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Services: When and How to Tap into the Center’s Resources

We are committed to helping you on your journey in any way we can.  If you, as an individual leader or as a small team, are tackling a big problem or idea, spend a couple of days with us in the mountains.  We are skillful and well trained in meeting processes, dialogue and discussion, consensus-building, managing conflict, and creating processes and timelines.  We can work with you to build an agenda and facilitate any part of it you would like.  If you prefer, we can come to you and bring the same expertise to your district. And when our time together is done, we continue to be available to help you monitor your progress and make mid-course corrections.

We can help you structure a community engagement process, complete a strategic planning process, or help you audit your staff’s, students’, or community’s current level of satisfaction with an initiative.

We can provide professional development in a broad range of areas, and are willing to do an occasional one-day event; but we much prefer longer relationships with schools or teams to insure that a project is successful. Please see our list of team members and their areas of expertise for further information about these possibilities.

We can provide support for you and your team in the following areas: 

Leadership Development

Executive Coaching with Linda Henke, Personalized Professional Development

The Santa Fe CTSL offers executive coaching with Linda Henke for principals, top-level central office administrators, and superintendents. Executive coaching is the most personal kind of professional development there is. Establish a coaching relationship for several months or for the entire year. The year-long program offers

  • a two-day visit to your district by Linda,
  • a clear goal-setting session,
  • bi-weekly scheduled phone conversations and unlimited additional impromptu calls when issues arise,
  • monthly literature reviews personalized to your goals,
  • and a two-day retreat in Santa Fe focused on your personal areas of growth.

Coaching can support you with any of the following goals:

  • Improve interpersonal skills and ability to create and communicate a clear, focused message
  • Build a culture that supports every individual in learning, growing, and feeling part of a healthy organization
  • Assess and monitor programmatic decisions to insure there is alignment and no overload
  • Learn to approach conflict with positive energy and use it to improve self and the organization
  • Apply systems thinking to solve complex problems
  • Build a high performance team
  • Learn to have difficult conversations that acknowledge individual needs and goals and communicate clearly the culture you are creating
  • Nurture a board of education that understands and executes skillfully its essential governance role
  • Manage workload, stress, and learn to create work/life balance
  • Receive support in specific projects and processes
Principal Coaching

The Center includes experienced coaches who have demonstrated successful leadership in both independent and public schools. We will listen closely to your needs: are you a beginning principal or an experienced principal eager to take your practice to the next level? Then we will match you with one of our great coaches. We can support a personalized agenda you build that may include such skills as:

  • Planning and problem-solving with teachers, parents, and students;
  • Using systems thinking ideas and tools to build a strong learning culture;
  • Empowering a school community to work together to develop and maintain a focus on clear educational goals;
  • Developing the inner resources and communication and process skills to deal successfully with conflict and change.
Individual Writing Coaching

School leaders with finesse in writing strike a powerful presence.  The leader with a book percolating or with a ready story to illustrate a point has a tremendous asset.  Harnessing that writing finesse may well require some individual time with a Writing Coach.

School leaders, stressed by a scattershot of Board of Education meetings, goal setting agendas, and scheduling pressures too often end up communicating an unintended message.  With the guidance of a Writing Coach, you can shift that dynamic as you explore the practice of writing as thinking. Writing takes leaders into three arenas: articulating ideas clearly, modeling the processes of writing as thinking, and practicing reflective leadership.

Nurturing a culture for writing opens big possibilities for effecting change in the social and academic structure of schools.  Our individual Writing Coaches begin with the personal story of who we are as educators and learners.  Leaders who are powerful writers know that writing is a learning tool, a public forum, and a vehicle for reflective practice that can change the heart of a school.

Individual Writing Coaches can nurture your personal writing goals, with one-on-one conferencing and writing experiences that will broaden skill levels and understanding of what it means to be a writer.

Building Leadership Capacity

The challenges facing schools today cannot be met by the traditional leadership structure that has existed for over a century. School success today depends in large part on the skillful participation in leadership of all members of the school community. This expertise does not simply appear when needed, but must be developed over time.  Our consultants help school leaders deepen their understandings of what a school with broad, skillful leadership capacity looks like, and assists them in creating and implementing a plan to accomplish this goal. Workshops might include Meeting Facilitation Skills, Conducting After Action Reviews, Using Conversation Effectively, Consensus-building and Conflict Resolution, and Using Habits of Systems Thinkers.

