Spring Conference

45th Annual WALA Spring Conference

March 5-7, 2020

Skamania Lodge

Stevenson, WA

During the conference, please click here for:

Presenter resources:

Session Presentation Evaluation form



WALA Links Page – Classified Help for All

Registration Fee……………………………………………………………….$400

Includes conference registration, meals and clock hours.


Click above to register then use Add to Cart button below to submit payment.

Pay by credit card here (Registration Form must also be submitted): 

Call for Presenters Form


Included in conference registration fee.

  • Pre-Conference Thursday 9am-3pm (please see below for details)
  • Friday breakfast, lunch and dinner/banquet
  • Saturday breakfast and lunch

Exhibitors/Vendors Registration Form

Cancellation Policy: 

Pre-Conference Info:

We are providing a Pre-Conference this year for up to 160 people. (Lunch provided)

Here is what we will offer for Pre-Conference breakout sessions:
1.  Trauma Informed Care and Resilency 10:30-4:00 pm (50 participants)

2.  Youth Mental Health First Aid (Presenters: ESD 112)
a. For 30 participants for eight hours/issued the book and certification once completed the additional hours in regular conference to meet requirements for certification. To get your certification, you will need to attend the 4:00-5:10 breakout.

3.  OSSI and School Improvement (50 participants)

4.  Project-Based with Educurious (30 participants)

Please email Brad Sprague your choices 1-2-3-4 in rank order. I will fill slots as I get your email.


WALA puts on a silent and live auction during the banquet Friday night of the conference to raise money for student scholarships.  

Please do not forget to bring items for the auction.

We depend on conference attendees and programs to make our auction a success.  Auction item ideas: wine, gift cards, memorabilia, arts and crafts, small themed baskets, etc.

There will be a live auction where WALA will auction off six large baskets. Each region is responsible to orchestrate these items and make sure they are delivered to the conference. Theme ideas: Spa package, golf package, wine tasting, bed and breakfast package, etc. Feel free to contact your region reps to contribute to the baskets.  

All of the money collected from the auction goes toward student scholarships issued at the end of the school year.  The past two years we have been very light on auction items and income for scholarships, so it would be nice to see a great supply of silent and live auction items to support our students in their future educational goals.


Friend of WALA nomination link:  https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScRCMda59S0g6oKz_i9AHhb4zgf6WZRRTFqi5ARskkx2zkYtA/viewform

Elementary Educator of the Year nomination link:


Administrator of the Year nomination link:


 Secondary Educator of the Year nomination link:



Dear WALA Colleagues,

As we go into this season it can be a mixed bag of emotions. For alternative educators, we are mindful of the depression and anxiety we see in our families that can be exacerbated by the holidays and the darker, wetter days. This awareness has made me feel more gratitude. And for the first time since they were born, I will have neither of my children around for any of these holidays.

My son, Sawyer, recently wrote from Bolivia of his feelings of loneliness and awareness of the disconnect many have from this gratitude, and of being away from family as an exchange student:

You’re in a home with people who care about you and are giving you food and shelter, yet there will always be that piece missing. The piece of talking about the time when I clobbered my brother in the head with a book or Drew with a hammer, or saying every. single. line. of A Christmas Story out loud while you watch for the 11 billionth time with the people you love and cherish the most in the entire world. Your cats… I mean family.

The connectivity of the Holiday season. Mindless consumerism, commercialized deforestation, buying 15 new strings of lights after the 15 you bought last year inevitably don’t work…. Ah, I can practically smell the turkey and roast beef. All that being said, and frankly just depressing the heck out of me, I can safely say this puppy is going to be a rough one. But I just want to say what a tremendous amount of love and appreciation I have for every one of you.

The juxtaposition of joy and sadness can be a part of this season. We may experience suffering with regularity. We may feel sadness about the state of the world, or about our loved ones. We may feel loneliness. These feelings can help us feel present for the joy and delight- and that can make our gratitude as big as the world!

2019 WALA Conference

I am truly looking forward to seeing you all at WALA this year. It is a wonderful opportunity for us to connect with our peeps! This year our conference theme is Equity and Inclusion in Alternative Education. We are pulling together some terrific daylong preconference workshops and breakout sessions largely aimed at helping us do the good work around race and social justice in our schools.

Dr. Curtis Acosta will speak as our Friday morning keynote. Dr. Acosta has been a classroom teacher and educator who has focused on the work of ethnic studies and social justice around the US. You will not want to miss him! Dr. Justin Irish will be our final Keynote Saturday. Dr. Irish is the Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Education in the Edmonds School District, and is a passionate advocate for the Equity and Inclusion work and policy-making. He will share some of his observations and research around family engagement and other equity work.

We will again showcase our students’ art and poetry- look for details for entry soon.

AND, as always there will be an auction to benefit our WALA Scholarship fund, and a costume contest at our banquet with this year’s theme: WALACon.


January 18, 2019- ALE Administrators Meeting in Lacey

March 21-23, 2019- WALA Annual Conference in Suncadia Lodge

Conference Call for Presenters deadline extended to February 1!

In closing, our three big goals this year are to show up, bring in new leaders, and recruit members!  Consider ways you can promote our organization as a container and learning network for great work in Alternative Education around the state!  

I am wishing you a luminous season of grace, gratitude, joy, and rest.




Thank you for participating in our last committee meeting on 11/28.  We always appreciate your feedback and insights!  The meeting notes are attached and a few follow-up items are included below.  Please review each item, as some include requests for responses.

We discussed having our next advisory committee prior to the January ALE Administrator meeting.  It is currently scheduled for 1:00 – 3:00 on Thursday January 10th.  Calendar invite with zoom information will follow.  Please accept or decline the invite depending on your schedule.  If most folks cannot attend that date/time we will try to reschedule.

    1. A large chunk of time at our 11/28 meeting was spent discussing the state of alternative learning and how we can improve, spread, and/or reform the educational options we support.  If anyone is interested in participating on a smaller sub-committee to continue discussing this topic, please email me by December 31st.
  1. Info/updates on agenda items we skipped

–          ALD site visits.  We have a variety of site visits scheduled this winter and are still scheduling more.  We are interested in your feedback on the following items.  If you have feedback, please email me by December 31st.

o   What would the field want to know about these visits?

o   Is there anything specific we should be looking for or asking about?

o   What themes or buckets of information would you want to see us present on after a variety of visits have been completed?

–          MTSS in alternative learning.  We will include this on the agenda for our next meeting.

–          Project updates.

o   We have been working with the WA School Counselor Association (WSCA) and our colleagues at OPSI to learn more about School Counselors in Alternative Learning.  Depending on the needs identified and professional development plans, WSCA offered to invite a School Counselor from an alternative setting to be a volunteer board member.  If any of your programs have an ESA Certificated School Counselor who would be interested in supporting this work with OSPI and WSCA, please email me their contact information by December 31st.

o   Full-day Kindergarten & Big Picture schools update.  We will include this in our next committee meeting agenda.

I hope you all have a wonderful final few days of 2018 and wish you a very happy holiday season!  We look forward to seeing you at our next meeting on Thursday January 10th at 1:00.