Preparing Educators as Leaders

Teaching & Learning in A Technological World

2015 Summer Strategies Conference - June 5 

This year's Summer Strategies Conference will be hosted by the KU School of Education, in partnership with the Kansas State Department of Education.  The official conference theme is centered on teaching & learning in a technological world.  Topics in general will cover flipped classrooms and technology use in the classroom.   


Keynote Speaker: Dr. Wesley Fryer

Dr. Wesley Fryer is an author, classroom STEM teacher, speaker, digital storyteller, and change agent. He teaches 4th and 5th grade STEM at Independence Elementary in Yukon Public Schools in Oklahoma. Wesley completed his Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from Texas Tech University in 2011. He is the author of several books on effectively using digital technologies to communicate, tell stories, teach and assess learning. He leads 3 day iPad Media Camps teaching educators how to effectively use iPads in the classroom to create narrated slideshows, quick edit videos, and interactive writing.

Wesley also co-facilitates multi-day STEM professional development workshops for teachers. Wes became a Google Certified Teacher in 2009, was named an Apple Distinguished Educator in 2005, and a PBS Digital Innovator in 2014. He helps organize free EdCamp and PLAYDATE professional development events in Oklahoma, an annual writing conference in Oklahoma City, as well as the free, annual K-12 Online Conference each year. For more info: 


Keynote Speaker: Mrs. Shannon Ralph

Mrs. Shannon Ralph is the 2015 Kansas Teacher of the Year.  She earned a Bachelor of Science in biology from Washburn University and a Master of Science in biology from Fort Hays State University. Mrs. Ralph began her career teaching middle school science in Holton, Kansas and has taught at Dodge City High School for the past 14 years. She currently teaches all levels of biology.

Shannon spent two summers at the University of Kansas participating in the Research Experience for Teachers program, where she collaborated with other participants and researchers to create high school lessons that allow teachers to incorporate engineering concepts into physics, chemistry, and biology classrooms. The team also authored an article that was published in The Science Teacher. Mrs. Ralph is co-author of a lab-based biology curriculum that focuses on using inquiry as its key delivery method, which is aimed at increasing student engagement and learning. She has presented at national conferences for both the National Association of Biology Teachers and National Science Teachers Association. Shannon is passionate about intentionally building personal relationships with students in order to make lessons both relevant and meaningful. 

Conference Date & Location

Join us on Friday, June 5, 2015 at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas.  This full-day event will be held at the Kansas Union on campus.  More information to be provided to registered participants.

Call for Proposals 

Interested presenters are encouraged to submit a presentation proposal now through Monday, April 27, 2015. Submit your proposal to present now!  

Online Registration

Regular registration for the 2015 Summer Strategies Conference is now available online through Monday, May 18, 2015. Submit your registration to attend now!

Sponsorship and Exhibitor Opportunities

Individuals and organizations who are interested in serving as a sponsor or exhibitor of the event are encouraged to contact Sherrie Saathoff at or 785-864-4297.

Thank you to our 2015 co-sponsors:

2014 Conference Wrap-Up

The 2014 KU School of Education Summer Strategies Conference has passed. Please check back in early 2015 for information on 2015 Summer Conference planning.

The University of Kansas - School of Education, the Kansas Department of Education, and the Kansas Alliance for the Arts of Education co-sponsored the 2014 Annual Summer Strategies Conference: Strategies for Educational Improvement: Moving from STEM to STEAM on Friday, June 13, 2014 in Lawrence, Kansas. This annual summer event was offered as a free conference and day of professional development for regional educators.  

Thank you to the more than 350 educators who joined us from all over the state of Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, Oklahoma, and beyond!  Participants included teachers, principals, superintendents, university faculty, KSDE staff, and others. In addition to our large group of fellow educators, we were honored to have our two keynote speakers:

  • Jean Hendrickson, Director Emeritus on the Oklahoma A+ Schools (University of Central Oklahoma),
    • “Powering the STEAM Engine with Creativity. Helping schools think, plan, and behavior more creatively”
  • Curtis Chandler, former Kansas Teacher of the Year (2011), currently with ESSDACK
    • “Better than a Video Game – Getting Kids Addicted to Learning”

If you know of someone with strong skills in one of the identified areas please share this information with them or send us their name(s) and contact information. Proposals for 2015 will be accepted during Spring 2015.


