2022 Associate Principals Conference 

Image of School Bus and School Behind it Register Button

The 2022 Associate Principal Conference will take place January 26-28, 2022 at the Hyatt Regency in Green Bay.

Jim Sporleder and Jimmy Casas will present our keynote sessions and the convention will feature over twenty sessions. Please find information on session descriptions and speakers below. For any questions contact the AWSA office at 608-241-0300. 

Conference Cost:

Member Registration:  $239
Non-Member Registration: $359
Pre-Conference Sessions:  $69

Full refund of fees will be made on cancellations received 10 days prior to the start of the convention. Following that date, a 40% administrative fee will be retained. There will be no refund for no-shows or cancellations during the event. 

Hotel Information:

Hyatt Regency 
333 Main St., Green Bay, WI 
$139 per room (Single/Double/Triple/Quad)
(920) 432-1234
Ask for: AWSA Associate Principals Conference 

The time to book a block room at a discounted rate will end 1/12/22. There are a limited number of blocked rooms and they may sell out before that date so we recommend that you make your reservation soon.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

12:00 - 4:30  | Pre-Con Session

1. Associate Principals Legal Seminar

Hot Topics: From Curriculum Challenges to (Hopefully Not) Covid and the
Currently Unforeseen
Malina Piontek and Bob Butler

This session will cover the hottest legal topics, including curriculum challenges and inquiries, LGBTQ students, and other equity and student nondiscrimination issues. The session agenda will most certainly change in the upcoming months, as Bob and Malina will add currently unforeseen topics to make sure you are up to speed.

Navigating the Expanding Complexity of the First Amendment and Protected
Concerted Activity
Mike Julka, Attorney, Boardman & Clark and Brian Goodman, Attorney, Boardman & Clark

Recent racial, political, and public health issues have increased the First Amendment and labor law challenges facing associate principals. This presentation will help associate principals navigate the differing legal standards and issues that arise in this context with respect to students, employees, and the general public. With respect to students, the presentation will cover legal issues regarding off-campus student speech, including social media; dress codes and the depiction of firearms; and district policies prohibiting bullying and harassment. This presentation will also cover employees' right to engage in protected concerted activity; teacher assertions of "academic freedom" relating to the curriculum; and the legal standards that permit district regulation of employee speech under the First Amendment, including the speech and political advocacy of associate principals. Finally, the presentation will address managing the First Amendment rights of the public, including the legal issues involved in managing social media use by the public and public criticism of schools and school personnel.

Law and Technology: Challenges and Solutions for Associate Principals
Kirk Strang, Attorney

School administrators confront a number of legal issues related to technology almost every day, some obvious and some less apparent. Staff use of technology can present employment issues and other workplace challenges, and can also be a factor in performance, communications, and school climate.  Students' use of technology also presents challenges for administrators, and can be a factor in pupil discipline, academic integrity, bullying, and any number of other areas.  Technology issues also develop with the technology itself, meaning that new challenges are presented for principals as new devices and software are put to use in our schools, including software monitoring technology that tracks user behavior of students and staff.

This section reviews statutes, cases, and legal principles that define the law in these areas.  We will focus on specific problems that principals confront regularly (whether they know it or not!) and on how principals can address them while protecting themselves and the school district at the same time.  We'll also consider FAQs and live questions from conference attendees regarding their own experiences and concerns.


Thursday, January 27, 2022

8:00  |  New Principals Breakfast 

8:30  |  Opening Keynote: Catching Kids Before They Fall

Photo of Jim Sporleder Jim Sporleder, Administrator and Speaker 

Come explore why a trauma responsive approach is best practice for all students. Join Jim to consider the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) and toxic stress on adolescent student learning and behavior. This keynote will explore how to implement a trauma-responsive school culture and includes current research that defines the difference between “doing trauma informed practices,” versus “embracing trauma-responsive practices as who we are as a person, as a school and how we interact with those we come into contact.” This approach will lead to the significant changes we want for every student: improved behavior, improved attendance, higher academic achievement, and higher graduation rates. Participants will learn key elements of trauma-responsive secondary and alternative school programs and environments and discover what it means and what it takes to be a “Trauma-Informed School”.

