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Plan Now! 2015 Conference Dates:
June 17-18, 2015


Step Up to the Plate for Character


10th Annual Character Education Conference

June 19-20, 2014

Conference sponsored by the School District of South Milwaukee, hosted by Alverno College.
All sessions will be held at Alverno College in the Sister Joel Read Conference Center. Maps and directions are located here.

Conference Schedule

Thursday, June 19

8:00-9:00 AM                   Registration, Breakfast, Book Fair, and Exhibits

9:00-12:15 PM                 Welcome by School District of South Milwaukee

                                       Keynote Presentation by Principal Baruti Kafele

12:15-1:15 PM                 Lunch, Book Fair, and Exhibits

1:15-2:30 PM                   Breakout Session 1

  • ASPIRE: Providing Academic and Personal Development Opportunities for Student Success (Repeated Friday)
  • The Power to Be: A Character Education Framework for At-Risk Learners
  • Batters Up: From First Base to the Homerun with Lessons of Character Education
  • Tips for Applying for WI State School of Character Designation
  • Creating a Culture of Caring and Compassion for Classroom, Home and Community          

2:45-4:00 PM                   Breakout Session 2

  • A District-Wide Implementation: How South Milwaukee Got Started
  • Hone In to Home Plate
  • Assessment Tools for Character Education (Repeated Friday)
  • Building Character and Leadership Skills in a RtI System (Repeated Friday)
  • Character Is Our Super Power
  • The 4 R’S: Relationships + Rules + Routines = Results (Repeated Friday)

Friday, June 20

7:00-8:00 AM                    Registration, Breakfast, Book Fair, and Exhibits

8:00-9:15 AM                    Breakout Session 3

  • ASPIRE: Providing Academic and Personal Development Opportunities for Student Success
  • The 4 R’S: Relationships + Rules + Routines = Results
  • Service Learning-Student Corps
  • Assessment Tools for Character Education
  • Character Education “The Greenwood Way”
  • Tell me more about PBIS and SEFEL and How They Work with Character Education

9:30-10:45 AM                  Breakout Session 4

  • Dig Deeper: Inspiring Kids to Understand the Depth of Their Own Character
  • Building Character and Leadership Skills in a RtI System
  • Student Transitions: Link Crew/WEB
  • 2014 Promising Practices Showcase
  • 5 Levers to Improve Learning: How to Prioritize for Powerful Results in Your School

10:45-11:00 AM                Break

10:45-11:15 AM                Book Fair and Exhibits

11:00-1:00 PM                  Awards Luncheon

1:15-3:25 PM                    Keynote Presentation by Ed Dunkelblau

3:25-3:30 PM                    Closing Remarks

3:30-4:00 PM                    Book Fair and Exhibits


Who should attend the conference:

  • Teachers
  • Administrators
  • School Counselors
  • Pupil Services Professionals
  • PBIS/RtI Coordinators
  • Coaches
  • School Board Members
  • Parents
  • Community Leaders

2014 Promising Practice Award winners attend the 2-day conference free! Your registration fee will be reimbursed by WCEP. 


Pre-conference Workshop June 18, 2014:

Eleven Principles of Effective Character Education Institute


CEP’s Eleven Principles of Effective Character Education training is customized to help school teams learn how to move the character education initiative forward in their schools and identify major areas for planning. The program's principles create a framework that incorporates all aspects of school programming with a focus on embedding character education throughout the curriculum and culture of the school.  This training encourages  teams to reflect on the needs of their individual schools as they relate to the Eleven Principles Framework.  It is beneficial for schools that are just getting started as well as for schools that are looking to enhance existing programs.  Optimal growth and planning result when school teams, including the building principal, work together throughout the day.  School teams often include the character education committee and/or teacher-leaders from across grade levels and curricular areas.  This training will provide a solid foundation for your conference experience.