Creating Learning Organizations

Organizational Learning

Many of our consultants have studied for years with Peter Senge and have adopted his five disciplines as part of our professional practice. Our consultants can help you assess the current status of your school or district as a learning organization and develop a plan to increase your learning efficiency and effectiveness. We will examine your processes, agendas, practices, habits, use of data, and use of time, and offer you concrete suggestions for opening your organization to new learning.

Curriculum and Instructional Design

Are you maximizing your curriculum and instruction to improve student engagement and achievement? Members of our team are well qualified to support schools in developing a powerful curriculum using Understanding by Design.Teachers who have been through our UbD workshops comment that they have transformed their thinking about teaching. One of the most important leverage points schools have in improving achievement is a clear, aligned, articulated curriculum that is owned by the teachers who teach it.  We can help you accomplish that.

System and Infrastructure Design

Too often school districts do things the way they have always done them.  When was the last time you took a good look at the way you develop your budget, hire teachers, evaluate staff, create goals? Linda Henke is skillful in helping you gain a balcony view to examine your system and decide if there are better ways to accomplish the work. Fresh eyes can help you see new possibilities.

Community Engagement

Schools belong to their communities, but frequently communities feel disconnected, unconsulted, and dismissed.  Community engagement processes put the community back into the conversation with their schools.  Our consultants can help you implement processes that involve your community in understanding their schools and giving input.  Making major decisions without your community clearly in your corner never turns out well.  Let us help you reconnect.

Strategic Planning

Effective strategic planning can create whole new possibilities for schools, but  often, schools treat it as a time-consuming process somewhat akin to jumping through hoops.  Administrators frequently create huge documents and feed them throughout the year with updates, yet nothing really changes.  There are new ways of conducting strategic planning that engage participants in envisioning a different future and creating a path to get there. Our skilled consultants can make planning your school’s future one of the most exciting activities you have ever imagined.

Meeting Facilitation

Effective meetings require thoughtful planning and preparation. Are your meetings productive? Are they moving your organization forward? We can help you build actionable agendas, create learning plans for your teams, and give meetings the attention they deserve as high leverage tools for change.

Parent Engagement

Schools have seldom found ways to partner with parents beyond the PTO meeting, the chili supper, and fund raising. Learning how to communicate with parents, how to visit with parents in their homes, and how to insure parent conferences are productive two-way conversations can make a real difference in parents’ partnership with the school. Our consultants can help you tap into the power of parents as real partners in the education of their children.

Teaching for the Twenty-first Century

Child Development for the Elementary and Preschool Teacher
Louise Cadwell’s work with early childhood education includes extensive studies in Reggio Emilia, Italy.  Her professional development with teachers of young children earns rave reviews from principals and teachers.  She celebrates the human desire to learn and supports teachers in looking closely at their young charges.  Teachers learn solid theory and exemplary practices that support children in developing their language and literacy skills,  and also expanding their curiosity and creativity.
Integrated Arts Education
We cannot imagine quality education for children without quality art programs. Part of that program involves integrating the arts into every classroom as a tool for learning as well as expressing that learning.  Louise and Ashley Cadwell have extensive experience in schools helping teachers use art to explore, discover, and represent.
Environmental Education
Our consultants are committed to school programs and practices that nurture children’s understandings of nature and sustainability.  Two of our consultants have supported schools that have received awards for their work in this area.  We can help you envision and implement programming that changes children’s perspectives on the world—and empowers them to make a difference even as youngsters in the world they will inherit.
Building Powerful Literacy Programs in Secondary Schools
While extensive work has been done in many districts with elementary literacy programs, often secondary programs have not changed. Thus we have children reading substantially below level who enter middle schools and high schools where no serious plan is in place to resolve their difficulties. Our consultants know how to support schools in creating successful learning programs for struggling readers.
Fostering Student Conversation in the Secondary Classroom
Socratic seminars, civil discourse, dialogue and discussion, and simulations are all strategies that support students in learning to express their thinking and to listen closely to others.  Today’s students need to understand the practices of advocacy and inquiry if they are to be skillful participants to society.  Susie Morice understands the power of classroom practice that encourages productive student talk. She can support your teachers in developing vibrant classrooms alive with focused conversation.
Writing Project Facilitation
The Center is uniquely able to offer writing retreats and projects to both school faculties and administrators.  Several of us have been involved in writing projects for many years. Linda Henke served on the Executive Board of the Iowa Writing Project and facilitated writing projects throughout the state for over fifteen years.  Susie Morice has been a teacher-leader in the Gateway Writing Project since its inception. She, Bonnie Davis, and Catherine Von Hatten  have been frequent facilitators in school district writing projects. Bonnie has also facilitated international writing programs. Our interest and commitment to writing has been an important part of our own professional development over the years.  The power of writing and sharing personal and professional stories helps shape learning communities in amazing ways.  We are able to provide one and two-week writing projects for schools, and shorter retreats are also available.
Cultivating Classroom Engagement

