Professional Development > Conferences and Workshops

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


Cultivating Innovators Through Design Thinking
Greg Bamford

Wednesday, February 4, 2015
9:30 am - 3:00 pm

ISACS Office Conference Room
55 West Wacker Drive, Suite 702
Chicago, IL

**Update on Registration as of 2/5**

There were some issues with emailing the particpants of this workshop. below you will find the handouts. 

Click here for your certificate of attendance from the workshop
Click here for Greg Bamford's Design Thinking workshop
Click here for "Bootcamp Bootleg" handout
Click here for "Virtual Crash Course Playbook" handout

**Update on Registration as of 12/11**
This workshop has reached capacity. At the request of the presenter, this workshop will not be relocated or the capacity increased. Please add your name to the wait list. If we receive any cancellations, ISACS will contact those on the wait list. If you have any questions, please call the ISACS office at 312-750-1190. Thank you for your interest.

In a hands-on, experiential session, participants will:

  • gain a big picture understanding of what design thinking is and how it develops grit, empathy, growth mindsets, and creativity
  • experience a design thinking challenge to create a new solution
  • be able to leverage the design thinking process to cultivate collaboration skills and student leadership
  • leave with design thinking exercises ready to be used in their school

How can we educate young people ready to lead, innovate, and create in an era of change? We need new ways of teaching that mirror the ambiguity and rigor of real life. In this workshop, participants will gain a foundation in design thinking, a human-centered problem-solving approach that embodies the best practices of the innovation sector. Design thinking encourages young people  to develop empathy for human needs, reframe problems in more insightful ways, generate new solutions, and iterate rapidly through early failure to find long-term success. It is being used in leading-edge independent schools across the country to generate more resilience, empathy, creativity, and real-world readiness. In this hands-on session, Greg Bamford will provide a well-rounded introduction to the “why” and “what” of design thinking. Participants will go through a design challenge first-hand, experiencing tools for themselves. They will make connections between design thinking, collaboration skills, emotional intelligence, and student leadership. Finally, participants will leave with some specific exercises ready to be used in their schools.

Greg Bamford (@gregbamford) is the head of school at Watershed School in Boulder, Colorado. Watershed is an innovative independent school that engages students through rigorous, real world challenges, an approach for which it has been recognized by the New York Times and CWRA learning gains that greatly exceed peer schools. Greg is also a co-founder of Leadership+Design, a non-profit organization that works with educators to foster a new culture of school leadership. Through Leadership+Design, he has worked with independent schools across the country on emerging pedagogies, strategic challenges, and leadership development. Greg holds an Ed.M. in Educational Leadership from Columbia University.

The workshop will take place at the new ISACS office conference room at 55 West Wacker Drive, Suite 702, 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 including driving, parking and public transportation directions. Parking is available at several area garages and you can use to find discounted parking in the area prior to your arrival in downtown Chicago. If possible, we suggest you take public transportation.

Hotel Accommodations

The ISACS Professional Developement team has partnered with two incredible hotel brands - the Monaco Chicago and Club Quarters at Whacker and Michigan, both within walking distance to the ISACS office, to offer you low rates throughout the year for all of your professional and personal travel. As a member of ISACS you have access to discounted rates at two of the best hotels in the city. Below is information on the two options, select the one that best meets your needs.

Monaco Chicago, a Kimpton Hotel: 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. For 2015, ISACS has secured flat rates which are based on three time spans by month; January – March 2015, a standard guestroom is $145 and a suite is $295 a night, April – November 2015, a standard guestroom is $235 and a suite is $385 a night. and December 2015, a standard guestroom is $145 and a suite is $295 a night. 

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 social hour in the living room. Join the Kimpton Karma loyalty program and receive complimentary wireless internet access, personalized amenities and a whole lot more. For more details on the Monaco Chicago, visit www.monaco-chicago.comClick 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 their second location in the Central Loop. 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 make a reservation, please contact Member Services at or you can reach them at 203-905-2100 anytime between Mon.-Fri. 7am-11pm, Sat. 9am-5pm and Sun. 10am-6pm (Eastern). Make sure to identify yourself as a member of ISACS - Independent Schools Association of the Central States. Credit cards are required to book all room reservations. For more details on Club Quarters at Wacker and Michigan, visit here for directions and parking information.

If you have any issues booking a room at the Monaco Chicago or the Club Quarters at Wacker and Michigan, please contact the ISACS office at 312-750-1190. 

Registration Fee

  • $190 Member Fee
  • First registrant pays full fee, each additional registrant receives a $20 discount
  • Workshop includes lunch
  • For this workshop, ISACS anticipates reaching capacity and is currently not offering registration for non-members. If you are interested in attending this workshop, but are not at an ISACS school, please call the ISACS office at 312-750-1190 or email to be placed on a non-member waitlist.  ISACS will contact you if we are able to accommodate non-members 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.

Member Cost: $190     Non-member Cost: $240
Registration Deadline:  January 28, 2015
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
Site Map