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Program Information

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(All times are CST - central standard time)

Monday, March 22, 2021

9:30 a.m.-10:45 a.m. Early Childhood Consultant Meeting
9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. On-Demand Sectionals and Virtual Exhibit Hall Visits
11:00 a.m.-1:30 p.m. LIVE EVENT     

Keynote #1 and Q&A - Joe Sweeney, Author and Professional Speaker, Pay it Forward Enterprises
“After Further Review”
A pep talk for anyone in the locker room of life about to head back onto the playing field. Joe will teach you how to pause and reflect on your life, form a game plan for the future, see the big picture, find wisdom in others, ask the right questions, discover the life you were meant to live, and realize that life has an expiration date.

Moderated Discussion Session - John Nunes, President of Concordia College, Bronxville, N.Y.; Tim Brackman, Principal, Lutheran North High School, St. Louis, Mo.; James Mitchell, Lutheran North Middle School, St. Louis, Mo.
“Raising Kids in a Diverse World”
Cultural diversity in the classroom is on the rise. Part of building positive identities and a respect for differences means intentionally weaving diversity into the fabric of children's everyday lives. What can we, as educators and administrators, do about it? How does our faith shape what happens as we foster inclusion and awareness in our schools and prepare our students to thrive in an exponentially diverse world1:30 p.m.-4:00 p.m. On-Demand Sectionals and Virtual Exhibit Hall Visits

3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. ALSS Business Meeting

4:00 p.m.-5:30 p.m. LIVE EVENT

Keynote #2 and Q&A – Jim Sanft, President and CEO, Concordia Plans
“Leading Together During Uncertain and Socially Distant Times”
When COVID-19 hit, Concordia Plans quickly embraced two key goals: keep our team healthy and safe and get the work done. Today CPS is navigating the road ahead with two foundational principles: moving forward in faith and doing business as unusual.

5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. Hospitality Suites

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

9:30 a.m.-10:45 a.m. GOSPEL/CONFEDEX Meeting

9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. On-Demand Sectionals and Virtual Exhibit Hall Visits

11:00 a.m.-1:30 p.m. LIVE EVENT

Keynote #3 and Q&A – Donna Orem, President, National Association of Independent Schools
"The Third Education Revolution: The Disruptive Future for Schools”
Enter the Third Education Revolution, a world of continuous learning. This revolution is fueled by a new “smart machine” age and an emerging workplace that is not bound by geography nor driven by traditional “careers.” We’ll explore how these two forces will impact the education landscape—both K-12 and higher ed—and change the nature of how we conceive of education, prepare our students, and recruit and retain an educational workforce.

Moderated Discussion Session #1 – Megan Miessler, Executive Director, Lutheran Counseling Services; Rick Armstrong, Director of Marketing, Lutheran Counseling Services
“Best Practices in Educator Health and Wellness”
Megan and Rick will discuss self-care for educators, coping skills for leaders, signs and symptoms of burnout, and how to support staff that are struggling in times of crisis. Join them for an interactive presentation, and walk away with practical tools to assist in your own health and wellness as well as ways to promote mental health within your staff.

Moderated Discussion Session #2 – Cole Braun, CEO, Lutheran High School Association of Greater Milwaukee; Steve Buuck, CEO, Faith Lutheran, Las Vegas
Funding - Advancement Best Practices”
School funding and advancement can consume your time. This live best practices discussion explores annual funding, planned gifts, grants, events, donor relations, and how to sustain schools through alternative revenue generation. Be prepared to share your ideas and questions.

1:30 p.m.-4:00 p.m. On-Demand Sectionals and Virtual Exhibit Hall Visits

4:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. LIVE EVENT

Keynote #4 and Q&A – David Walsh, Co-founder, Spark and Stitch Institute; Erin Walsh, Co-founder, Spark and Stitch Institute
“It’s Complicated: Children, Social Media, and Mental Health”
In this interactive and energizing presentation, Dr. Dave and Erin Walsh will use brain science, stories, and humor to explain how technology is changing the ways that children grow up, socialize, and forge their identities. They will help participants understand the key ingredients for wellness in the digital age and provide practical tools and strategies that help children and youth build on their strengths.

Sectionals (available on-demand from March 22 through April 30, 2021)

A New Lens on Governance and Leadership by Donna Orem
Dealing with change can leave school leaders in a constant state of catch-up, resulting in unintended consequences or missed opportunities. Inability to effectively lead through rapid change can destabilize a school community and erode trust. When leadership and governance work effectively together, these pitfalls can be avoided. We’ll discuss how to stay ahead of market forces; create alignment around structures, processes, and programs; and develop strategies for success.

Blended Learning—An Instructional Solution by Lisa Myers
Explore the blended learning model and its application to remote learning, the hybrid model, and face-to-face instruction. Experience how this paradigm shift in instructional planning addresses the needs of the 21st-century learner, providing quality instruction regardless of format, and also quite possibly saves the sanity of a teacher trying to meet the needs of students in class and at home. Designed for instructional leaders to share with their teachers.

Building Guardrails for Children’s Online Lives by David Walsh
Learn how technology is changing the ways that children and youth live, learn, and socialize. Topics will include multi-tasking, digital citizenship, addiction, social networking, and more. More importantly Dr. Walsh will identify the three major strategies to build the guardrails to assure that children and youth maximize the digital benefits while avoiding the risks.

Building Healthy Habits for Faculty and Staff by Jeremy Lowe and Steve Gruenwald
Encourage and lead your faculty and staff to utilize the benefits received through Concordia Plans to engage in and celebrate wellness for the benefit of our students, our workers, and their families.