Schools today cannot afford to continue the pattern of frontal teaching, passive learning.  For too many students, this combination has proved deadly.  Effective strategies to engage students make classrooms more productive and exciting for both students and teachers. Our consultants can support your faculty in opening up the possibilities for learning in authentic activities that build students’ skills and excitement.

Developing Schools for the Twenty-first Century

Creating Culturally Responsive Schools
An increasing body of research demonstrates the importance of addressing the needs of culturally and linguistically diverse students and their families. Unfortunately, the culture of schools is largely congruent with middle-class, European values, leading many schools to ignore the strengths and needs of diverse students and their families. Our consultants can support teachers and administrators in developing the skills and understandings to transform schools into environments that engage and honor your diverse student body.
Evaluating Technology Integration
Our consultancy supports school leaders in making informed decisions about the impact of instructional technology integration throughout their schools. We can use data collection including structured observation and focus groups to help you gain greater insight into the effectiveness of your current program and future plans.  Let us help you ensure your technology investment is getting you the achievement leverage you expect.
Structuring Professional Development in a Technology-rich Environment
The need for high quality professional development is greater than ever, particularly in the area of technology use.  We provide large and small group professional development to support teachers in building their capacities to integrate technology to transform their classrooms. We believe technology should support teachers in doing things they were never able to do before. Today’s connected educators have strong professional learning networks and are empowered to take much more control of their own professional learning. Our consultants aim to support teachers in continuously improving their technology skills by building their own learning networks and resources.
Elevating Achievement through Personalized Learning with Technology
Do you know 10 people that do your job better than you? Are you learning from them? Crafting a continuous growth plan for leaders and teachers is an essential amplifier for today’s classroom. The speed and complexity of teaching and learning continues at a fever pitch, and with the right levers in place, student learning can be fine-tuned to meet the personal needs of all. We can help leaders develop their own learning networks and plans for improvement in the area of technology.
Renovation and Design of Learning Spaces
Unfortunately, many schools built or renovated today are using the same models to shape learning spaces that have been used for over 50 years.  Our consultants can work with you and your architects to design beautiful, functional spaces for your students. We have experience in altering the pattern of “new building/same old spaces”…and the awards to prove it.  Add us to your team and create spaces that transform tradition and create new possibilities for teachers and students.
Building Infrastructure for Technology Integration
Putting devices for rigorous learning in the hands of students is an essential part of the today’s educational landscape. Devices, though, are just the beginning of the journey. Districts and schools need a comprehensive plan that includes well-designed infrastructure and first-rate professional development. Our consultants have first-hand experience in this area and know how to get you the best quality for your dollar.

Grant Writing

Grant Writing

Budgets are always tight.  Grant funded projects can provide the leverage needed to move a school or district forward.  David Bristol has extensive experience in both writing and managing federal, state, and foundation grants.  Services he can provide include:

  • Researching potential grant sources;
  • Clarifying desired outcomes and grant activities;
  • Assisting in grant budget creation;
  • Writing and editing grant proposal;
  • Submitting proposal to meet grantee’s requirements.