Volume 5 Issue 1 | September 2019
PEP Talk

Middle Level edcamp

This Middle Level Edcamp is a free and open-to-all experience that provides sessions facilitated by participating attendees. This program addresses the actual concerns, interests, and needs of the participants. The focus is upon enhancing and improving middle level education in Wisconsin. There will be sharing of information, skills, research and best practices that can work in grades 5-8.

The sponsors are Concordia University School of Education and the Wisconsin Association for Middle Level Education [WAMLE].

Who should attend?
·       those teaching and leading in grades 5-8 in Wisconsin
·       Lutheran/Christian and public school teachers and leaders
·       Concordia students and faculty who want to share and learn more about educating middle level children

Jay Posick, principal at Merton Intermediate School will facilitate this Edcamp. See Jay on Twitter at @posickj. Additional facilitators are Shelley Joan Weiss, WAMLE Co-President, and Dr. Mike Dietz, Innovation & Global Outreach, Concordia University. You can contact Mike at michael.dietz@cuw , @mikedietz92 or 262-365-3947.

Register and obtain additional information at Eventbrite !

New Literacy Course at the Madison Concordia Center

The Concordia Department of Literacy and the Concordia Department of Educational Administration are collaborating to offer the course "Improvements in the Teaching of Literacy" (EDG 552) at the Madison Concordia Center on October 5 th -6 th and 12 th -13 th . This will be an accelerated/condensed 3-credit graduate level course that can be used in the Concordia Literacy and Educational Administration programs. The class will meet from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on the four class meetings.

Ms. Susan Alexander will be the instructor for the course. Ms. Alexander is the retired Superintendent of Schools for the Markesan School District and former principal of East Troy High School and Nicolet High School. Graduate students needing assistance with registration for this course should contact Sarah Mayer at sarah.mayer@cuw.edu or at 262-243-4557.
Uncommon Course Offerings in Educational Administration

The Concordia University Wisconsin Department of Educational Administration is offering six face-to-face and seventeen online courses during the fall of 2019. Five of the six face-to-face classes are accelerated/condensed. Eleven of the online courses are self-paced. This wide range of course offerings demonstrates Concordia's effort to deliver uncommon services to graduate students. The Concordia Department of Educational Administration is also fortunate to have outstanding educators teaching these courses. The instructors are all current or retired administrators, superintendents, or Concordia School of Education faculty members. 

Coming soon: face-to-face accelerated course EDG 537 Supervision of Instruction, taught by Dr. Samana Polek. This class is being taught October 4-6 and October 18-20, 2019.
Spotlight on New Graduate Education Director of Counseling

My name is Audrey DiMaggio Fiore.  I am the new Director of the Graduate Counseling program.  I received an undergraduate degree in elementary education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in December of 1991.  I completed a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from National Louis University in 2000 and a master’s degree in counseling from Concordia University in 2006. I also taught atConcordia University as an adjunct instructor in the Counselor Education Program in the fall of 2018.

I have spent the last 28 years in the School District of Janesville in a variety of roles: I taught both second and third grade, worked as a high school counselor at Craig High School and as an elementary school counselor at Madison Elementary School. While working for the School District of Janesville, I was one of the lead schedulers at Craig High School, was very involved in implementing RTI (Response to Intervention) at the high school, served as a leader in implementing Academic and Career plans, and served on our ELDI (Educators Leadership Development Institute) team in working to close the achievement gap. I am passionate about working with students from all age groups.  
Save the date--5th Annual Literacy Institute --June 9, 2020

Save the date for Concordia University’s 5 th annual Literacy Institute, which will be held Tuesday, June 9 th in 2020.

We are excited to announce that literacy expert Jan Richardson, winner of the Learning Magazine Choice Awards for Professional Development, will lead a day-long workshop. Dr. Richardson will highlight her ground-breaking work on The Next Step Forward in Guided Reading .

Watch for our 2020 Literacy Institute registration information coming out next month.

Effective Leadership
School leaders have a lot to consider at the start of any school year, especially this one. With so many demands on time and energy, some important things can become lost in the day-to day operations. The intent of this first PEP column of the year is to refocus our intent as leaders. Specifically, what is the organizing principle of your school? When asked, what are the message points that you wish to convey that will encapsulate the intent that concisely goes beyond platitudes and ambiguous vision and mission statements? The purpose of this column is to spur some reflective thought so that it is possible for your stakeholders to have a better understanding of your school that is coherent, makes sense and has meaning.

In that vein, consider the following question: What makes your (elementary, middle, or high school) what it is? Considerations include a focus on academic rigor, developmentally appropriate instruction and attention to being socially responsive in ways that address the needs of all students. What this means at the elementary level ought to be qualitatively different from the middle and high school levels but should to be coherent in an overall set of concepts and shared understandings throughout the system. In my own case, it has been “academic excellence and goodness for all students”. It is not enough to have a focus on excellence; what value is this if students are not able to be civil and display citizenship? Incidentally, being able to focus attention on these two core values can transcend any school grade configuration and be woven into teaching and learning.

Perhaps all of this may seem intuitively obvious, but in the course of my work with the preparation of aspiring school principals and other leadership positions, many students initially are unable to describe both their schools’ intent and why their schools are organized the way that they are. Conversely, once these students are able to do so, they are better able to interpret their schools to internal and external stakeholders more broadly in the school community. It allows one to be more focused with advocacy to policy and decision makers on the issues that directly affect your school.

Getting to a point where there is coherent set of core values and a message that affirms them does take time. Creating school community conversations so that there is a shared set of values and messages will depend upon having structures, strategies and tactics in gear that allow for mutual understanding and consensus about the organizing principles and values of the school. With this in place there is a greater likelihood of being able to have curriculum and instruction organized around them.

Effective leaders have the capacity to provide consistent, coherent messages that can expound on the rationale for “what and the why” of their school These can become encapsulated into a set of message points that are understood, embraced and used by staff, and potentially by students and their families, to tell the story of a school. This eventually can become an effective self-reinforcing loop that contributes to the culture of your school right now and into the future. Taking time out to do this now that the year is underway can help with building a culture continuous improvement of your school. All of this takes time, but the rewards are worth the effort.

If you have more to share on this topic, kindly contact me so that your school and its story can be shared with others in our PEP network.

Dr. Mike Dietz, Director of Innovation and Global Outreach, 262-365-3947, michael.dietz@cuw.edu , @mikedietz92

We Want YOU To Inform Our Professional Practice
Have you implemented a new practice that is working well? Please share your experience with us, so that we can use this newsletter to share information with others.

Please email your success story to amy.hillenbrand@cuw.edu .

Concordia University Wisconsin Graduate Education 262-243-2708