Jim Sporleder retired in 2014 as Principal of Lincoln High School in Walla Walla, WA. Under Jim’s leadership and collaborating with community partners, Lincoln High School became a “Trauma Informed” school, gaining national attention due to a dramatic drop in out of school suspensions, increased graduation rates and the number of students going on to post-secondary education. (Lincoln High School was the subject of an acclaimed documentary Paper Tigers in 2015) In this presentation, participants will learn how a trauma responsive approach, is best practice for all students. Jim will walk the participants through a brief overview of the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences, and how toxic stress impacts student learning and behavior. Participants will also be introduced to what it means to be a “Trauma-Informed School”.

10:45 |  Round One Concurrents  

1. The Five Critical Steps to Becoming a Trauma Responsive School 

Jim Sporleder, Administrator and Speaker

This session will teach the participants the “how to”, in becoming a Trauma Responsive School. Participants will learn the basic concepts to implementing a trauma-responsive school culture, that will provide the significant changes we want for every student: improved behavior, improved student attendance, higher academic achievement, and, for High Schools, higher graduation rates).

  • Participants will look at what the current research is telling us about the current impact of our traditional disciplinary practices is having on our students.
  • The session will cover the current research that defines the difference between “doing trauma informed practices,” versus “embracing trauma responsive practices as who we are as a person, as a school, and how we interact with those we come into contact.”  
  • Participants will learn in this session that a trauma-responsive approach is the umbrella that becomes your school culture and strengthens everything under it.
  • This session will introduce the Student of Concerns Model that is a powerful system for tracking our most struggling students with intentional positive adult interventions and action plans.
  • The participants will walk away from this session with an understanding of what it takes to become trauma responsive, and how to begin experiencing the significant outcomes that naturally come with this new mindset.

2. Leading Learning: Maximizing Your Meetings 

Tammy Gibbons, Director of Professional Learning, AWSA

Teams are a leadership lever that are often left to chance.  How teams are formed, what they are spending their time on, and how they receive feedback varies widely in schools.  In this session, participants will learn about generating momentum around the impact of high-performing teams to include team creating, critical elements for working together and for creating a collaborative culture that helps team maximize their impact.

3. Leaders Shaping Cultures that Deeply Impact Student Learning 

Joe Schroeder, Associate Executive Directors, AWSA

John Hattie cites collective efficacy as the variable with the highest effect size on student achievement. This makes sense because, in such a case, we have a whole faculty feeling effective -- able to actually accomplish better student achievement and equitable conditions for all. But collective efficacy does not happen on its own. It is the product of a certain sort of school culture that is cultivated over time through specific leadership qualities. This session will break down what our field is learning about impactful leadership and culture in simple and accessible terms so that participants are equipped with specific approaches they can implement back home to lead their organizations to the next level.

4. SEL and Mental Health is the Work of ALL in Education

Jodi Hubbard, WCRS Statewide Coach, and Stacey Starke, WCRS Statewide Coach

In October 2020 the Wisconsin Center for Resilient Schools (WCRS) was formed to help schools and districts build their capacity to implement and sustain trauma-sensitive social emotional learning and comprehensive school based mental health. Come join us and learn more about a systems approach for sustainable change that can impact all students through an equity lens.

This session will discuss how you and your school or district can be supported by WCRS to build a district and school based mental health and wellbeing program that serves every student and adult.

12:00 |  Lunch

1:15 |  Round Two Concurrents  

1. Updated WI Mental Health Framework

Julie Incitti, School Social Work Consultant, DPI

This session will introduce the outline and content from the updated Wisconsin Mental Health Framework, which provides a vision for building supports to improve system functioning and student and adult wellbeing. Key terms and concepts will be described to improve the ability of school staff to message the work to stakeholders. Participants will consider their system and how the new framework applies. At the end of the session, participants will be able to articulate the vision for school mental health, will understand the necessary components of the framework and where to find implementation resources, and will be able to set do-able action steps for improvement. 

2. School Culture is the Hidden Curriculum

Tammy Gibbons, Director of Professional Learning, AWSA

Creating a school community where students thrive, not simply survive, requires learning leadership, change leadership, and high-quality feedback that causes reflection.  In this session, participants will engage with elements of a high-performance culture and consider entry points for impacting your current school culture.

