Putting the Pieces Together


Growing the work of the Minnesota Assessment Conference, with expanded programming and a broader focus!

The A+ Education Conference strives to make education assessment relevant and meaningful across the K-12 education field; engages attendees in the work of fostering equity and success for ALL students; and inspires positive change for better student outcomes.

This year's theme is "Putting the Pieces Together" with the goals of promoting a more holistic, comprehensive approach to assessment, engaging across functions to see the big picture, and focusing on practical application and instructional strategies.

Minnesota A+ Education Conference 2017

Who should attend?

Everyone involved in educating K-12 students in Minnesota's public school system.

The conference will provide timely and relevant information for classroom teachers; curriculum, assessment and technology coordinators; counselors, administrators and leaders; and other stakeholders within the state's K-12 education community. Through shared learning and opportunities for dialogue and networking, the A+ Education Conference will be the annual event that you'll want to attend to kick off the new school year!

This year's conference features:

  • National and Internationally-Recognized Keynote & Endnote Speakers
  • Over 30 breakout sessions with a variety of topics & formats
  • Multiple opportunities to engage and network
  • Exhibits from sponsors and vendors
  • Prizes for your classroom or school!

Platinum Sponsor
Pearson Education Logo


Assessment for Learning or Earning? Start with WHY

Schools that demonstrate alignment go beyond random acts of improvement. They filter all decisions and actions through the lens of their agreed-upon and deeply held cultural beliefs and clearly understood desired results. Helping schools build their capacity for authentic alignment requires educators to develop and execute a plan to better align their efforts, work smarter and not harder, and be rewarded with powerful results. Ideally, our WHY should serve as the lens through which all actions are considered, decisions made, and practices agreed upon. Our students are not prepared for the advanced content, complex reasoning, or, often, the design of assessments to be successful on those assessments. There is a gap between our traditional approach and what is expected. Bridging that gap will require us to partner with students and colleagues to increase engagement and view assessment as something done for students not just to them.

Keynote Speaker Biography
Tom Hierck has been an educator since 1983 in a career that has spanned all grade levels and many roles in public education. His experiences as a teacher, administrator, district leader, department of education project leader, and executive director have provided a unique context for his education philosophy.

Tom is a compelling presenter, infusing his message of hope with strategies culled from the real world. He understands that educators face unprecedented challenges and knows which strategies will best serve learning communities. Tom has presented to schools and districts across North America with a message of celebration for educators seeking to make a difference in the lives of students. His dynamic presentations explore the importance of positive learning environments and the role of assessment to improve student learning. His belief that "every student is a success story waiting to be told" has led him to work with teachers and administrators to create positive school cultures and build effective relationships that facilitate learning for all students. His most recent book, and his first solo effort, looks at the importance of creating a positive classroom learning environment as a complex but necessary task for all educators. It is his fourteenth title with two more books scheduled.

Tom and his wife of 35 years, Ingrid, are the proud parents of three children and grandparents of six. In his spare time Tom likes to run and he has completed 48 marathons.

Keynote Speaker Tom Hierck



Learning for Mastery: Mobilize Your How

Once there is clarity around the WHY behind our work, learning organizations can begin to mobilize their collective efforts for HOW to get it all done. We know that if we want to change our results, we have to change how we operate. For many schools, this means unifying around a singular focus of learning. It means interrupting patterns of behavior, policies, or structures that hinder our ability to achieve our primary purpose: high levels of learning for ALL students. It also means getting crystal clear on what we expect students to be able to do with the things we are teaching them. Building a healthy system to gather evidence of student learning focuses on four critical areas: relationships, communication, responsiveness and sustainability. Employing these elements enables us to work together so we can rise together, and our make our collective impact for students truly tremendous.

Endnote Speaker Biography
Angie Freese has recently transitioned to the Director of Research, Assessment and Accountability for Osseo Area Public Schools in Maple Grove, Minnesota. Her previous position was as Director of Learning Analytics and Systems Improvement for Stillwater Area Public Schools in Stillwater, Minnesota. Her work there focused on using systems thinking to embed solid professional practices throughout the organization, including creating collaborative teams, designing a guaranteed and viable curriculum, and implementing grading and assessment practices that best communicate student learning. Angie is most passionate about bringing student voice and perspective in the organization, and actively seeks opportunities to connect and collaborate with student learners. She has previously been a middle school assistant principal in the North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale School District and an elementary assistant principal and curriculum coordinator with Rochester Public Schools. Angie is a nationally recognized speaker on assessment, and has worked with school teams and districts across the country to design systems that champion student learning. Her work primarily focuses on building healthy school cultures, developing systems of grading and assessment, and aligning curriculum and instructional practices to elevate teacher practice and enhance student achievement.

