengthening Enrollment Efforts
Dan Applegate, Superintendent, Niles Community Schools and Joe DiBenedetto, Managing Director, Lambert & Co.

The competition for students has never been greater. Learn how to maximize student enrollment and retention through integrated marketing.


Executive Compensation: How to Navigate the Complexities of Superintendent Compensation
W&C Executive Services

When structuring a compensation package there are often items overlooked by both the Board of Education and Superintendent that could have a drastic impact on your current and long-term retirement income.  Knowing how to advocate for yourself when structuring a compensation package can mean the difference in hundreds of thousands of dollars of retirement income.  Whether you are looking at re-working your current contract or structuring your initial compensation package with a new district it is crucial you have an advocate looking out for your best interest.

In this presentation we will address ways to structure your compensation to help maximize benefits while meeting the School Board’s objectives.

Topics will include:

  • Includable vs Non-includable Compensation
  • Includable compensation other than base salary
  • Increasing pension income through the use of Non-Includable Compensation


Media Center 2.0
Suzanne Carlson, French Associates, Inc.

Within our lifetime, many of us have witnessed the transition in K-12 terminology from “library” to “media center”. But in many cases, we are already seeing a second transition in the life of media centers. Whether partly due to the pandemic, or other ongoing educational factors, media centers in some schools have become underutilized and lacking in purpose.

Join us as we share an informative discussion on what the next iteration of the media center will look like. Realize the true collaborative and unlocked potential within your school’s footprint. Learn what your Media Center 2.0 can become!

Session Outline:

  • Current purpose/uses of Media Centers
  • Factors behind the underutilization
  • Changing face/purpose of Media Centers
  • What Media Center 2.0 looks like


Toolkit for Building School Resilience as a Pathway to Innovation and Equity
Mark Schneiderman, Senior Director, Future of Teaching & Learning, D2L

Recent events have exposed the fragility of our K–12 education system and exacerbated equity gaps. School districts now have opportunity, and responsibility, to take steps to ensure continuity of quality learning for all student through foreseeable future disruptions from extreme weather to workforce changes. How can we reimagine schools to increase their agility, flexibility, and resilience? Join this workshop to learn about a research framework and toolkit created to support you as district leaders in developing your organizational resilience toward increased educational equity and effectiveness.


Planning to Sustain Technology Resources on a Limited Budget
Tim Schigur, Director of Procurement – Midwest, Diamond Assets, LLC

Attendees will be active participants in the discussion about how to develop, implement, and sustain instructional technology plans. Topics will include planning, resource development and prioritization, and leveraging partnerships with vendors. Presenter will share experiences from district administrator lens and provide insight on how districts can maximize resources within their own districts.


5 Tips to Communicate Student Growth to your BOE using NWEA and Eidex Reports
Myra Munroe, Eidex and Leslie Armstrong, NWEA

 Eidex and NWEA partners will share tips to communicate student growth data using various reports and visualizations to your BOE.


Healthy Buildings to Facilitate Student Performance
Jeff Wagner, General Manager, Education, R-Zero

You will learn best practices, strategies, and recommendations for improving indoor health in schools, including more details on Clark County’s decision to use hospital-grade UV-C light as part of a plan to create safer spaces that promote attendance and facilitate student performance.


Using EVAAS to Support Students’ Post-Pandemic Learning
Wendy Staskiewicz and Sara McCauley, SAS, Institute, Inc.

How do we best support our students and their learning, especially those that may have been most adversely impacted by the pandemic. Powerful data tools at our disposal can point us in the direction of who is most in need of help and what help might benefit students, classrooms, and our school communities most. Join us to learn how EVAAS, a tool provided to all districts at no-cost, can help districts make sense of the data to guide the tough decisions they are facing.


3:45 p.m. – 5 p.m.         Concurrent Learning Sessions

Accelerated Leadership around Literacy and Math
Susan Townsend, Literacy Project Director, Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators; Rusty Anderson, Janelle Williams, Sean LaRosa, Dave Krebs

This interactive session will provide leaders an opportunity to identify their roles in creating a comprehensive, collaborative, and collective Birth to 12 Grade literacy and numeracy system for Michigan utilizing the MAISA/GELN Essential Instructional Practices in Literacy and Early Math Documents as the foundation.

