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Professional Development

MESPA professional development is designed to meet the needs of today's principals. Working with members, MESPA identifies the most relevant and engaging professional development topics each year to ensure MN principals have the training and support they need.

"Institute and MESPA workshops help keep principals informed with high quality professional development... MESPA keeps us connected, provides us with assistance, and supports us with our needs.”

– Jeffrey Lund, Marshall County Central Schools

MESPA PD Snapshot

 MESPA Literacy Academy
*member-led

Presented by literacy gurus Bonnie Houck and Sandi Novak, this four-day academy will help you develop effective practices for literacy classroom visits and will ensure a solid foundation of instruction for literacy plans.

The 2018 academy meets August 2 & 3, October 12, and November 16.

Click here for more info & to register!

This series is for principals and other school literacy leaders! Bring your literacy team at the member rate!

MESPA Literacy Leadership Retreat
*member-led

Join us for this 1-day reunion session of MESPA's Literacy Academy!

Wednesday, August 1 - click here for more info!

This is a follow-up session to renew, refresh, celebrate, and continue your learning. This retreat is designed for educational leaders that have attended our 4-day MESPA Literacy Academy facilitated by Bonnie Houck and Sandi Novak over the last six years. 

Bring a team! Bring your school literacy team at the MESPA rate!


During this 1-day retreat, school and district leaders will:

  • Collaborate and learn from the successes of colleagues
  • Share their school’s literacy professional development successes and challenges
  • Learn about new, refined instruments to help with implementing literacy professional development
  • Plan next steps for their school’s continued journey of improved instructional practices

Online Course: Building Rigorous & Robust PreK-3 Learning Environments

This FREE online course, focused on communication and oral language development, is designed to improve student learning, classroom community and the culture of collaborative inquiry in schools. The course kickoff date is September 26, 2018.

Registration coming soon!

Early Career Principals Workshop
*member-led

Join us for an empowering day of learning and collaboration at MESPA's 2nd annual workshop designed BY early career principals, FOR early career principals!

Monday, October 8, 2018 in St. Paul
7 CEUs for just $95

All new and early career principals are encouraged to attend. "Early career" is purposefully left open-ended.

This workshop is collaborative, interactive, and driven by your needs. We will meet you where you're at. During our time together, you'll work with other principals to:

    • Problem-solve with colleagues using real-world scenarios from your school
    • Learn about school law from an early career standpoint and get your questions answered by Roger Aronson
    • Find tangible strategies and tools that have worked for other principals that you can bring back and implement
    • Gain a supportive network of colleagues to contact with questions, and who will contact you periodically to check in
    • Participate in an unconference where you will guide your own learning (and teach others, too!)
    • And more!

Division Meetings

Did you know that your MESPA division offers professional development and networking opportunities? Check out your MESPA division page linked here for current meetings. 

Meetings are planned each September by your division. Contact your Division President for more information!

MESPA Institute 2019
*member-led

Join over 400 of your principal colleagues for 3 incredible days of collaborating, innovating, and networking.

Save the date: Feb 6-8, 2019


Speaker lineup has been released! Check out www.mespa.net/institute for more details!

21st Century School Office
*member-led!

Just $150 for a principal-secretary team!
(Add additional school office staff for $25!)

August 15, 2018, St. Paul - click here to register
October 24, 2018, St. Paul - click here to register
June 10, 2019, Duluth - click here to register

Want to go home on time? We can help! Run a more efficient, organized, and effective school office so you can focus on what really matters -- kids! Created by school office teams for school office teams, principals and secretaries will learn tips and tricks from seasoned school office teams to...

  • Communicate and problem-solve effectively as a team
  • Work on a scheduling plan
  • Empower one another and build trust
  • Create a plan for more efficient organization
  • And more!

Ed Leaders Network
add to your membership today!

Join school leaders around the country in the new and improved online learning platform, Ed Leaders Network. Multiple state principal associations have partnered together to provide you high quality, on demand professional development to enhance your educational leadership! You'll have access to hundreds of on-demand trainings, like:

  • Creating Mentally Healthy Schools
  • Brain Science for Principals
  • Creating a Valid & Reliable Assessment
  • Working with Unmotivated Students
  • Restorative Practices: Academic & Counseling Circles
  • Becoming a Dynamic & Effective Leader
  • PLCs: Supporting Student Achievement

ADD TO YOUR MESPA MEMBERSHIP WHEN YOU RENEW FOR JUST $10! When you join MESPA or renew your MESPA membership, you'll have the opportunity to add this great benefit to your membership this year for $10!


