Just in Time Presentations and Workshops

School Synergy is available to provide full or half-day hands-on workshops customized to meet the needs of your school or district.   We provide timely information on effective programs, practices and strategies presented with humor and warmth.  A sampling of our workshops appear below.  Click on a workshop to learn more about it.

If you have a different workshop need, please feel free to contact us and if we have the skills and knowledge to deliver a high quality presentation in that area, we’ll draft a customized proposal for your review within two business days.  You can count on us to deliver a fast-paced, engaging, thought-provoking session targeted to your specific audience and goals. 

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For more information or to schedule a workshop please contact us.  We look forward to working with you!


Apathy is a downer – let’s get over it!
Re-energize your staff and turn apathy into motivation through this inspiring and engaging workshop.  Learn how to increase the work satisfaction you feel and to positively impact those around you.  This workshop will give you the tools you need to rekindle your willingness to participate, take risks, identify and use skills already existing within the staff, increase teacher collaboration and collegiality, tap into creativity, and re-engage in lifelong learning.

 

Connecting kids to school – a key to drop out prevention
Students thrive in a context where they feel safe, cared about, supported, and engaged and challenged in their learning.  This sense of connection to school is most important for children “at-risk” who often struggle with lack of family support, serious academic deficiencies, language barriers, and other challenges.  Learn how to make your school a place where every student feels valued, no one feels left out or isolated, students feel fairly treated, close to others, and connected to their teachers and their school.

 

Celebrate Diversity – making a difference in the life of every child
Learn how to make sure your school and its classrooms are places where individuality is honored, differences are celebrated and experiences are respected – a place where every child feels safe, comfortable, valued and able to learn.  Learn how to recognize and build upon cultural differences.  This workshop will focus on the positive aspects of diversity and how it benefits students, schools, families and friendships.

 

Cultural Competence – tap into the diversity in your school
In this powerful workshop, you’ll learn about “cultural competence” and how to unleash its power in your school.  Leave with the tools to assure that in every classroom the ideas, languages, skills, values and beliefs that each student brings are nurtured and used to enrich the community.  As we work together we will learn (and learn how to learn) about one another and our varied backgrounds, our similarities and our differences.  The more similarities we discover, the more differences we talk about and learn to understand, the more comfortable we are with one another. 

 

Kick off the new school year with energy and motivation
Sometimes teachers and administrators need to be reminded of just how important they are in the lives of their students.  In this fast paced, humorous and moving presentation, you’ll be reminded of what can be accomplished in a single school year by dedicated, caring school staff.  In addition, we take the staff through interactive role-plays were they practice using positive statements to support each other and their students in their daily work and express pride in their profession. This workshop will help your school set the course for the upcoming year by centering efforts on supporting every teacher and every student to reach for the stars.

 

Leadership – cultivating collaboration
How can teachers become leaders? In this engaging and challenging workshop, learn the benefits of collaboration, how administrators play a key role, how to structure time within the school day and year so that collaboration is possible, and how to encourage “reluctant collaborators.”  We’ll look at a variety of issues within the school environment including high expectations for student success, identification of resources, instructional leadership, professional development, curriculum expectations, and building bridges with the district, parents and the community. We’ll provide an array of tools and processes to develop teacher leadership structures within your school and ensure your efforts result in increased student learning, achievement, and increased teacher satisfaction in their work.

 

Move from isolation to cooperation
Ms. Jones has taught fifth grade for 24 years.  Her kids seem to do well on statewide assessments.  However, she keeps to herself and rarely volunteers to be part of school-wide committee work.  In fact, she avoids team meetings whenever possible and does not collaborate with other fifth grade teachers in lesson planning or scope and sequence discussions.  Ms. Jones may feel as though she has no need for assistance from colleagues, but by isolating herself, she is negatively affecting the school community.  

Our workshop helps to unleash your potential and that of your colleagues.  We help your school find the expertise that already exists within your staff and build on it to reach your school goals.  We’ll provide a clear process to take what staff  have learned at conferences, through book studies, and independent reading, and put their new learning to work for your school.  In this interactive workshop your staff will work in teams to identify areas of strength, apply what they know and develop a plan to support each other as they put what they know into practice.

 

Peer coaching – come on in, the water’s great!
Peer coaching is gaining popularity at schools across the US.  Why?  Because it works!  In peer coaching, teachers use their expertise to help one another strengthen their instruction and pedagogy.  In the process, trust and collegial relationships grow, leading to ever more powerful reflection and feedback.  Move through an eight-step process taking you from wondering about the benefits of peer coaching through celebrating its results which include increased student learning and achievement, increased staff trust and collegiality, job-embedded professional development, and greater job satisfaction.  And the very best part?  You don’t have to wear a swimming suit in front of your colleagues (unless you really want to!)

 

Professional learning communities bring it all together
Professional learning communities – let’s face it… we’d all like to work in one.  But what’s involved?  What are the most important components?  How do we know what to do?  How will it fit with existing programs and initiatives already underway in our school?  What if everyone doesn’t want to participate?  Will it really result in increased student learning and achievement?  And how do you get started?  Join us for a lively and engaging time as we explore both what a professional learning community is, how it works and how to get started at your school.

This interactive workshop will challenge you to think about your current environment, describe your ideal school, embrace the concept of learning rather than teaching as the school’s mission, learn collaborative strategies, focus on student results, and feel empowered to move forward.  You’ll leave with ideas and tools you can put to work as soon as you return to your school in launching your own professional learning community.