Key Takeaways: Participants will understand the importance of building a strong Birth to Grade 12 literacy and numeracy system in Michigan and how the MAISA/GELN Essential Instructional Practices in Literacy and Math Documents, along with science and social studies content, provide the foundation of for a high-quality instructional this system. Participants will understand the importance of stakeholders working together to build a Birth to Grade 12 literacy and numeracy system that will support our recovery and success as a state. Participants will identify how they, and their work, are critical to the success in building a strong Birth to Grade 12 literacy and numeracy system in Michigan.


Capturing Kids’ Hearts: The Foundation for Social Emotional Learning
Vern Hazard, Senior Vice President, Solutions, Capturing Kids’ Hearts and Jeff Haase, Superintendent, Otsego Public Schools

Many of our students today carry unreasonable expectations, stress from home, trauma, loneliness, not to mention the deep impact that COVID-19 and social unrest have had on all of us. We know, and the research proves, the weight of these things is greatly impeding educational progress. There has never been a more critical time for Leadership to focus on Social Emotional Learning and the needs of our students and staff. We believe, “if you have a child’s heart, you have a child’s mind.” If teachers create a relational connection to students, or “Capture Kids’ Hearts®,” performance accelerates, and behaviors greatly improve because kids want to be in school. The same can be said of leadership and all staff who face challenges. When school culture is built on relationships that tend to social emotional needs, it is proven that campuses, districts, and entire communities can be transformed.

Key Takeaways: 1. Attendees will learn tools for creating social, emotional, and academic safety at all levels 2. Create an intentional culture through a relational approach to leadership 3. Learn the power of reframing and gratitude 4. Explore a communication model that lends to deeper student engagement both virtually and in-person 5. Receive key insights into the alignment of behavior to academic outcomes •Discuss strategies for positively accelerating the 5 Key Indicators of School Performance


Results from a National Study: What are the Key Components of High-Quality Online Learning Experiences for ALL Students?
Chris Harrington, Ed.D., Director of the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute and Stacey Schuh, Director of Professional Learning Services Michigan Virtual

Whatever post-pandemic learning may look like; one thing is clear: It will likely include some form of online learning experiences for students. Last year, the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute conducted a massive research study on leading national online learning programs. In this session, we’ll share the findings of this study and overview key components of providing ALL students with high-quality learning experiences. You’ll walk away with insights, resources, and guidance on what matters most when it comes to effective online teaching and learning.


Michigan Learning Channel – a Supplemental Learning Resource for Teachers and Families
Randy Liepa, Consultant and Detroit Public Television, and Gillian Gainsley, Program Director, Michigan Learning Channel

This session will create awareness around what the Michigan Learning Channel is. It will outline the content on the Michigan Learning Channel website and broadcast, how it was created just for Michigan educators and families and highlight how the resource can be accessed and that is free to users. Participants will learn how the Michigan Learning Channel can be a great resource for teachers and families in their community.

Key Takeaways: 1. Awareness of a premiere learning resource that teachers and families can use to supplement their student’s learning. 2. Recognition that the resource comes at no cost to teachers and families. 3. Knowledge that the programming has been created and vetted by Michigan educators to assure high quality and a match with the Michigan curriculum.


Moving from Dramatic to Dynamic
Matthew McCarty, Leadership and Communication Coach, MD McCarty & Associates, LLC

Drama in the educational workplace a culture crusher. It fuels anxiety, stress, and uncertainty, which leads to low morale and lack of innovation. If left unchecked, it can cause the loss of your best people. In this session, you will pick up specific tools to help you reduce workplace drama, deal effectively with drama when it occurs, and transform your teams from dramatic to dynamic.

Key Takeaways: At the end of this session, attendees will be able to: 1) Demonstrate specific tools and methods for mitigating the effects of drama when it occurs. 2) Demonstrate tools for transforming potential drama into opportunities for dynamic creativity. 3) Explain to others how choices about focus, internal state and behaviors can turn potential drama into opportunities for dynamic creativity.


Improving a Perfect School Climate: What is Better Than Great?
Kevin Starks, K12 Education Industry Segment Advisor, The Starks Group LLC

Schools spend a great deal of time creating and protecting a positive school climate. In theory, the climate within any building supporting ALL learners is welcoming, accepting, and warm. However, a “cold climate” is best understood and identified by those who are not ‘insulated’. This session will challenge traditional or textbook understandings to ensure your school climate is conducive for all learners despite their background, race, and abilities.

Key Takeaways: Attendees will walk away with an understanding and a plan for “insulating” underrepresented student groups (students of color; students with disabilities); Attendees will learn how to identify opportunity gaps and problem solve within the building/district to close those gaps. Attendees will the Rubik’s cube approach to seeing circumstances from various perspectives and angles – all in the best interest of supporting learners.