Angie is the proud mother of a seven-year-old daughter. In her spare time, she enjoys time with family, hiking, playing or watching sports, and spontaneous road trips.

Endnote Speaker Angela Freese



7:30 - 8:30 a.m.

Registration, Continental Breakfast & Exhibits open

8:30 - 8:45 a.m.

Welcome & Information

8:45 - 9:30 a.m.


9:30 - 10:00 a.m.

Refreshments & Networking (Exhibits Open)

9:35 - 9:50 a.m.

Exhibitor Showcase - Rethinking Pedagogy

10:00 - 11:00 a.m.

Concurrent Sessions

11:00 - 11:15 a.m.

Break (Exhibits Open)

11:15 - 12:15 p.m.

Concurrent Sessions

12:15 - 1:00 p.m.


1:00 - 1:30 p.m.

Desserts & Networking (Exhibits Open)

1:05 - 1:20 p.m.

Exhibitor Showcase - Machine Learning

1:30 - 2:30 p.m.

Concurrent Sessions

2:30 - 2:45 p.m.

Break (Exhibits Open)

2:45 - 3:05 p.m.


3:05 - 3:15 p.m.

Wrap-up and Prizes!



Registration Now Open!

2017 A+ Education Conference Pricing

Early Bird (May 1 - May 31, 2017)
Regular (June 1 - August 3, 2017)
Onsite (August 10, 2017)


Bring a team! Groups of 5 or more, registering together, will automatically receive a $10.00 per person discount. Groups must register online before August 3, 2017 to receive discount.



For your convenience, blocks of rooms have been held at the following hotels across the Twin Cities for the night of August 9, 2017. There is limited space at each hotel, so reserve early to get the best rate!

Radisson Hotel Minneapolis/St. Paul North - Roseville, MN
Rate: $109.00/night + tax
Complimentary Parking
To make reservations, call the toll free number 800-333-3333 and ask for the room block for the A+ Education Conference.
Reservations must be made before July 24, 2017 to receive the discounted rate.
There will be a complimentary shuttle for a limited number of guests to and from the RiverCentre on a first-come, first-served basis. To reserve your seat on the shuttle, please email Caitlin at cpinick@mngts.org.

Holiday Inn Express St. Paul South - Inver Grove Heights, MN
Rate: $96.00/night + tax
Complimentary Parking
To make reservations, call 1-651-450-1100 and ask for the A+ Education Conference. If booking online, go to the Holiday Inn Express St. Paul South website and use the code "APE" in the Group Code box.
Reservations must be made before July 26, 2017 to receive the discounted rate.

Best Western Plus Capitol Ridge - St. Paul, MN
Rate: $129.99/night + tax
Complimentary Parking
To make reservations, call 651-227-8711 and ask for the room block for the A+ Education Conference.
Reservations must be made before July 14, 2017 to receive the discounted rate.
There will be a complimentary shuttle from the hotel to and from the Saint Paul RiverCentre. Please sign up at the front desk upon check-in.


Be a Sponsor

Get in on the ground floor of this one-of-a-kind event for all Minnesota public K-12 professionals

Sponsor & Exhibitor Registration is Now Open!

Registration is Now Open!

Why you need to be there:

  • Position yourself as a learning leader in the state of Minnesota
  • Discover emerging trends in the Minnesota K-12 market
  • Generate business opportunities and partnerships
  • Showcase your current product or service

Opportunities are limited and available on a first-come basis.

Download a prospectus now for more information.

Ready to Register? Click here.

Platinum Sponsor

Pearson Education Logo

Bronze Sponsors

Northern Joint Powers Association Logo

Fresh Color Press Logo

PCs for People Logo

FastBridge Learning Logo

Wells Fargo Logo

Diversified Logo

Exhibitor Showcase Sponsor

Voyager Sopris Logo

Make sure to attend our Exhibitor Showcase located across Ballrooms A&E

Rethinking Pedagogy: A Blended Approach to Reading and Writing
Technology is constantly changing the way students learn and how teachers teach. Don't miss this demonstration of a blended learning solution developed for adolescence students who struggling in reading with innovated online personalize instruction, social media platform, and engaging classroom interaction.
9:15 - 10:00 a.m. (during exhibit times)

Machine Learning: Revolutionizing Technology
Machine learning is reshaping the world we live in! Developed by a Seattle-based education studio, come see the latest machine learning engine that is revolutionary in reading comprehension, embeds assessments with no interrupted instruction time, provides real time actionable data, and enables teachers to more effectively teach a classroom of students who read at different levels by providing individualized highly curated content for each student.
1:15 - 1:30 p.m. (during exhibit times)

Exhibitors at A Plus Conference
Share your product or solution with nearly 1,000 K-12 buyers

Teacher and Students
Ninety-two percent of tradeshow attendees come see and learn about what is new in products and services