3. Despite the Best Intentions: Examining and Disrupting “Hidden” Barriers That Prevent Our Schools from Closing Persistent Opportunity Gaps 

Joe Schroeder, Associate Executive Directors, AWSA

How do well-meaning adults (educators, families, and community members alike) make sense of the stark, persistent inequities of opportunities, experiences, and results across various student populations within our schools?  And how through deep examination of the current state do key stakeholders gain insight and come to accept that the systems we regularly engage in and collectively reinforce are working against our professed aims, to instead produce ongoing inequities in a predictable and unacceptable fashion?  Participants in AWSA’s inaugural cohort of the Mastering Leadership Academy (MLA) this school year are taking on these deep-seated problems of practice in ongoing cycles of learning, action, and inquiry.  This session will discuss some of the subtle but significant and unsettling barriers commonly “hidden” beneath the school veneer while also sharing some early actions arising from this MLA effort so that, collectively, administrators across Wisconsin can better promote the learning and leadership necessary to shift the narrative and experience for all students under our care in life-changing ways.  

4. School-Wide Systems That Support Students

Elizabeth Kunstman, Associate Principal, Justine Skog, Associate Principal, and Katie Bleier, Administrative Intern, Green Bay Public Schools

Learn more about how school-wide universal systems can support student success in your building.  These systems can support both academics and behaviors with increased instructional time at the core.  Having consistent language and procedures that are explicit for staff and students will ensure their success throughout the year.  These school wide corrections and interventions include restorative practices and other procedures that can increase instructional time while supporting student needs.

2:30 |  Break

2:40 |  Round Three Concurrents

1. Implementation of Standards-Based Grading at the High School Level

Kurt Soderberg, Principal, Saint Croix Central 

In this session, we will dive into the details of implementing SBG at the high school level. This will include a presentation and discussion about specific challenges, concerns, and solutions. It will be an opportunity for attendees to learn from our mistakes and successes. Attendees will understand the application of key components of SBG including essential standards, rubrics, formative and summative assessments, internal tracking, external reporting, and explore the SBG teaching-learning cycle.   Participants will leave with exemplars and methods for the practical application of SBG practices Identify specific challenges and potential solutions when implementing SBG at the high school level.

2. Coaching for Equity 

Tammy Gibbons, Director of Professional Learning, AWSA

Despite many productive coaching conversations, we have missed opportunities to have the deeper conversations that influence language, decisions and mindsets.  This means many of our most vulnerable children go underserved in regular and special education settings.  This session will focus on coaching stems and entry points for impacting equitable practices for students in Wisconsin.

3. Finger on the Pulse:  Three Tools for Identifying the State of Your School Culture and the Supports Needed Now

Joe Schroeder, Associate Executive Director, AWSA

Your school culture – good or bad – is the foundation for all other leadership action you will take.  Therefore, staying keenly aware of the evolving state of affairs is critical if you want to lead a healthy and improving school.  In this session, we will review three approaches (aspirational surveys, staff rounding protocols, and one-legged interviews) to help assess your culture and gain critical information that will allow you to take ongoing, proactive action and staff support – approaches we will apply and practice in this session as time permits.  Participants will leave this session with the ability to implement any and all of these approaches in their schools immediately.

4. Showing Up--Ensuring Every Kid has a Chance To Learn 

Doug Crowley, Associate Principal, Matt Bauer, Associate Principal, and Bill Huebsch, Associate Principal, DeForest School District 

This session will talk about student Attendance, where “showing up is half the job”, but is so critical to student success.  We will talk about what attendance looks like at all three levels (elementary, middle, and high school); the roles of key school personnel (Administration, Pupil Services, SRO/Law Enforcement), as well as students and families; and tips/strategies, and failures and successes with various plans over the last decade.  With Absenteeism a focus of school report cards and something we all know can inhibit success for students, we hope to use this as a forum for sharing ideas because, really, we don’t have all of the answers. 

