Dr. Susan Etscheidt
About the Conference
In 2004 and 2005 Leadership within Midwest Symposium recognized that it was critical to not only train the teachers and district-level special education personnel to work with and advocate for students with emotional/behavioral disorders, but to also increase the expertise and support of building level principals and other leaders to support the work of these individuals in the classroom. In 2006 MSLBD offered the first conference specifically for building level administrators: principals, assistant or associate principals, and special education directors or coordinators. From 2006-2017, the focus of the conference expanded to include not only administrators but also deans of students, lead teachers, and school behavior teams.
The goal of the conference was to provide evidence-based information and practices to work effectively with behaviorally challenged students and their families. Sessions were tailored specifically for the needs of building leaders who are working to build positive student behavior and meet the needs of students with behavioral needs in their schools. The conference attracted about 120-150 administrators annually from the four-state region (Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and Iowa), with a few attendees from areas around the Midwest region such as – Oklahoma, Arkansas, Wisconsin, and South Dakota. The Symposium and School Leaders Conference run on a nonprofit, self-supporting basis and is managed by a regional planning committee.
Intended Audience. This conference was designed for Principals, Assistant or Associate Principals, Deans of Students, Lead Teachers, Behavior Teams, Special Education Directors or Coordinators, and other building leaders.
Conference Goal. The conference provided evidence-based information and practices to effectively work with students with behavioral challenges and their families. Sessions were tailored specifically to the needs of building leadership teams who work to build positive student behavior and meet the needs of students with behavioral needs in their schools.
Why a Conference for Building Leaders on "Behavior"? The expertise and support of principals, assistant or associate principal, and their leadership teams are crucial in working with students with behavioral needs! Little attention has been paid to principals' needs for knowledge and skills in working with their staff and their students regarding behavior and discipline issues, let alone how to prevent behavior problems and create a positive school climate. In order to meet academic goals for our students and for our schools, improving and supporting the behavior of students in school is an essential prerequisite. We continue this effort by thoughtfully programming sessions at the Annual Symposium held in February as well as at the Richard L. Simpson Conference on Autism that will help support the unique needs of administrators.