2017 Virginia Middle School Association Conference: Engaging the Middle School Brain


Keynote Speaker:        

Dr. John Almarode is an Assistant Professor at JMU and works through Corwin Press.  John has conducted staff development workshops, keynote addresses, and conference presentations on a variety of topics including student engagement, evidence-based practices, creating enriched environments that promote learning, and designing classrooms with the brain in mind. John’s action-packed workshops offer participants ready-to-use strategies and the brain rules that make them work.

Morning Keynote:  Getting Them to Eat Peas When All They Want is Ice Cream 

This keynote will unpack what works best in engaging students in their learning.  Blending the science of how we learn with classroom practice, participants will develop a tool kit for grabbing and maintaining student engagement at all three levels (behavioral, emotional, and cognitive) while at the same time increasing learning outcomes.

Afternoon Keynote:  Inspired and Passionate Teachers – Clarity on What Works Best  

Inspired and passionate teachers are by design, not by chance (Fisher, 2016). Whether you are an instructional coach, lead teacher, teacher mentor, or administrator, highly effective teachers are absolutely necessary in the achievement and success of your students. This closing keynote explores the practices and characteristics of inspired and passionate teachers, and, drawing from the exciting research on the science of learning, introduces a cutting-edge framework for fostering and nurturing highly effective teachers with great success.  Audience members will actively participate in the "unpacking" of practices and characteristics of inspired and passionate teachers.     

Best Practice Sessions?

More than 30 sessions presented by and for middle level educators, covering topics of interest to middle level teachers and leaders.

Schools to Watch Roundtable Sessions

Teams from Virginia’s Schools to Watch will present strategies for highlights and strategies that helped them become award winning nationally recognized middle schools!




James Madison University
Harrisonburg, VA


Behavior Curriculum/Instructional Methods Evidence-Based Practice Instructional Strategies Middle School Professional Development Professional Resources Science