4:30 |  Reception Sponsored by Jostens 

Friday, January 28, 2022

7:00  |  Optional Fellowship Breakfast

School administrators support the boundless needs of those they lead and serve.  But who supports them -- especially in ways tending to the heart and spirit?  Join AWSA’s Associate Executive Director, Joe Schroeder, and administrative colleagues from across the state in this Christian fellowship breakfast option that, now in its third year, is proving for many to be an annual highlight of encouragement and support for the next leg of the leadership and life journey.

8:00  |  Breakfast Program: Remarks From The State Superintendent And Associate Principal Of The Year Recognition 

State Superintendent Jill Underly will recognize the 2022 Associate Principal of the Year, and will share comments about her priorities as State Superintendent of Public Instruction. 

9:00  |  Round Four Concurrents

1. Three C’s for Student Success: Connected, Confident and Capable 

Jim Casas, Author and CEO of J. Casas & Associates

As educators, we must recognize that no child wants to be a failure. However, in schools across the country, students are failing and being sent out of the classroom at alarming rates due to their behavior. Classroom management is at a critical point and the fate of students’ learning is on the teacher and his/her ability to implement and apply effective strategies to address a student’s behavior in a kind, caring, and restorative manner rather than a punitive approach. If you’re the type of educator who wants to inspire greatness in every student who passes through your classroom door, this professional learning opportunity is for you. You will learn what it takes to raise expectations for all students, foster the belief in one’s ability to achieve, and create an environment where students feel connected, confident and capable of learning and at high levels, regardless of their behavior.

2. Leading Professional Learning Communities: Building and Sustaining Improvement 

Tammy Gibbons, Director of Professional Learning, AWSA

Looking for a way to further build, advance or sustain collaborative learning teams in your school? Are you a new leader or frustrated with the rate of improvement in your school? This two-hour session will provide examples of the collaborative team process and examine protocols and structures that guide and support the implementation of professional learning communities. Also included in this workshop are ways to leverage your leadership team/guiding coalition to monitor the impact of the collaborative process and an improved culture in which educators engage in vital and crucial conversations with one another. Facilitative examples will be provided by three elementary principals currently living the mission of leveraging collaborative teams for their school improvement efforts.

3. Growing Adult Impact:  The Power of Developing and Implementing Your Own Instructional Playbook

Joe Schroeder, Associate Executive Director, AWSA

School leaders who want teacher practice and student learning to soar must address three root cause problems:  (1) focus the improvement agenda, (2) clarify what good, better and best look like in areas of instructional priority, and (3) provide relevant and ongoing practice, feedback, coaching, and support.  In this session, we will explore how a customized instructional playbook as presented by Jim Knight and colleagues can systematically address all three root cause problems, enabling much deeper teacher, coach, and leadership impact.  Participants will leave this session with an example playbook in hand while also gaining clarity on what an instructional playbook is, why it is important, and how to begin developing a locally relevant tool. 

10:30  |  Closing Keynote: Handle With Care - Managing Difficult Situations In Schools With Dignity And Respect

Photo of Jimmy CasasJimmy Casas, Author and CEO of J. Casas & Associates 

In schools across the country, educators at every level are faced with delicate, challenging situations that require leadership skills and insights in order to produce favorable outcomes for students and staff. In this presentation, Jimmy Casas examines a variety of difficult school-related situations, both in and out of the classroom, and provides strategies, tools, and techniques to address a variety of difficult-to-handle situations and scenarios in order to help students and staff emerge from missteps more self-aware, feeling valued, and able to move forward.

Jimmy Casas served twenty-two years as a school leader, including fourteen years as Principal at Bettendorf High School. Under his leadership, Bettendorf was named one of the Best High Schools in the country three times by Newsweek and US News & World Report. Jimmy was named the 2012 Iowa Secondary Principal of the Year and was selected as runner-up NASSP 2013 National Secondary Principal of the Year. In 2014, Jimmy was invited to the White House to speak on the Future Ready Schools pledge. Jimmy is also the author of seven books, including the best-selling book “Culturize – Every Student. Every Day. Whatever it Takes” 

Jimmy is the owner and CEO of J. Casas & Associates, where he serves as a professional leadership coach for school leaders across the country. In January, Jimmy launched ConnectEDD, a publishing company aimed at giving back to the profession by supporting educators to become published authors.

12:00 |  Adjourn