Transportation Issues: Contracting with a Vendor and Addressing the Driver Shortage
Ryan J. Murray and Ryan J. Nicholson, Thrun Law Firm, P.C.

Not every vendor contract for transportation services is created equal and the heavy lifting should be done early in the RFP process. Additionally, there are several legal and practical requirements to incorporate into these contracts.

Key Takeaways: Participants will learn: (1) Practical steps school districts can take to address the bus driver shortage; (2) Things to consider if planning to outsource or insource transportation; and (3) The legal considerations when eliminating or reducing transportation service.


Leadership Matters: One Building at a Time
Catherine Kochanski, Assistant Superintendent of Learning Services, Walled Lake Consolidated School District; Justin Syroka, Consultant for Curriculum Associates/iReady, Jeff Tompkins, Curriculum Associates

Catherine and Justin will share iReady achievement data for Walled Lake and describe their year-long professional learning outline for school principals to leverage using the data to lead change in their buildings. Scaffolded supports for building leaders in partnership with iReady’s consultants will support increased student achievement. Leading teachers to provide focused instruction and “just in time” intervention is vital for accelerated learning. District leaders will see how each unique building can unify to support District goals.

Key Takeaways: How to design a year-long professional learning calendar for principals around using iReady. How to shift building culture to focus on data-driven instructional decisions for accelerated learning. How to successfully lead “change” and unify our approach as we continue to emerge from the pandemic.


Employee Leave and ADA Refresher & Remote Work
Timothy T. Gardner, Jr., Thrun Law Firm, P.C.

This session is a refresher on the FMLA and the Americans with Disabilities Rights Act (ADA) providing information for issue spotting and how to process requests for leaves and reasonable accommodations. This session will also cover the impact of COVID-related employee leave and remote work on your school district’s current and future FMLA/ADA compliance.

Key Takeaways: Participants will learn: (1) The basic requirements on the FMLA and ADA; (2) How to address and process FMLA and ADA requests; and (3) How the FMLA and ADA impact remote work and your school district’s local policies.


Optimizing Facility Operations and PBL/WBL/STEAM Programs with Data Analytics
Alena Zachary Ross, Superintendent, Ypsilanti Community Schools; Gwen Pettit, Dan Whisler, and Bill Nelson, Trane

Energy. It is the lifeblood of our society. It is also the focus for Trane’s BTU CrewTM PBL/WBL Energy & Data Analytics curriculum, a program that assists schools in providing students in grades 4-12 with engaging opportunities for career awareness, exploration, and training. It’s interactive, interdisciplinary, and it provides the opportunity to work with high-tech industry tools as students analyze your school’s data, not a case study out of a textbook, your data. Now students don’t just study science, they “do” science and engage in WBL using your building as a “Living Learning Lab”. Join Dr. Carlos Lopez, Assistant Superintendent of Ypsilanti Community Schools, along with Gwen Pettit, Trane Comprehensive Energy Solutions Manager and Dan Whisler, Trane Educator in Residence, to see how this industry partnership is enhancing the district’s STEAM initiatives.

Key Takeaways:  1 – Attendees will learn about a successful Public-Private Partnership (P3) that is helping bridge the gap between industry and the classroom, providing support for teachers in the classroom with resources and real-world application. 2 – Attendees will learn more about the value of students earning industry-recognized certifications (IRC’s) through NC3, a non-profit organization that is opening career doors for students across the nation. 3 – Attendees will gain a better understanding of how to use ESSER funding to address facilities needs/Covid-related concerns AND get an educational ROI at the same time.


From Testing to Investigating, Creating the Conditions for Accelerated Learning
Pamela Jones, Senior Account Manager, NWEA; Mr. Randy Barton, Associate Superintendent Ovid Elsie Area Schools; Mr. Tim Neville, Senior Consultant Professional Learning, NWEA
Ovid-Elsie and NWEA share their steps toward using PLC time and protocols to drive instructional planning from assessment. Presenters will share where Ovid-Elsie is now, where they want to be, the steps taken so far to reach the goal, and the journey still to come.

Key Takeaways:  Learn assessment driven protocols and driving questions that shift focus in planning and lead to action. Focus on how you can incorporate research-based strategies that are likely to accelerate learning. Develop a plan to create the space and expectations for shifts in practice in your school that include the 4 Habits of quality PLCs.