Professional Development and Workshops

Workshops and Professional Development

The Politics of Authentic Engagement

Recommended for business and community leaders, principals, school board members, and superintendents.
Kathy Leslie, APR will facilitate this interactive session using principles that are foundational to authentic engagement and lead to stakeholder knowledge and commitment.

In this session you’ll learn:
  • The power of associative democracy and how it differs from traditional aggregative democracy
  • The principles of authentic engagement in action
  • Vehicles and venues for authentic engagement
  • The art of facilitation

Running Start 

Recommended for anyone who works with parents including teachers, support staff and administrators, parents and community leaders.
This workshop is based on the two-part toolkit, Running Start, developed for Chalkboard Project by Kathy Leslie and Sherre Calouri and tested throughout Oregon State. This workshop helps staff help parents, especially underrepresented parents, become engaged as partners in the education of their children, Running Start, aims at improving student achievement among Oregon's most at-risk youth by teaching staff and parents how parents can advocate for and help their children reach their full potential and be successful in school and life.

Building School Site Council Capacity 

Recommended for business and community leaders, parents, principals, school board members, school site councils, superintendents, and teachers.
Are the site councils in your district high-performing teams? Are they focused on improving student achievement? This workshop, designed for site councils in all stages of development, shows participants how to make shared decision making successful. Participants will identify and confirm the purpose of their councils, establish operating agreements, define roles, determine decision-making procedures, and develop communications and action plans to guide their work. 

Building School Board Capacity

Recommended for school board members.
School boards contend with so many issues, it's easy to lose sight of the main thing: improving student achievement. This workshop helps school board members get smart about effective communication and engaging all citizens in the work of educating the community's children. It focuses on identifying how each school board member envisions success; reaching consensus on vision, objectives and roles; and overcoming barriers to continuous improvement. 

Building High Achieving Teams

Recommended for teachers, principals, school board members and superintendents.
Learn about models for team building and identify characteristics of high-performing teams. Then identify the strengths you bring to a team and figure out how you can apply your skills to better team building.

Helping Your Staff Become Effective School Ambassadors

Recommended for teacher leaders and principals.
Parents and the public trust teachers and other school staff (secretaries, bus drivers, custodians) to provide the most credible information about local schools. What can you do to help your staff develop the confidence, skills and willingness to take on this additional responsibility? Help them rediscover the importance of reaching out to the community. You'll leave with the materials to give a 15-minute reminder, a one-hour presentation and a two-hour workshop.

Lighting The Fire…Maintaining Staff Moral

Recommended for principals, superintendents and teachers.
Learn how to rejuvenate and motivate your staff. Available as leadership training for administrators and principals — or as a hands-on learning exercise for entire school staffs. 

For teachers: High standards and high-stakes testing, combined with work overload and stress, contribute to burnout, cynicism and low morale. Find out more about your communication style and strategies to cope with stress as you work with your colleagues in this hands-on learning exercise for entire school staffs.

Learning To Listen With Skill

Recommended for teacher leaders, principals, school board members and superintendents.
Zero in on what your public thinks by using a range of research techniques, including focus groups, public opinion surveys, voice polls, interactive Web sites, town meetings and community forums. Learn why listening is important; how to take advantage of every opportunity to talk to your stakeholders; and how to incorporate your findings into your strategies, messages and materials.

Communicating With 
An Angry Public

Recommended for principals, school board members, school site councils and superintendents.
Get smart about recognizing the causes of conflict and overcoming barriers to effective communication, including how to handle criticism, protests and divided communities.

Raking Leaves in a High Wind…Strategies for Effective Community Engagement

Recommended for teacher leaders, principals, school board members and superintendents.
Learn authentic community-engagement strategies to improve schools, including how to identify community values, develop citizen leadership and capitalize on conflict.

Reaching the Hard to Reach: Engaging Disenfranchised Parents and Families

Recommended for teacher leaders, principals, and community leaders.
Leaders have a critical role to play in engaging parents who might be hesitant to participate in school activities because of previous bad experiences, cultural barriers or other concerns. Find out how to help parents for whom English is a second language, single parents and other tentative communicators understand why they should — and how they can — be effective partners in helping their children learn. 

Strategic Communications and Engagement Planning

Recommended for communication and engagement planners.
Get grounded in strategic planning theory. Apply your new knowledge to the development of a strategic communication and engagement plan for your organization. 

Community Based Strategic Planning: Setting Goals for Your Community

Recommended for school board members and superintendents.
When community members are actively involved in strategic planning, district goals are more likely to be understood, supported and implemented. Find out what works best — and how to avoid community meetings that turn into gripe sessions or never lead to specific results.

Speaking to The Public with Confidence…Public Speaking for Administrators

Recommended for teacher leaders, principals, school board members and superintendents.
Learn and practice effective public speaking techniques, including how to win over a tough audience. This seminar also touches on message development and other communications basics, and can be tailored for beginning or advanced audiences.

Harnessing the Power of Teacher Communication

Recommended for teachers and other school staff.
Parents and the public trust teachers and school staff to provide the most credible information about local schools. But teachers are hesitant spokespeople. This workshop focuses on showing teachers the value of their actions and helping them communicate more effectively in parent-teacher conferences and other interactions. Teachers develop communications plans for their classrooms and learn innovative strategies for involving every parent or guardian in helping his or her child succeed in school.

Our Philosophy:

Workshops are not "one-size-fits-all" programs. Workshops are custom designed to meet the needs of your organization.

Our work is grounded in theory, but we emphasize practice. Enough background is provided for you to understand the reasons behind the advice, however most of the time is spent on practical techniques that you can begin using immediately. 
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