Professional Development > Conferences and Workshops

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


How To Chart a Direction for Online Learning
A Blended Course Offered by ISACS & the Online School for Girls

Friday, May 2, 2014
9:30 am - 3:00 pm

ISACS Office Conference Room
55 West Wacker Drive
Chicago, IL 60601

This workshop is part of a six month course including a one day workshop on Monday December 9, 2013 and monthly online assigments. Participants must register for the full course.  To register, click here.

This “blended” course helps curricular leaders and administrators in all schools do a “deep-dive” into online and blended learning, and reveals the opportunities and challenges that online and blended learning present for independent schools.  The course covers both the strategic decisions that schools face and the practical implications of implementing online and blended programs in an independent school.  Great focus is spent on pedagogical and financial implications for schools.  During the course, participants are exposed to national leaders and experts in online learning, including (and most importantly) from experts within the independent school community.

Workshop Dates and Online Assignments
This course has monthly online assignments and interactions and two in-person, one-day workshops which will be held on Monday, December 9, 2013 and Friday May 2, 2014 at the new ISACS conference room in downtown Chicago.  The one-day workshops will begin at 9:30 am and end at 3:00 pm. 

Participants should expect monthly assignments to take approximately six hours to complete and all participants will receive a certificate of completion at the end of the course.

Who Should Attend
This course is for administrators and curricular leaders at independent schools who are tasked with developing both the strategic direction and the practical planning for online education and blended learning at their schools.  This course is also appropriate for schools that are currently piloting programs in online or blended learning.

To maximize the impact of this experience, we strongly encourage schools to send teams of 3-5 administrators/curricular leaders to this program.  We will also welcome single participants as representatives from their schools.
The course spans over six to seven months with monthly online activities and two in-person, day-long workshops.
  • Unit 1: The Landscape of Online Learning in America and Online Independent Schools
  • Unit 2:  In-Person: Narrowing the opportunities and threats -- becoming mission driven with online learning
  • Unit 3: Developing a Vision for Online and Blended Learning
  • Unit 4: Addressing the Classroom Opportunities - Time, Space, and Flexibility
  • Unit 5:  Creating Courses - Standards, Advice from the Field, and Varied Approaches
  • Unit 6: Financing for Online and Blended Learning - What are the drivers?
  • Unit 7: Engaging Your Community - Communications and Planning around Online and Blended Learning
  • Unit 8:‚Äč In Person: Tying it all Together into a Plan
As a result of having taken completed this course, a participant will:
  • understand the landscape of online and blended learning and the place of independent schools in the landscape;
  • develop a vision for online and blended learning for their campus;
  • understand how online and blended learning impacts pedagogy and curriculum choices and decisions;
  • understand standards for online and blended courses and have guidance in developing standards for your campus;
  • work through financial considerations and drivers for budgeting; and 
  • be able to engage a campus community in discussions on online and blended learning.
Lorri Palko serves as the director of finance and operations for the Online School for Girls.  Previously, she served as associate head of school – operations at Atlanta Girls’ School where she led all internal business and financial operations. Prior to working in schools, Lorri worked in the business sector for twenty-years, having served as president of two manufacturing companies, each with annual sales of over $200 million and over one thousand employees. Lorri achieved revenue growth, improved profitability, and increased market positions through a collaborative leadership style focused on the growth of employees and the community while being a steward of long-term financial sustainability.
Brad Rathgeber is the executive director of the Online School for Girls, responsible for the day-to-day management of the School, including academics, professional development, and extension programs. Brad is one of the founders of the Online School for Girls and was the first president of the board, having worked to create the School while an administrator at Holton-Arms School in Bethesda, Maryland.  Brad has presented at many national and international conferences on online learning, and has been quoted on the topic in the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and on PBS.
The workshop dates on December 9, 2013 and May 2, 2014 will take place at the new ISACS office conference room at 55 West Wacker Drive, Suite 701, Chicago, IL. 
The location is located in the heart of Chicago, with easy access to public transportation.
Click here for directions to the ISACS office. Parking is available at several area garages. If possible, we suggest you take public transportation.

Hotel Accommodations
ISACS has secured two options for your hotel accommodations needs - the Hotel Monaco or Club Quarters - both within walking distance to the ISACS office.  Below is information on the two options, select the one that best meets your needs.

Hotel Monaco: ISACS has secured a discount off the standard room rates at the Hotel Monaco, 225 N. Wabash, Chicago, IL. The hotel is located less than three blocks from the new ISACS office/conference room. To view rates and reserve your room, please call 1-800-KIMPTON and request the ISACS rate. Click here to book your room online.  Rates and availability vary based on time of year.

The Monaco Chicago, a Kimpton Hotel is an award winning boutique hotel offering a stylish window onto the Windy City. Located in the heart of downtown Chicago, the Hotel Monaco is in the Loop business district and just steps from North Michigan Avenue shopping and the popular Millennium Park. A former hat factory on the banks of the Chicago River, the transformed Hotel Monaco draws guests in and surrounds them with all manner of stimulations once inside. Complimentary highlights of the Hotel Monaco include: a 24-hour fitness center, pet friendly policies, and complimentary coffee and tea and evening wine reception in the living room. Join the Kimpton InTouch loyalty program and receive complimentary wireless internet access, personalized amenities and a whole lot more. For more details on the Monaco Chicago, visit

Click here for directions and parking information.


Club Quarters at Wacker and Michigan: The Independent Schools Association of the Central States is now a member of Club Quarters, full service business hotels for member organizations.  The entire ISACS community has access to low member rates at Club Quarters, Wacker at Michigan and 15 additional locations in the United States and London. Club Quarters, Wacker at Michigan is located less than three blocks from the new ISACS office/conference room. When you stay at Club Quarters, Wacker at Michigan, you are just steps from the Magnificent Mile, famous for shopping, fine dining and museums, and Grant Park.  Member guests enjoy automatic Gold Status benefits including subsidized weekend and holiday rates from as low as $65/night, complimentary onsite benefits including WiFi, exercise facilities, chilled, purified bottled water and access to the Club Living Room with snacks and refreshments and Gold Rewards, the richest guest rewards program.

For additional information or to to make a reservation, please contact Member Services at 203.905.2100 anytime between Mon.-Fri. 7am-11pm, Sat. 9am-5pm and Sun. 10am-6pm (EST). Make sure to identify yourself as a member of ISACS - Independent Schools Association of the Central States and provide them with the Group Code: Ind Schl Assoc Central Sta. Credit cards are required to book all room reservations.

While Club Quarters is getting ready to launch their new website sometime in the summer, we ask that if you wish to make a reservation online that you visit their website at and login with the ISACS Member Password: ISACS.

Click here for directions and parking information.

Registration Fee

  • $1295 Member Fee per person
  • There is no discount for multiple attendees from the same school for this course.
  • The fee includes lunch on December 9 and May 2 and all course materials 
  • We recommend registering early as we anticipate reaching capacity for this workshop. 
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 312-750-1190.




This event is open to participants from ISACS member schools only.


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