Reimagine your professional development experience with McREL’s professional learning academies and workshops. In our dynamic sessions, you’ll dig deep into research-based instructional and leadership practices that positively influence achievement and help to transform your teaching and leading. Our consultants travel the world to bring our latest insights and professional learning resources to you. Browse our upcoming academies, workshops, conference presentations, and social media events to find ways to connect with fellow educators, add to your professional toolbox, and grow your professional learning network.

Do you need onsite professional learning or are you looking for a dynamic, engaging, and inspiring speaker for your workshop or conference? Download our press kit to learn more about whom to contact regarding our cadre of presenters, and contact us for more information.

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Professional Learning

Classroom Instruction That Works: 51 Activities and Tools for Increasing Student Achievement
June 18–19 | Denver, Colorado

Teachers, instructional coaches and mentors, principals and assistant principals, central office PD leaders

Tools for Classroom Instruction That Works


Join Cheryl Abla—teacher, instructional trainer, coach, and coauthor of the popular book Tools for Classroom Instruction That Works—for this two-day professional learning session to gain valuable insights, tools, and strategies for crafting dynamic learning activities supported by the best research on effective instruction, including the nine categories of instructional strategies and 51 practical and engaging teaching activities, strategies, and tools for:

  • Creating a classroom environment for learning
  • Helping students develop deeper understanding of content
  • Helping students extend and apply their new knowledge to other challenges
  • Classroom tech tools for engaging and meaningful learning

Two-day workshop includes Tools for Classroom Instruction That Works book, related workshop materials, and daily lunch and refreshments.

Classroom Instruction That Works — Authorized Trainer Session
June 18–21 | Denver, Colorado

Instructional coaches, principals, district-level professional development staff, regional education service agency trainers, professional association trainers, and other educators who would like to deliver CITW workshops in their local area.

Tools for Classroom Instruction That Works


Register now to attend this four-day training session to deepen your understanding of the nine CITW categories of effective research-based instructional strategies and how to present effective CITW workshops on your own.

  • Get a toolkit of CITW workshop materials and associated classroom activities.
  • Learn how to help teachers apply the CITW instructional strategies to their lesson design and delivery.
  • Get best practices for leading effective adult learning and professional development.
  • Practice delivering lessons and participate in quality assurance steps to become an authorized CITW facilitator.

Upon successful completion of this training, McREL will authorize you to deliver multiple CITW professional development workshops to educators in your school district or education service agency area (BOCES, ESCs, ESUs, RESAs, etc.) for a period of one year. Annual re-authorization is available.

Four-day workshop includes includes Tools for Classroom Instruction That Works book, all participant materials, facilitator’s guide, and authorization, plus beverages and lunch during all four training days.

Balanced Leadership for School Improvement
July 11 | Clarksville, Tennessee

K–12 principals, school leadership teams, central office administrators


What makes an effective school leader? McREL’s research analysis has identified a 21 specific actions and responsibilities that positively affect student achievement—actions that all school leaders can learn and put into practice through our Balanced Leadership program. Attend this one-day session to get an overview of the key components of Balanced Leadership and how it can be used to:

  • Establish a clear instructional focus for your school—keeping the work and stakeholder conversations targeted on the issues that matter most for student success.
  • Manage change well—understanding how to create positive demand for change at your school and how to skillfully steer through the challenges associated with starting new initiatives, programs, and procedures.
  • Develop a purposeful school community—creating a sense of collective efficacy among your teachers and staff, a shared belief that, together, they really can make a difference for students.

You’ll also discover how McREL has recently updated Balanced Leadership with important elements from our What Matters Most® framework and Curiosity Works® approach to school improvement. Together, these assets create a powerful tool for systemic improvement that you can use to build on your school’s existing assets and bright spots and leverage your staff’s professional curiosity to explore new practices for collaboration and innovation.

Two-day workshop includes all participant materials plus beverages and lunch each day.

Curiosity Works: Moving Your School from Improvement to Innovation
July 30–31 | Ann  Arbor, Michigan

K–12 principals, school leadership teams, central office administrators



Learn why curiosity is an important lever for learning and how to cultivate it in teachers, leaders, and learners using the innovation pathways found in McREL’s Curiosity Works approach to school improvement. You’ll leave this engaging, interactive 2-day session with tools, tips, and strategic advice you can put to use during the 2019–20 school year.