Keynote Speakers:

Picture of Principal Kafele for Character ConferencePrincipal Baruti Kafele 

Award-Winning Principal and Best-Selling Author


A Hall of Fame urban public school educator in New Jersey for over twenty years, Principal Baruti Kafele distinguished himself as a classroom teacher and as a school leader. As an elementary school teacher in East Orange, NJ, he was selected as the East Orange School District and Essex County Public Schools Teacher of the Year.  As a middle and high school principal, he led the transformation of four different schools, including "The Mighty" Newark Tech, which went from a low-performing school in need of improvement to national recognition, which included U.S. News and World Report Magazine recognizing it as one of America's best high schools.


An internationally-renowned education speaker and consultant, Principal Kafele is one of the most sought-after speakers for transforming the attitudes of at-risk student populations in America. A versatile speaker, he regularly conducts conference keynote addresses, professional development workshops, parental engagement seminars and "hard-hitting, no-nonsense" male student empowerment assemblies.  He has worked with hundreds of schools and districts over the years to assist them with closing what he calls, the “attitude gap” as both, a workshop presenter and through his consulting services.


A best-selling author, Principal Kafele is a leading authority on professional development strategies for motivating Black male students to excel in the classroom.  He has written several articles for education journals on this topic and is the author of the best-selling book, Motivating Black Males to Achieve in School and in Life. He is also recognized as an expert in the area of school climate and culture and has written two books on this topic - Closing the Attitude Gap: How to Fire Up Your Students to Strive for Success and A Handbook for Teachers of African American Children.


Principal Kafele is married to his wife Kimberley, and is the father of their three children, Baruti, Jabari and Kibriya. He earned his B.S. degree in Management Science/Marketing from Kean University and his M.A. degree in Educational Administration from New Jersey City University. He is the recipient of over one hundred educational, professional and community awards which include the National Alliance of Black School Educators Hall of Fame Award, the Milken National Educator Award, the New Jersey Education Association Award of Excellence and the City of Dickinson, Texas proclaiming February 8, 1998 as Baruti Kafele Day.


Photo of Ed Dunkelow for Character ConferenceEd Dunkelblau, PhD

Director of the Institute for Emotionally Intelligent Learning


Dr Ed Dunkelblau is an internationally known speaker and consultant on the topics of Social emotional Learning, Safe Schools programming and Humor in Education.


He has numerous publications including the Social Emotional and Character Development quick reference and has been an organizational consultant to dozens of schools, districts, State boards of education and corporations. He was the lead consultant to the Kansas Board of Education in developing the Country’s first Social Emotional and Character learning standards and he is the expert faculty for ASCD specializing in social emotional learning. He is one of the developers of the online course series for credentialing in Social emotional Learning. His work has been featured in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, USA Today, on NPR and CNN.

 His awards include Alumnus of the year award from Columbia University Teachers College, the Distinguished Alumni award from the University of Kansas and the Lifetime Achievement Award for Applied Humor from the Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor.


Breakout Sessions

Participants can choose up to four breakout sessions from more than 20 offerings featuring national and local experts on character education. Breakout sessions will be identified for educational levels:  Elementary, Middle, High School and Administrative Leadership.  See the Conference Schedule for session titles.


Graduate Credit Option

One graduate credit will be offered to 2-day conference participants through Alverno College at a fee of $120.  A course description and registration form will be emailed to interested parties upon request. 


Conference Hotel

The Comfort Suites is an all-suite hotel located near the Milwaukee Airport and close to many Milwaukee attractions and schools. There are three indoor pools; an activity pool, kiddie pool and whirlpool. A hot item continental breakfast is served daily in Duffy's Pub. Duffy's Pub also features nightly happy hour offering complimentary beer, wine and soda.  WIFI and parking are also included in your nightly rate.  For more hotel information visit

Comfort Suites offers complimentary shuttle service to/from the airport upon request as well as complimentary shuttle service to/from Alverno College at prearranged times.

Contact the Institute for Educational Outreach at or 414-382-6087 for more information.