Summer SDE Opportunities

Just because it’s nearly summer doesn’t mean your year is over!

This summer, the Idaho State Department of Education is offering workshops focused on science and social studies. These three day workshops are being offered in Boise, McCall, Fort Hall, and Twin Falls.

Sign up today to reserve your spot to learn more about integrating inquiry into your teaching and meeting the Idaho Core Standards for literacy in the disciplines. The science workshops will have a special focus on using hands-on local science, with partners from universities and agencies facilitating science activities at each workshop location. Check it out!

Click the banner below to see what’s being offered, where, and when. bannercore

Testimonial: “Changing America one life at a time

Testimonial is a regular feature of the new IMLA website.  This is where we’ll share reflections from IMLA members about what they’ve taken from our conference and implemented in their schools.

The following Testimonial comes from Phil Atkinson, 7th and 8th grade math and science teacher at Eagle Middle School.

Atkinson Phil 150I had the pleasure of attending the IMLA conference this year.  Eagle Middle hosted the conference and it was as the kids would say, “Totally Rad!”

As I watched the administration put it together, I realized how much work actually went in to pulling off such a terrific event!  I’m sure by the end of the weekend, our beloved Assistant Principal Micah Doramus, and current IMLA President-Elect, wanted to pull his hair out, but simply put, we all had a blast and appreciated his dedication and tireless efforts to blend humor, education, and comradery all into one fun-filled weekend.

I have always been impressed with the flexibility of the middle school mentality, and how quickly we can adapt to any situation with the poise and confidence of a bungee jumper.  Through tears and laughter I made it through the weekend without any mishaps.  It was really interesting to hear the alarm clock go off at 6:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning, and come to my school finding as many teachers there around the coffee pot as the day before.  But, the cafeteria was alive with the buzz of interesting comments about the classes from the day before, the sharing of new ideas and stories of games and technology that could improve the learning environment in exciting ways.

I was stunned by the professionalism of my colleagues and the depth of applicable knowledge they brought to the table from around the state.  I learned how to effectively lead my students by diversifying my teaching style through numerous assessment activities.   I found intriguing ways to contribute to the individual learning styles in the classroom.  I brought several ideas back on how to effectively use STEM technology and allow students to be part of the learning process.  Most of all, listening to my peers receive recognition and awards for their amazing contributions, reminded me how fortunate and blessed I am to work in the West Ada School District.  It is full of qualified and dedicated teachers that are truly, “Changing America one life at a time.”   Thank you to all who made this conference a memorable and life changing event.

Meet Us In the Middle!

As the year is coming to a close, many of us take a focus on the coming year and start preparing for the changes we’d like to make.  Some of us focus on instructional changes we’d like to make, some of us focus on management.  Some focus on curriculum, and some of us make movements to other positions within our schools or other districts.

Screen Shot 2015-05-20 at 4.14.43 PMThe IMLA board members make the same changes as well, and we’d just like to take this moment to emphasize that the IMLA board represents the broad diversity Idaho has to offer. Our board is comprised of teachers, principals, and superintendents for middle school students in public schools, alternative schools, charter schools, and a Christian school representing rural and urban districts across the state of Idaho.  We’re proud to represent all of our member schools and educators as we work to meet the middle across the state of Idaho.

This year we made big changes to our annual Conference, and you’ll see even more surprises we have in store for the 2016 conference.  If you know of schools, teachers, parents, or any educational supporters you think would like to be members of our organization, please have them contact their regional representative for more information.

Testimonial: Go Middle School

Testimonial is a regular feature of the new IMLA website.  This is where we’ll share reflections from IMLA members about what they’ve taken from our conference and implemented in their schools.

The following Testimonial comes from Alison Stark, 7th grade language arts teacher at Eagle Middle School. Alison was awarded the IMLA Region 3A Educator of the Year Award at the 2015 “We Still Believe” Annual Conference.

Stark Alison 150This was my second time attending the Idaho Middle Level Association conference. I cannot tell you how essential it is to commune with teachers whose common goal is to meet the unique needs of middle school students. Our students are not just younger high school students, and they are not just older elementary students. That is why this professional group is so important. IMLA recognizes that teaching middle school requires educators to address content area needs and developmental needs with equal finesse. Our students require enough academic choice to exercise and experiment with their growing independence. But they also require clear expectations and consequences as they “try out” their identities on the world around them. They need to be taken seriously as much as they need to be goofy. They need to try everything and have a safe place to fail and try again. They need appropriate scaffolding and modeling of complex tasks before they are able to complete them on their own. They need the adults in their lives to be there when they need a hand and to know when to fade into the background. Teaching these ever-changing students does not always come naturally, and it is with the support of colleagues that we learn strategies for educating adolescents, motivating adolescents, and preparing adolescents for the rigors of high school. IMLA is that group that brings us together to learn how to better meet the needs of our kids. It reminds us that the grade level we teach has special demands, and that we–and our students–should be singled out and celebrated! GO MIDDLE SCHOOL!