Designed for principals and school leadership team members, the session topics and learnings include:

  • 17 tools to support your school’s improvement journey.
  • Understanding the differences between inside-out, curiosity-driven innovation and outside-in or top-down approaches.
  • A process for crafting strong, well-articulated school values, mission, and vision statements.
  • A plan to support peer coaching as a professional learning structure in your school or system.

While individual school leaders can register and attend this session on their own, it is strongly recommended that multiple members of your school leadership team attend this session together, to maximize strategic visioning and planning for the 2019–2020 school year.

Two-day workshop includes all participant materials, book, plus beverages and lunch each day.

Conference Sessions & Keynotes

Webinar | Curiosity Works for School Improvement and Innovation
May 13 | 8:30 a.m. Eastern; 3:30 p.m. Kuwait

Learn about what makes a Curiosity Works approach to school improvement and innovation different from other approaches, and why it’s worth considering for your school(s). Hear why curiosity is an important lever for learning and how to cultivate it in teachers, leaders, and learners. Presented by Kristin Rouleau, senior director of McREL’s learning services and innovation team. Delivered in partnership with KDSL Global, this webinar is also a preview of the November 14–15 Curiosity Works institute in Kuwait.

To register for this free webinar, e-mail KDSL Global at:

Presentations | South Dakota Department of Education—Summer Conference
May 29 | Pierre, South Dakota

McREL implementation advisor Cheryl Abla will deliver two presentations at Cultivating a Well-Rounded Education, the South Dakota Department of Education’s summer 2019 conference. “Structures for Academic Talk” will help teachers and school leaders forge a common instructional language with one another and with students. “Reciprocal Teaching” will show teachers how to create productive, respectful student-to-student learning opportunities that advance the goal of transferring ownership of learning to students.

Sessions | JCPS Deeper Learning Symposium 2019
June 11–13 | Louisville, Kentucky

The third annual Deeper Learning Symposium hosted by Jefferson County Public Schools will feature sessions by McREL CEO Bryan Goodwin, who will present insights and strategies for leading and teaching with curiosity in mind. The conference, which will be held at the Kentucky Exposition Center, is focused on building educators’ collective capacity to deepen and strengthen learning for every student.

Keynote | WASSEA Conference 2019
August 5–6 | Perth, Australia

McREL CEO Bryan Goodwin will deliver a keynote at the Western Australian Secondary School Executives Association’s annual conference, speaking about how teachers and school leaders can tap into the power of human curiosity in order to drive educators’ professional growth and expertise as well as school improvement and innovation.

Institute | Curiosity Works for School Improvement and Innovation
November 14–15 | Kuwait

McREL’s senior director of learning services and innovation Kristin Rouleau will present a 2-day professional learning institute for international schools in the MENA region, delivered in partnership with KDSL Global. School leaders will understand five research-based levers for school improvement from McREL’s What Matters Most® Framework: curricular pathways to success; challenging, engaging, intentional instruction; whole child student supports; data-driven, high-reliability systems; and high-performance school culture. Participants will also learn why curiosity is vitally important for learning, and how they can cultivate it in their school’s teachers and students as part of a Curiosity Works approach to school improvement and innovation.

For more information and to register, e-mail KDSL Global at:

Social Media Events

Twitter Slow Chats

Looking to grow your professional learning network? Join us for our weeklong Twitter slow chats, where participants share best practices, strategies, and common (or uncommon) struggles and successes. Our WEEKLY chats begin Monday at 9:00 a.m. and continue through Sunday at 9:00 p.m.

Follow us on Twitter and use the hashtag #McRELchat to share your thoughts and ideas with other educators.


April 22–28 | Do your students participate in Take Your Child to Work Day? If so, are they required to report back what they learned?
April 29–May 5 | How do you ensure learning is meaningful and encourage life-long learning for students?
May 6–12 | May 7 is National Teachers’ Day! How do students, parents, and colleagues thank you?
May 13–19 | What kinesthetic activities do you use in your school or classroom?