27 September 2011

Dear ELMLE Members,

Over a month ago most of us returned after summer holidays and began our new school year.  Others have moved on and joined new schools.  Where ever you are, we know you are busy welcoming students, planning lessons, attending meetings and all the other matters that signal the fresh start of a new year.  The ELMLE steering committee has also been busy with plans to make our next conference in Prague a highlight, updating our website and championing the unique needs of middle school students (and their teachers).  We wanted to say hello and update you about all our new ventures.

Prague January 26-28 2012 - Registration, Call for Presenters, and Our Guest Speakers

From Comenius to Cutting-edge Curriculum:  Questioning What Matters  

Is our thinking radical enough for today’s international middle-level students?

General registration for Prague has opened!  As your schools begin to register participants, remember to have your ELMLE/ALME (NMSA) membership number handy and that for every 10 paying teachers, the 11th teacher's fees are waived for the general conference.  Be sure to look at our Pre-conference offerings as well.  Remember to book your hotel!  And finally, remember that you can also earn credits from Buffalo State, State University of New York (SUNY)

Call for Presenters:  Sharing your best practice and knowledge to other teachers is a great way to contribute to the needs of middle schoolers.  Each year 30 to 40 of you share your expertise in a session and no doubt leave feeling like you've grown from the experience.  We encourage you to submit a proposal by the October 30 deadline to ELMLE but remember to also discuss this with your school's administration.  Please remember to also register for the conference!

Guest Speakers:  As always, we have invited talented and middle school focused speakers to share their research, ideas and practice with you.  This year we will hear from Jason Ohler, Mark Springer, Chris Cullen, Christine L. Brown, Tom Daccord, Alan Leis and John Abbott. 

New Logo and New Website

ELMLE puts our presentations into practice.  After several years of having many speakers present the power of Google Apps for Education and Google Sites for schools, we've entered the era of collaboratively built websites.  We no longer have a webmaster who puts information on a site, but the committee members all take part in updates, corrections and developments of our website.  After some limited training, we've all caught up on the basics and all of us are working on further developing an attractive and informative website.  

We also agreed on a new, updated logo that represents the new faces of ELMLE.  Our former logo centered on a map of the borders of Europe.  Our reach has exceeded these borders and we now have members from Africa, Middle Eastern and Asian countries, who are also attending our conferences.  We are excited to have more cultures represented while keeping our focus on connecting teachers and students.  

While we still consider the "bridge" an ongoing emblem of the role middle schools offer, our conference also focuses on the connections of our attendees, students, schools, presenters and many more that we wanted to exhibit this in a unity circle of students holding hands and connecting.  We think the new logo captures this spirit.

Blue and Green are not only analogous colors but they also represent how we approach our work.  Blue is the color of conversation and associated with being trustworthy and dependable.  While Green is soothing, renewing and currently the color most associated with environmental efforts and we have strived to make our conferences green.  

We hope you enjoy the new website and logo as much as we do and we look forward to seeing you in January.

On behalf of the ELMLE Steering Committee,

Derek Harwell