“You all highlighted current, relevant topics in education. And the day was well organized, as usual.”​

“Thank you so much for this conference.  This year was outstanding – A+”

“It showed the direction we are headed in getting the arts back into schools, where it is needed.  You all provided a wide diversity of topics to choose from.”

“Great opportunity to meet peopled from the state in a field that requires all of us to collaborate with each other.”

“The things I learned today will help me improve student engagement.”

“You have a wide range of topics – Keep it up!”
“Excellent. Thank you for continuing to offer this conference.”


Who: Teachers, administrators and anyone interested in advancing achievement for PK-12 students in the state of Kansas

What: The University of Kansas School of Education, the Kansas State Department of Education, and others partner to offer this informative conference at NO COST.

When: Summer 2015 TBA

Where: University of Kansas, Joseph R. Pearson Hall • Lawrence, Kansas

2013 Conference

June 14, 2013

Thank You!

Thank you to everyone who attended the 2013 Summer Conference "Strategies for Educational Improvement."  We appreciate that you took time from your busy schedule to join us for this event and we hope that you were inspired by something you saw.

We will have registration materials for the 2014 conference on the website in early 2014.  Reserve your space early and bring a friend.

If you have any questions, please call Sherrie Saathoff at 785-864-4297.



KSDE Commissioner Diane DeBacker
Robert Marzano "Developing Teacher Expertise"
Olli Määttä "Combining Theory and Practice: Teaching and Teacher Training in Finland”


Keynote Introduction

Small Group Session

Combining Theory and Practice: an Inseparable Union in Education in Finland - Olli Määttä

[Download PDF of Agenda]1 Updated: 6/11/13

[Download PDF of Presentations]2 Updated: 6/11/13

[Download PDF version]3 Updated: 5/1/13

Who: Teachers, Administrators and anyone interested in advancing achievement for K-12 students in the State of Kansas
What: The University of Kansas and the Kansas State Department of Education are partnering to offer this free and informative day of professional development.
When: Friday, June 14, 2013
Registration: 7:30 a.m.
Welcome: 8:30 a.m.
Where: University of Kansas • Lawrence, Kansas

2012 Conference

[Download PDF Agenda]

2011 Conference

The following are presentations from speakers at the Strategies for Educational Improvement Conference held at the University of Kansas, June 17, 2011.

Sheahon Zenger from Frank Carey on Vimeo.

Diane Debacker from Frank Carey on Vimeo.

Dean Rick Ginsberg from Frank Carey on Vimeo.

Panel discussion from Frank Carey on Vimeo.

2010 Conference

Below are is a list of the speakers and presentations from the 2010 Strategies for Educational Improvement Conference. Click on a link on the right to take you to the presentation.


Archives (Links)

Kristin Magette
Matt Bova
Heather Lawrence

Ideas and People Come Together for Results

Joe Novak

How to Overcome Educator Burnout (ppt)
Miki Herman Exploring Expository Text
Mark McBeth
Shelly Bolejack
The Art of Coaching Teachers (pptx)
The Art of Coaching Teachers Handout
Michael Hock
Irma F. Brasseur-Hock
Fusion Reading: A Comprehensive Adolescent Reading Program (ppt)
Jared Hedden KEDUC: A Treasure Trove of Data
Laurie Winter

Goal Structure Mapping of Narrative Text Presentation (ppt)
Goal Structure Mapping of Narrative Text Handout

Diane DeBacker Kansas Schools in Tough Budget Times (pptx)
Patricia Graner Connecting SIM/CLC to Whole School Reform
CLC: Content Literacy Continum
Dan Pollitt
Frances Ihle
Carrie Mark
Leslie Novosel
The Organizing Strategy
Francie Christopher Addressing the Needs of English Language Learners (pptx)
The Marlup
Julie Ford

School Improvement (ppt)

Angelique Kobler
Terry McEwen

Thanks for the Data, But I Have Kids to Teach

Become A Philanthropic Partner

Thank you for your interest in contributing to the KU School of Education! There are many ways for you to support the School and our students, faculty and programs while achieving your philanthropic goals. If you would like to explore ways you can help, see the Giving Options at KU Endowment, or contact:

Brian Friedman
Brian Friedman
Associate Development Director, School of Education
1891 Constant Ave.
Lawrence, KS 66047
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