Professional Development > Conferences and Workshops

Conferences and Workshops
(Click here for the 2019-2020 Professional Development Series PDF)


Having Hard Conversations
Jennifer Abrams, Educational Consultant

Friday, March 9, 2012
10:00 am - 3:00 pm

Hotel Allegro
Chicago, IL

Each of us has survived a difficult conversation that did not end well.  Administrators in all roles, teachers at all levels and coaches regularly come up against situations where difficult topics must be addressed. With little or no formal training, what do we know about the best strategies for those moments? What questions should we be asking ourselves before we speak and what words should we use (or not use) so the conversation can be as humane, results-oriented and growth producing as possible?

Having Hard Conversations is an interactive workshop and personal approach to mastering the art of challenging conversations.  The strategies in the workshop address a wide range of situations, including communications with supervisees, colleagues, supervisors and parents.  The workshop helps educators at all levels (administrators, division heads, department chairs, deans, coaches, teachers, committee chairs, etc.) speak with clarity and courage to directly address difficult situations within their schools.

Participants will learn to:                                                                                                                     

  • Identify why they hesitate having hard conversation
  • Design questions to ask themselves before they choose to speak
  • Articulate in professional language the challenges they are facing 
  • Determine the goals of the conversation and write an action plan of support
  • Script the conversation avoiding trigger words that put others on the defensive
  •  Choose the best location and time for a productive discussion 
This workshop will be beneficial for all new and experienced educators, leaders, and emerging leaders at all levels.


Jennifer Abrams is a national and international educational consultant for public and private schools, charter schools, universities and non-profits. An English teacher for nine years, Ms. Abrams is now in her second decade in education, trains and coaches teachers and administrators on successful teaching practices, new teacher support, supervision and evaluation, generational savvy, having hard conversations and effective collaboration skills.  She has presented at NSDC, ASCD, NCTE and has trained new teachers and international school leaders at the Principals’ Center for International School Leadership.  Ms. Abrams is the author of Having Hard Conversations and is a contributor to Art Costa’s and Bena Kallick’s upcoming book Learning and Leading with Habits of Mind: 16 Essential Characteristics for Success, and Mentors in the Making: Developing New Leaders for New Teachers. She considers herself a “voice coach”, helping teachers and administrators learn how to best use their voices, be it in a group, in front of a classroom, coaching a colleague, or in a supervisory role. Ms. Abrams holds a Master’s degree in Education from Stanford University and a Bachelor’s degree in English from Tufts University. For more information, visit her website at

The workshop will take place in Chicago at the Hotel Allegro, 171 West Randolph Street. The Hotel Allegro is located in the heart of downtown Chicago in the busy theatre district in close proximity to the Art Institute and Navy Pier. It is also just minutes from Grant Park, Millennium Park, Lincoln Park and Chicago's beautiful lakefront that stretches for miles.
Hotel Allegro offers valet parking service.  Valet parking is $26 for 4-6 hours and $49 for over 6 hours with in and out privileges (rates are subject to change).  The self parking rate is $44 for over 6 hours. There are several lots within a few blocks of the hotel that offer less expensive daily parking.
Click here for directions and parking information for the Hotel Allegro.  
Hotel Reservations
ISACS has secured special discounted room rates at the Hotel Allegro: $159/night plus tax (single or double occupancy). To make a reservation, call 1-800-KIMPTON and use Group Code: "ISACS Conversations" or click here to reserve a room online. Special discounted rates have been extendted until Thursday February 23, 2012. 

Registration Fee
$190 Member Fee
$240 Non Member Fee
First registrant pays full fee, each additional registrant receives a $20 discount
Workshop includes lunch

Cancellation Policy
Cancellations must be received in writing to ISACS by emailing 10 business days prior to the event to receive a 50% refund. Cancellations received within 10 days of the event will not receive a refund. Registration may be transferred to another member from the same school. ISACS reserves the right to cancel the workshop for insufficient enrollment. In this case, participants will be notified and given a full refund. 
Questions? Please call the ISACS office at 312-255-1244.

Member Cost: $190     Non-member Cost: $240


55 West Wacker, Suite 701 · Chicago, IL 60601 · Telephone (312) 750-1190 · Fax (312) 750-1193
Site Map