 

Scaffolding instruction – support that matters
Using scaffolded instruction add a powerful new tool to your teaching repertoire with proven instructional effectiveness for whole group, intervention, special needs and English learners. Teachers will learn and practice specific techniques and strategies that provide students with the supportive environment they need when learning new or difficult tasks and how to gradually move toward student independence.  The results of these powerful strategies are students who have the skills and confidence to be successful, independent learners able to access new information, apply what they have learned and address complex real world problems.

 

Setting goals to meet your wildest expectations
It’s summer break, your backpack is packed and you head out on your first hike in the Mount Jefferson wilderness.  You head through the meadow and enter the trail head.  It’s a beautiful, warm northwest kind of day.  You reach a fork in the trail and you realize you’ve forgotten your map, but you’re pretty sure you should veer to the right as the hike looks easier that way.  Unfortunately, you never reach the summit.  It happens so often, we dream about where we want to go, but don’t have a map to get there. 

Our goal setting workshop will help you realize your dreams as a staff and your dreams for your students.  We offer two different workshops in this area:  (1) Setting Organizational Goals focused on developing vision, mission, and goals and (2) Setting Student Achievement Goals which uses a variety of data to collaboratively determine the most important student-based goals.

 

Shoulda, coulda, woulda… Overcoming negativity
The weekly meeting is scheduled to start at 3:15 and end at 4:00.  You’re ready with a great icebreaker and staff recognitions, and less than half of the staff are there on time.  They slowly trickle in and from past experience, you know that most of these folks think that opening meetings with interactive, positive activities is a waste of time and in fact, some seem to thrive on hijacking the agenda.  And then there’s the group of teachers with their arms crossed who are just plain tired of listening to the one or two dominant staff members who have no problem voicing their opinions (which by the way, always opposes your position).  And finally, we are all familiar with the colleagues who are just plain downers… “If I made more money, this would be worth it” or “If only Tommy’s parents would discipline him” or “If I didn’t have to attend these meetings, I could get my papers graded before midnight” or “It’s not my fault these kids are reading at such a low level, elementary teachers should have done their job.” 

This sort of negativity is stifling to a school culture and can result in a toxic environment for staff and students.  We take staff through a series of scenarios where they begin to see themselves and the roles they take on in contributing to environmental negativity.  We share real life examples of schools that have gone from hostility and chaos to collaborative, supportive environments.  In this workshop, our goal is to empower staff to take control of their destiny, commit to positive relationships, and focus on creating healthy conditions for students. 

 

Student engagement – how to get it and how to keep it
What do “students engaged in their own learning” look like?  They show sustained involvement in learning activities, they are positive about their work, they select tasks that are challenging, they take the initiative when given an opportunity to do so, they concentrate on their work and work hard on their learning tasks.  They characteristically view their schoolwork with enthusiasm, optimism, curiosity and interest   Wow!  How do we get some of these kids?

In this fun and interactive presentation, learn how to engage students in their own learning.  Along the way you will learn how to design and gather powerful evidence so that you can quickly judge student progress.  We’ll use sample student work to practice how to gauge the degree of student learning.  Finally we’ll use sample student work to talk about how instruction could be strengthened to improve student learning.  Learn how to empower and engage every student in every classroom in their own learning.

 

Successfully teaching EL students in the mainstream classroom
Learn powerful and effective strategies to engage students in the curriculum and the school community.  Learn about and practice techniques for building fluency, vocabulary and comprehension, such as scaffolding, total physical response, graphic organizers, read alouds, leveled questioning techniques, partner and group work, reciprocal teaching, interactive writing, Cloze techniques, and frequent grouping and regrouping strategies.  Leave with materials you can put to work for you and your students from the first to the last day of class!

 

Trust – the most important ingredient in classrooms, schools and districts
If it’s true that it takes a village to raise a child, it must certainly also be true that it would be best if the villagers worked well together, respected one another, had a part in the important decisions of the village and worked together to identify and put into practice effective strategies to improve how the children were raised. 

This workshop is preceded by a staff survey which measures teacher-to-teacher and teacher-to-administration trust. The results are then brought back in an engaging and thought provoking session where the staff will look at identified strengths, areas of concern, and discuss areas of mutual interest. Together the staff will learn how to build (or rebuild) trust, strengthen collegial relationships, and focus on student needs and accomplishments. 

 

Using student work as the basis for EVERYTHING
In this engaging and powerful workshop, learn how trust and collegiality are enhanced as you make team review of student work the central process around which school improvement is carried out.  Learn how to use students' writing, math problem-solving, science projects, artwork, and other written, video or audio taped work to strengthen instruction.   Unlike standardized tests, this evidence speaks directly and revealingly to what teachers and students actually do and learn, and it can be used to inform next steps, change our ideas about students, revise instruction and pedagogy, and help your school chart a path to increased performance school wide.  Teachers will leave with the tools to begin designing collaborative lessons, gathering evidence of their effectiveness, and know how to respectfully engage in a team review process that will provide a roadmap for next steps in improving instructional effectiveness.

 

What statewide assessment can tell you about your students
Love it or hate it, statewide assessment has a lot to tell us about our students.  In this, (believe it or not) fun and interactive workshop, we’ll use your own statewide assessment data to move to a deeper understanding of student performance at your school.  We’ll help you see where your school is achieving success and help you pinpoint areas for improvement.  As a group, we work through a match-gap analysis process that allows you to compare and contrast your data to the data of top-performing schools with similar characteristics.  Disaggregated student achievement trend data forms the basis of this process and allows us to carefully look at exactly which students are struggling and where. Then together, we’ll identify some ideas for next steps focused on increases in student achievement. 


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