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Excellence in Middle-Level Education

Join us as we celebrate Excellence in Middle-level Education! For three days, we will be sharing and celebrating the best in California middle-level education, from recognizing exemplar educators and schools to presenting educator-led breakout sessions focusing on best practices and programs.

Conference Features

• Breakout sessions by educators from middle-level Schools to Watch
• Keynote and extended sessions by leaders in middle-level education
• Exhibits featuring educational publications, products, and services
• Chance to win FREE registration and hotel accommodations for an upcoming CLS event!
• Up to two units of college credit available—sign up at conference check-in


Dr. Katie McKnight

Literacy Across the Curriculum: Concrete Strategies for Middle School Success

Come discover concrete strategies for middle school success with proven tools that are firmly rooted in decades of research about language, learning, teaching, and assessment across the disciplines.


Baruti Kafele

Critical Questions for Inspiring Classroom Excellence

Principal Kafele will share how to close the Attitude Gap in your classrooms through the following five strands: Environment for Learning, Attitude toward Students, Relationship with Students, Compassion for Students and Relevance in Instruction.


Dr. Kate Kinsella

Establishing Schoolwide ELD Instructional Norms and Evidence-based Practices

Explore evidence-based ELD instructional practices that help districts establish clear expectations for language-focused instruction so educators schoolwide may comfortably embrace the role of academic language mentor.

Educator-led Breakout Sessions

Choose from a variety of 1-hour sessions, included with registration, focused on middle-level education, Schools-to-Watch strategies, 21st-century skills, LCAP priority areas, and more!

Activites & Happenings

The Regional Middle School Educator of the Year awards are given annually to 11 educators, from each of the CLS regions, who exemplify educational excellence. The regional nominees are introduced at the General Session and honored at a dinner. We encourage all attendees to join us at these events and help us celebrate these outstanding educators!

Schools to Watch Awards

The Schools-to-Watch (STW) program is a national, state and CLS-operated model school designation and school improvement initiative focused on recognizing high-achieving schools serving students in grades 5-8. Schools have established norms, structures, and organizational arrangements to support and ensure their students exit the middle grades on-track for success in high school. Once identified, STW schools provide mentorship, networking, professional development, and training to other schools. This year’s California Schools to Watch will be recognized before the General Session on Friday, March 15.

Optional Ticketed Sessions

The following sessions are offered at an additional cost and you must be registered for the conference to attend.

Katie McKnight
Lunch and Learn: Literacy and Learning Centers for Middle School
Friday, March 15 | $65 (includes lunch)

Learn how to create developmentally appropriate tasks that automatically align instruction to standards/skills based assessment, increase student engagement, and allow you to cover more content (math, science, social studies, ELA and more) and skill-development in less time. Avoid discipline problems with self-directed activities that provide the independence students crave with the guidance they need.

Baruti Kafele

Lunch and Learn: Closing the ATTITUDE Gap
Saturday, March 16 | $65 (includes lunch)
The discussion on gaps in student achievement continue to be one of the most important discussions in education today; particularly as it relates to the underachievement of underserved children. Equally challenging for educators is the continued lack of student motivation, undesirable student behaviors and the overall underachievement of at-risk student populations across racial and ethnic lines. In this highly engaging, thought-provoking session, Principal Kafele will assert that the greatest difficulty to closing the achievement gap is the overwhelming assumption that the achievement gap is in fact, the problem. He says that the achievement gap is a direct consequence of the failure to adequately address what he coined, the Attitude Gap. He will share with attendees how to close the Attitude Gap in their classrooms through the following five strands: Environment for Learning, Attitude toward Students, Relationship with Students, Compassion for Students and Relevance in Instruction.

Explore California’s capital city from Sheraton Grand Sacramento Hotel. Located inside the restored Public Market Building, this downtown hotel places guests near Old Town, the Sacramento Zoo, the California State Capitol and the Convention Center. Dine on delicious California cuisine in Morgan’s Restaurant or the Public Market Bar. Take a dip in the heated, outdoor pool or work out in the 24-hour Sheraton Fitness Center.

Special CLS hotel rate: $163, plus taxes and fees.

Conference Rates

Early Bird (through June 21st):

$412 members / $460 non-members

Regular Rates (after February 15th):

$515 members / $575 non-members

Not a current member? Get the best rates by first joining CLS, then registering for the conference.

Register Now

Online registration will remain open through noon on March 13, 2019.

Conference Schedule

Friday, March 15
Registration, 7:00 am - 4:30 pm
Schools to Watch Recognitions, 8:00 am - 8:45 am
General Session, 8:45 am - 10:30 am
Workshops, 10:45 am - 4:30 pm

Saturday, March 16
Registration, 8:00 am - 4:15 pm
General Session, 8:30 am - 10:30 am
Workshops, 10:45 am - 2:00 pm
Closing Session, 2:15 pm - 4:15 pm

Sunday, March 17
Workshops, 9:00 am - 11:15 am

Schedule and activities are subject to change

Suggested Funding Sources
Apply LCAP Supplemental & Concentration, Title I, Title II, and Title III funds to help fulfill your LCAP Stakeholder Engagement goals and specific actions.

College Credit
College credit is available - sign up at conference check-in. 

Cancellation Policy
Cancellation requests must be in writing and faxed to (562) 430-5607. Please call as soon as you fax your request to verify receipt at (562) 430-3136.

ALL registrations submitted are subject to the cancellation policy. There is no refund for no-shows.

Prior to 1/15/19 - $60 fee
1/15/19 - 2/14/19 - 50% fee
after 2/14/19 - no refund.

A colleague may substitute for you to avoid cancellation penalties.