ELMLE has a proud history that began in the early 1980s with the vision of one woman who felt that middle schoolers, both students and the professionals who worked with them, needed a stronger voice to advocate for their needs. Christine Waggoner, then middle level principal of St Johns School, Waterloo, called together like minded people and organized a conference in Belgium. This proved so successful and inspiring that another meeting was planned for the next year, and out of this grew the European League for Middle Level Education, international affiliate of the National Middle School Association in the USA, and the visible presence of middle level education in the international schools of Europe and beyond.
Conferences moved from Brussels to other European cities, giving participants a chance to sample the flavor of cultures around the continent. Barcelona, Stockholm, Frankfurt, Vienna, Zurich, London, Paris, Budapest, Prague are some of the cities whose international schools have hosted annual conferences in the past. Renowned speakers have included Judith Baenan, Jack Berckemeyer, Ruth van Reken, Michael deSpezio, Carol Ann Tomlinson, and Mark Church, in addition to hundreds of ELMLE teachers who share their expertise in workshops and job-alike sessions.
The following material is a developing document, based upon newsletters, magazines, membership lists, and conference publications that have been curated by ELMLE historians since 1986 and kept in files at Frankfurt International School. These have been transferred into digital format so that our history can be made available on this website to the interested public.
Watch for membership lists, professional guest speakers, photographs of participants, newsletters, and copies of the official journal, Bridge in the Middle.