Livestream Breakout Sessions


Integrate Play to Increase Engagement | Session 1
Matthew Etherington, Middle School Performing Arts Teacher, Duke School

Using play to increase engagement from students is a technique that all teachers can apply. The presentation is based upon an action research project that was rolled out at Duke School as part of the Triangle Heads Leadership Academy. There are a number of relevant resources on play as a concept (types, modes).The audience will actively engage with games that demonstrate the ideas. The ups and downs of data collection in a busy middle school will be revealed, along with real-life examples. Learn how to engage students in your classroom through dynamic games and playful techniques.

Navigating Cancel Culture and the Impact on Student Well-being | Session 1
Josh Lutkus, Senior Manager of Partner Success, The Social Institute

A national trend of cancel culture is creeping into the classroom, and teachers are ill-equipped to manage complex and sometimes emotional situations with students and their peers. In this interactive webinar, The Social Institute will provide practical advice for fostering meaningful discussion, empowering both teachers and students, and building healthy school communities.

Reflecting Through the Lens of Co-Cognitive Habits | Session 1
Catherine Jones, Middle School Dean of Studies, Cannon School
Christiana Holyer, Middle School Dean of Students, Cannon School

In seeking a way for students to reflect on middle school, we developed a reflective project where students examine successes & failures through the lens of habits like communication, risk-taking, and autonomy. Instead of simply talking about playing volleyball or writing a short story or participating in theater, students talk about how they grew in the habit of risk-taking during middle school. It is a hallmark of our student experience. In this session, we will walk you through how the project came about, how we lead students through the reflective process, and share samples of work.

Resilience | Session 1
Erin Baldecchi, Co-Founder, Happy YOUniversity

Sara Corckran, Co-Founder, Happy YOUniversity

Middle School is a time when students need to build their resilience skills. This interactive session will address mindset, choice, how our beliefs influence our actions, and how to reframe our thoughts so that we can change our response. Participants can expect to take actionable tools and activities with them to apply to their own lives and share with students.

Say YES to Consent | Session II
Rachel Anderson, Health Education Teacher; Growing Healthy Relationships Coordinator, Carolina Friends School

Research has shown that one of the best ways to help prevent bullying, dating violence, abuse, and child sexual abuse is to teach students what a healthy relationship looks like. Setting boundaries and practicing consent are skills needed to create respectful interactions within a relationship and within a community. In this workshop, we will examine definitions, discuss examples, and practice skills which are all designed to be shared in the classroom, homeroom, or advisory group.

Teaching Anti-Racism Through Identity Exploration | Session II

Kate Pendergrass, Middle School Educator, Carolina Friends School

Teaching students how to be anti-racist should be an integral part of any Middle School curriculum. In this session we will take a look at activities used in the 7th grade course, "Inquiry into Identity" where students are asked to explore their perspectives and experiences, examine where those perspectives come from, and how their experiences shape the way they interact with the world. Workshop attendees will participate in sample lessons and leave with ideas of how to help adolescents build their anti-racist toolkits by developing a deep understanding and appreciation of themselves.

Positive Relationships | Session II
Erin Baldecchi, Co-Founder, Happy YOUniversity

Sara Corckran, Co-Founder, Happy YOUniversity

“Other people matter.” This quote by Chris Peterson describes the foundation of Positive Psychology. We are social animals and we need to learn how to develop positive relationships. Middle school students are facing a sea of emotion and challenge when it comes to relationships. It is so important for teachers to be social emotional leaders in the area of relationships. In this session, you will learn how to create a learning environment in your classroom that helps students feel safe, seen, heard and cared for. We will talk about creating a sense of belonging, building relationships with your students and facilitating their building relationships with each other. The session will be interactive and you can expect to leave with actionable insights to implement in your classroom.

Raising the Bar | Session II
Katherine Gillespie, Learning Specialist, Greensboro Day School 

Suzanne Billips, Lower School Learning Support Coordinator, Greensboro Day School

Raising the skill set of all teachers by sharing a Learning Resource Toolbox can help meet the needs of students and allow Learning Specialists and Academic Support coordinators the ability to collaborate and partner with classroom teachers.

The Time is Now! Inclusive Classroom Environments | Session III

Stephanie Sutter-Shoaf, 6th Grade English Teacher, Greensboro Day School
Estelle Stokes Bowden, World Language Teacher, Greensboro Day School

Efforts to create more equitable and inclusive school communities can sometimes feel overwhelming, and you might think, Where do I start? With challenges that are very complex and often abstract, it can be difficult to design changes in culture and curriculum that will have a meaningful and lasting impact. By utilizing a series of exercises, discussions, video clips, and interactive technology lessons, participants will leave with a plan to incorporate DEI into lessons immediately!

Leveling Up: Redefining Middle School Academic Rigor | Session III
Melissa Puno, Middle School Division Director, Palisades Episcopal School
Prem Pugalenthi, Middle School Math Teacher, Palisades Episcopal School

By reflecting on 21st Century skills, presenters will redefine academic rigor in the middle school setting and provide practical strategies for implementing "rigorous," differentiated instruction that will engage students and prepare them for the challenges of high school and beyond.

How to Get Middle Schoolers to Love Who They Are | Session III

Mike Iskandar, SEL Program Director, Middle School Tennis Coach, Carolina Friends School

Using a unique combination of self reflection and future visioning, Time Travel Journeys is a breakthrough SEL program that guides middle schoolers on a powerful exploration of the best qualities of their past and future selves, and how those qualities can uplift their present sense of self. This presentation will breakdown how this program works by using an interactive format that guides participants through a miniature first-hand experience of the program.

Service Learning with Dignity | Session III
Scott Waybright, Assistant Head of School, Charlotte Country Day School

Sil Ganzo, Executive Director, Executive Director for ourBRIDGE for Kids

Join Scott and Sil as they discuss the challenges and opportunities in creating service-learning experiences within our communities. Topics will include curriculum integration, avoiding reinforcing stereotypes, school marketing, and the "white savior complex." Scott and Sil will help you create tools to evaluate what you are currently doing and set you on a path to make the experiences more meaningful for both the school and the non-profit.