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MESPA Institute 2019     February 6-8, 2019

Save the date for the professional development event of the year: February 6-8, 2019

Institute hosts over 400 of your elementary and middle level principal colleagues. With presentations from incredible thought leaders; over 25+ sessions rooted in mental health, education equity, innovation, and leadership development; MESPA Speaks performances by your own colleagues; the 3rd annual Makerspace Showcase; an Unconference in which you guide your own learning; and 70+ education-based exhibits... you won't want to miss this!

MESPA Speaks: Apply today!

Do you have an inspirational message to share with your colleagues? An initiative in your school you can't wait to share with others? Apply to present a MESPA Speaks talk at Institute 2019! Or, click here to nominate a colleague!

Join us for the 4th annual MESPA Speaks on Friday, February 8th. Each year, these inspiring talks go down as "one of THE BEST parts of Institute" - said everyone at Institute ever. Click here to check out MESPA Speaks videos from past years. Applications are due Nov 5!

Principal Jennifer Stefan, Deer River Schools, presenting to MESPA Speaks colleagues at MESPA Speaks 2018.

Our 2019 Thought Leaders

Wednesday Keynote

Todd Nesloney (@techninjatodd), will open our conference on Wednesday with his powerful message on why Kids Deserve It! Todd is the Principal/Lead Learner at a PreK-5 school in TX. Todd has been recognized by the White House as a Connected Educator "Champion of Change", the National School Board Association as one of the "20 to Watch" in Education, and by the BAMMYs as the "National Elementary Principal of the Year" among many other accolades. Todd is passionate about education and innovation. Todd was a classroom teacher for 7 years before taking the leap straight to campus principal in Navasota, TX. Todd took over a struggling campus, brought in a brand new staff, and used creative ideas to transform a school culture. Todd also co-hosts two iTunes Top Rated podcast series called "Sparks in the Dark" with Travis Crowder and "Kids Deserve It" with Adam Welcome.

Thursday Keynote

Dr. Clay Cook (@ClayCook_phd) will kick us off on Thursday morning with an important message on trauma and mental health. In this session, we will go beyond the awareness that trauma negatively impacts student development and functioning and go deeper: we'll dive in to what schools can do to integrate trauma-informed practices and procedures into their school. Dr. Cook is the John and Nancy Peyton Faculty Fellow in Child and Adolescent Wellbeing at the University of Minnesota in the School Psychology Program. Clay has extensive research and practical experiences involving the implementation of multi-tiered systems of support to promote children's mental and behavioral health. In addition to his research, he consults with school systems throughout the US to integrate a continuum of social, emotional, and behavioral supports to enhance student academic and life success.

Friday Keynote

We have always looked for ways to PACK as much learning as possible into our 3-day Institute conference. This year, we took that even further by having not one but SIX all-star educational leaders in our Friday keynote slot! Watch this space for more details on "Whose Keynote is it Anyway?!" as Institute approaches! You won't want to miss out on this collaborative, innovative, interactive session.

Meet our 2019 Co-Chairs!
We are thankful for our 2 great Institute Co-chairs who will host Institute 2019 and keep us focused and energized throughout the conference.

Welcome Paul Anderson, principal at Sand Creek Elementary, Anoka-Hennepin, and Jessica Cabeen, principal at Woodson Kindergarten Center, Austin Public Schools.

These 2 have done a great job planning so far and we can't wait to see what fun and exciting things they have in store for us!


Take time to explore our Makerspace Showcase at Institute to learn about different kinds of makerspaces, explore how makerspaces can promote diversity & equity, and gather ideas for your school!

Does your school have a phenomenal makerspace that you'd like to share with your colleagues? We'd love to have you join our Makerspace Showcase! Please complete this form to be notified when more information and sign-up is available.

mesPAW Therapy Dog Showcase

Back by popular demand: Take time to relax at the mesPAW Therapy Dog Showcase! Come learn from practicing principals about the benefits therapy animals can bring to your school community! Also, learn what it takes to become a therapy animal team. Plus, pet some puppies, of course!

Get ready for the Unconference!

First time attending Institute? Get ready for the Unconference (AKA "EdCamps" "Participant-Driven Conferences" etc.), where you build your own learning.

The Unconference is driven by YOU and is an opportunity to lead and learn from your peers. Click the video to hear from Principal Liann Hanson, one of our Unconference facilitators.

Expand your learning with a Pre-conference Session!

Choose your own adventure! This excellent Pre-Conference sessions hosted by MN's 2017 National Distinguished Principal Jessica Cabeen will be held on Wednesday, February 7th at 10:15am. Choose this add-on in your Institute registration and receive extra CEUs!

Hacking Early Learning


Wondering how to better align the learning in the early years with other grades? Wanting to make meaningful connections with families before they even enroll in your school? Ready to take the next steps to ensuring alignment of play is embedded in authentic learning experiences? Jessica Cabeen, 2017 MN National Distinguished Principal will offer ideas and take aways school leaders can use tomorrow that will amplify the early learning experience and give leaders grounding steps to take their own knowledge of these critical years to the next level.

Click here to check out the book!

Let us help you convince your Supt. that you NEED to be at Institute!

This letter template lays out all the reasons why your attendance at MESPA Institute 2019 will benefit your students, colleagues, school, and district. Use it to show your superintendent why their support and funding for your Institute attendance will help you grow as a leader and be even more effective in achieving district goals. Download the letter template.

Exhibit at Institute 2019, February 6-7

Exhibits are a vital part of our Institute experience and conference atmosphere. If you or someone you know wants to market materials and services exclusively to 400+ Minnesota elementary and middle level principals and school decision makers, MESPA's annual convention is the place to do it! 

Find out more about exhibiting in 2019!

Click here to register now!

In the words of Principal Lisa Carlson of Woodland Elementary in Eagan: "If you're not at Institute, principals simply don't know that you exist!" 

Recommend an exhibitor!  

Are you using an amazing educational product or service you think more principals should know about? Do you work with an awesome company/organization and or vendor who you think should be connecting with over 400 Minnesota principals and other educational leaders at Institute? Recommend them here! We appreciate all recommendations, throughout the year, and will follow up with your contact to make sure they know about the value of MESPA Institute Exhibits and have registration information.

Recommend an Exhibitor

Save the Dates for Institute 2020 & 2021

Institute 2020: February 5-7, 2020

Institute 2021: February 3-5, 2021

Recommend a Keynote Speaker!
Have you seen a keynote speaker recently that you really loved? Is there someone out there you've been dying to hear? Know of someone who would a perfect fit for Institute? Recommend them here! Any time of year, your recommendation is welcome and much appreciated.

Institute 2018 was a hit!

The results are in: you rated Institute 2018 as the best Institute ever! Our 2018 app is still up and you can still access materials and resources at mespainstitute2018.sched.com

Thanks to our 2018 exhibitors!

Our exhibitors made our conference a huge success! You can still check out our list of exhibitors and get in touch for great resources, products, and FUN for your school! 

Click here for a list of our 2018 exhibitors!

Want more High Quality PD?

Thank you to our 2016 Exhibitors for making Institute possible! View all exhibitors and their contact information here. Also, a special thank you to our Business Partners for supporting MESPA year-round.

MESPA is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization

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