Building Your School's Endowment Through Planned Giving by Dave Fiedler, Dave Hahn, and Mark Cannon
Learn the essentials of using planned giving to build your school's endowment and financial strength.

Design Thinking for School Leaders by Mike Schiemann
Discuss five ways to ignite positive change and mindsets within your school.

Employee Personality Testing to Improve Your Hiring by Dan Gehrke
Hiring the right people is the most important job of any school leader. Learn how to incorporate candidate personality testing into the HR process to find rock-star employees.

Faith-Based Art in Early Childhood by Annette Anschutz
Use children’s experiences in art and exploration of the world around them as an opportunity to nurture their faith. The gift of God’s love for His children is expressed in the beautiful mark-making and material-shaping found in children’s art when they lack words or vocabulary. How will you use paint, wire, clay, and paper when you go back into the classroom on Monday?

Financials—Always a Revenue Problem by Cole Braun
Explore the # 1 reason schools are struggling, failing, and closing. It’s not because the school is bad at delivering math, English, or Jesus. Financial health and financial challenges limit the success of our schools, and it’s always a revenue problem. Gain practical tips on how to make your school thrive through financial success.

Healthy Board/Leader Relationships by Mychal Thom, Craig Ernstmeyer, and Jim Pingel
Do you ever struggle with your relationship with your board? How much more effective could you be if this relationship was improved? This sectional involves a panel of current leaders, discussing practical ways to create a healthy relationship between the school leader and the board.

Marketing an ECC in Extraordinary Times by Aimee Dierks
Helping early childhood centers more effectively deliver and adapt marketing strategies is critical to sustaining and growing enrollment during these unprecedented times. Learn how to successfully overcome common barriers and employ simple strategies.

School Safety Best Practices by Julian Petzold
Enhance and supplement your existing emergency plans with simple processes. Learn to teach yourself and all staff to use techniques that will stimulate the frontal cortex of the brain amidst stress. Understand the facts vs. myths surrounding most school safety emergencies. Learn basic triage in the event of mass casualties.

Solving Design Challenges with Young Children by Cheryl Haun
Quality early childhood programs include project-based learning, hands-on experimentation, and experiences that support natural inquiry. These concepts are central to the implementation of a STEM or STEAM curriculum. Topical teaching and learning from the STEM prospective challenges children to use everyday items to solve problems in an integrated, developmentally appropriate manner. Our session will include a look at design challenges with literacy connections found in NAEYC’s “Making & Tinkering with STEM” by Kate Heroman.

Special Education Virtual Considerations by Kara Bratton
Adapting instruction for students with disabilities in a distance learning setting has challenged schools and teachers over the last year. During this sectional, specific strategies and overall guidelines for providing special education virtually will be discussed. There will also be a time for Q&A about this topic.

Strong Vision, Strong School by Thomas Wrege
Providing a vision is a shared responsibility. Those who lead create a case for the future—one understood, grasped, and blessed by those who serve together. Having a preferred future and specific outcomes are the goal. Strategically plan it out, implement it, and make it an active, living plan, framed with prayer and confidence. Push your Lutheran school to thrive with a dynamic vision for all to embrace.

Succeeding with Spectrum Kids by Kim Marxhausen
Learn about adaptive behaviors, sensory processing, models for thinking strategies, problem-solving, and solutions for disruptive behavior for children on the Autism Spectrum. Children on the spectrum are not typically disabled; they have different ways of processing information. A better understanding will lead to more effective learning and classroom interaction.

Supporting Parents in an Online Environment by Megan Miessler
Parent anxiety is at an all-time high and administrators are feeling that pressure more than ever. Join Megan as she shares ways to respond to parents who attack, are anxious, and ultimately feel like a failure every day. Find ways to recognize your own anxiety and how it impacts your conversations with parents. Discover ways to encourage your staff to reduce anxiety in conversations with parents.

Teaching the Faith Builds Emotional Muscle by Kim Marxhausen
Now, more than ever, our children need emotional strength. Teaching the faith is our best tool for building emotionally healthy children. Let’s look at the basic theory behind this idea and see how God’s plan for integrating the faith results in many blessings for children. This presentation is an introduction to discussion materials in “Seeking the Faith Quotient”, available for free at

Team Communications Principles by Thomas Wrege
Experiencing a culture of effective communication can be “a breath of fresh air.” All leaders have had a variety of experiences to help form opinions of what works best—and what does not. Within Christian school systems, positive communication practices move teams towards healthy dynamics to serve communities well. When such practices are in place, the organization tends to be a much happier place.

Teamwork in Outreach With a Thriving ECC by Aimee Dierks and James Rockey
This session will help participants address several key components in creating and sustaining a strong partnership in outreach that engages not only the pastor and director, but also the congregation in creating a thriving early childhood center. The presenters will discuss strategies intentionally incorporated to create one church, one ministry, one mission—to connect people to Jesus.

Thinking Thankfully About Diversity by John Nunes
The rising awareness of racial justice provides a leadership opportunity in school settings. Christian institutions possess unique pathways to cultivate dialogue, build interculturity, and foster reconciliation. Nunes will explore some of the administrative dynamics involved in shaping both neighborliness and life together across differences in communities of learning.

What Sticks? Lasting Changes in Education After the Pandemic by Matt Bergholt

Throughout 2020, schools across America were forced to make changes and rapidly innovate unlike any year in recent history. Seemingly overnight, classrooms sprouted additional student devices, livestreaming hardware and online learning management structures. While teachers, students and families may have mastered the changes, it is not a time to “rest”. Instead, now more so than ever it will be important to look ahead at the educational issues and trends that are approaching for the coming years. Join us as we take a look forward at technology innovation and education in general and discuss where we go from here.

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