Did you already renew your membership, but didn't add the Ed Leaders Network? Click here to add it now!

NEW Trauma: Foundations and Applications for Trauma Responsive Schools

Trauma is the root cause of many of the most challenging behaviors schools deal with every day. This highly interactive training will prepare principals and school staff to effectively serve and understand this population. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2018 in St. Paul
Bring your team for the member rate of $125!

This training is right for school leaders and staff at all stages of their journey to address trauma in their schools. 

This workshop will progress from the foundational knowledge of trauma to practical applications for effective trauma-responsive practices in schools to assist students affected by trauma. 

In this training, attendees will: 

  • Develop an understanding of neurological and psychological development
  • Learn how to create effective learning environments that support the needs of traumatized children
  • Come away with tools and strategies to immediately apply to their buildings in order to achieve continuous improvement and accountability

NEW How to Build, Influence, and Support a Positive School Culture
*member-led

Friday, November 9, 2018
$125 / 7 CEUs
Click here for more info & to register!

Creating a positive school culture is the foundation of any school. We all want to walk into our schools knowing that we have a positive culture for students and staff to learn and grow, but how do we get everyone committed to the work? In this workshop, you will analyze your school’s current framework, collaborate with other school leaders to learn some strategies that are working for others, hear about existing resources to support your work, and more! 

Join MN's 2018 National Distinguished Principal, Curtis Slater (@slater_curtis_), as he facilitates this important conversation that will help support your students, staff, and families. Mr. Slater has trained more than 400 schools around creating a positive school culture!

MESPA Members: Interested in leading a seminar? Do you have a great idea that other members need to hear? Contact Rachel Dillon, Program Manager (rachel@mespa.net) with your ideas!

Professional Development and Learning Resources

Free Professional Resources From Crayola
As part of its Champion Creatively Alive Children Grant program with NAESP, Crayola hosts free professional arts-themed resources for educators. The complete program covers: Art Builds 21st Century Skills, Creativity Connects Us, Advocacy, and Creative Leadership workshops and videos and guides. Along with a supplemental introductory leadership guide, additional resources help you facilitate workshops and arts-infused education advocacy meetings--everything you need from PowerPoint presentations to flyers, handouts and evaluation forms. These resources will help transform your school culture, and infuse arts across your curriculum. Click here to access these resources now.

Code.org Workshops
Code.org is offering free 1-day workshops to prepare educators and content-area teachers to introduce computer science basics in a format that's fun and accessible to k-5 learners. The workshop will cover content for all three courses and teachers will receive the supplies they need to teach the course- at no cost. These workshops will be led by experienced Code.org K-5 Facilitators in over 60 cities across the United States. Visit their website to find a workshop near you.

Partners in Learning
The Microsoft Innovative Schools Program helps district and school leaders embrace innovation and implement technology effectively to support teaching and learning. Through this program school leaders can explore the possibilities, collaborate with other leaders and create a vision for the future of your school community.

Educating K-12 English Language Learners with Disabilities
The Institute on Community Integration at the University of Minnesota released a publication titled Impact: Feature issue on Education K-12 English Language Learners with Disabilities, which offers information on how to effectively educate English-language learners with disabilities and measure their progress.

Green Strides - Webinar Series 
This webinar series, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education's Green Ribbon Schools initiative, features experts from the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of the Interior, Department of Agriculture, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and other federal programs. Topics include fitness, solar energy, life in space, and more.

Implementing Common Core Standards in Math - Webinar Series 
This free webinar series and online professional learning community, sponsored by ETA/Cuisenaire, provides advice and support regarding the national math curriculum. The program provides free webinars, live chats, lesson plans and online discussions to assist teachers in connecting and collaborating with others in the same grade level.

Global Learning for Educators - Webinar Series
The Asia Society is providing a free, year-long webinar series, Global Learning for Educators, designed to help educators prepare students for college and the interconnected world beyond. Topics include project-based global learning, preparing your school for global learning initiatives, and more.

RTI in Early Childhood Settings - Webcast
“Implementing Response to Intervention in Early Childhood Settings: National, State, and Program Perspectives,” an 80-minute webcast from the RTI Action Network, features a panel of nationally recognized researchers and dynamic RTI implementers on RTI’s role RTI in early childhood. This unique blend of multiple perspectives targets matching high-quality instruction and interventions to meet learning needs during the early childhood years.

Be sure to check out MESPA's resources page for other free resources and grants!

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

1667 Snelling Avenue North, Suite C101
St. Paul, Minnesota, 55108
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