Professional Development > Conferences and Workshops

Conferences and Workshops
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Essential Aspects of Leadership: Leading Innovation & Instruction Coaching for Exceptional Teaching
Jim Knight & Greg Bamford

Thursday, February 18, 2016 9:30 am - Friday, February 19, 2016 3:00 pm

Hotel Palomar (Both Workshops)
505 N. State Street
Chicago, IL

Due to the workshops' popularity, ISACS is now hosting both workshops at
to the Hotel Palomar, 505 N. State Street, Chicago, IL. Please make a note of the change in location, specifically for Thursday, February 18. 

**Registration Update: As of January 21, online registration for the two-day workshop is closed.  Day 1 with Jim Knight is at capacity. There are a limited number of spaces available for Day 2 with Greg Bamford. Please call the ISACS office at 312-750-1190 to be put on the waitlist for Day 1 and/or to see if we can accommodate you for Day 2.  


  • Day One: “Instructional Coaching to Improve Teaching and Learning” with Jim Knight - Thursday, February 18: Time: 9:30 am – 3:00 pm (NEW Updated Location: Hotel Palomar)
  • Day Two: “Leading Innovation in Schools for Deans, Department Chairs & Aspiring Leaders” with Greg Bamford - Friday, February 19: Time: 9:30 am – 3:00 pm (Location: Hotel Palomar)

Instructional Coaching to Improve Teaching and Learning

Instructional coaching can improve academic outcomes for students through support provided by instructional coaches. Instructional coaches are colleagues in your school who can teach faculty how to use evidence-based teaching practices and to provide support in learning and applying these practices in the classroom.  Instructional coaching can become the core of your mentoring program.

This workshop will provide a definition of what instructional coaches do, distinguish between effective and ineffective coaching practices, and provide an overview of the research on coaching. Specifically, the following questions will be addressed:

  • What is instructional coaching?
  • What is the theoretical foundation of instructional coaching?
  • Which communication strategies can a person use to build healthy relationships with other professionals?
  • What are the activities instructional coaches do (establishing a partnership with teachers, pre-conferencing, observing classes, modeling in and outside the classroom, and debriefing)
  • What does research say about effective coaching practices?
  • Which leadership skills enable coaches to lead change efforts in their school?
  • How are goals set, practices explained, data gathered and progress toward goals monitored?
  • What is the most effective way to manage the complexities of helping adults?
  • What is the best way to create partnership principles for building healthy coaching relationships?
  • What are coaching cycles and partnering fundamentals?

This workshop is for anyone who has a role in coaching teachers: division heads, dean and departments chairs, mentors, team leaders, grade level coordinators, directors of professional development, etc.

As a part of the registration fee for Day One, each attendee will receive a copy of “What Coaches Do” by Jim Knight.

Jim Knight is a research associate at the University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning and is the president of the Instructional Coaching Group. He has spent almost two decades studying professional learning and instructional coaching. He has written or co-authored several books including Instructional Coaching: A Partnership Approach to Improving Instruction published by Corwin and Learning Forward (2007) and Unmistakable Impact: A Partnership Approach for Dramatically Improving Instruction (2011). Knight co-authored Coaching Classroom Management (2006) and also edited Coaching: Approaches and Perspectives (2008). Knight has authored articles on instructional coaching and professional learning in publications such as The Journal of Staff Development, Educational Leadership, Principal Leadership, The School Administrator, and Kappan. He is frequently asked to lead professional learning and has presented and consulted across the country and internationally. Knight also leads the coaching institutes and the Annual Instructional Coaching Conference in Lawrence, Kansas. He has a PhD in Education from the University of Kansas, has won several university teaching, innovation, and service awards and also hosts "Talking About Teaching" on the Teaching Channel and writes the blog.

Leading Innovation in Schools for Deans, Department Chairs & Aspiring Leaders

Today, schools are challenged to prepare students for a rapidly changing world which requires rethinking and re-imagining school – from instruction, to physical space, to time, and spirit. To meet this challenge, school leaders must adapt ahead of the curve. They must be innovative.

As a school leader, are you prepared to meet the changing needs of your school and your students? What does it mean to be innovative? What conditions must exist to foster a culture of innovation your school community? And how can you foster the human environment required to sustain a healthy and humane culture in a period of change?

Learning Goals:
In a hands-on workshop, participants will:

  • Adopt a mental model for how innovation works in an organization
  • Identify key success factors in leading innovation
  • Gain concrete tactics for leading more creative team meetings
  • Gain a vocabulary for discussing group dynamics and specific tools for fostering collaboration
  • Practice some of the personal (and interpersonal) skills required to lead innovation

Drawing from organizational research as well as case studies of independent schools, we will discuss:

  • The dynamics of sustaining and disruptive innovation in independent schools
  • The personal qualities of innovative school leaders
  • The cultural forces that lead to the successful adoption of innovative practices in schools
  • Strategies and tactics for accelerating the rate of innovation in your schools
  • Fostering creativity on your teams
  • Frameworks for fostering collaboration and healthy group dynamics

This workshop is for deans, department chairs and aspiring leaders. 

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. Bamford 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. He holds an EdM in Educational Leadership from Columbia University.

UPDATED Location 
Please note that Day One and Day Two will be held at the Hotel Palomar, 505 North State Street, Chicago, IL. Located in the River North area of Chicago, the Hotel Palomar is located near the Chicago River and North Michigan Avenue. Complimentary highlights include: a 24-hour fitness center, indoor pool, pet friendly policies, and complimentary coffee/tea and evening wine reception. Guests must join the Kimpton InTouch program (which is free of charge) to receive wireless internet access in guest rooms and common areas.  For more details on the Hotel Palomar, visit

Hotel Accommodations
ISACS has secured a discounted rate at the Hotel Palomar of $139/night (single or double occupancy) for the nights of Wednesday, February 17 and Thursday, February 18 (The rate will also be available for 3 days before and after the workshop date). To make a reservation call 1-877-731-0505 and use Group Code: "ISACS Leadership" to receive the discounted rates.  The discounted rate is available until Thursday, January 28, 2016. Click here to book your ISACS Leadership Online Booking Link reservations online.

If you have any issues booking a room at the Hotel Palomar, please contact the ISACS office at 312-750-1190. 

Directions, Parking & Public Transportation
The Hotel Palomar is located in the heart of Chicago, with easy access to public transportation.

Click here for directions and parking information for the Hotel Palomar. Parking rates are subject to change. Less expensive parking may also be available at several area garages. To secure discounted parking prior to your arrival in Chicago, visit If possible, we suggest taking public transportation.

Hotel Palomar Parking
Valet parking at the Hotel Palomar is $18 for daily event parking (not overnight) for Thursday and Friday.

Valet overnight parking is $58/night for hotel guests with full in-and-out privileges. Typically, overnight parking guests must leave by 2:00 pm to avoid additional fees at the garage. However, ISACS guests for the Thursday and Friday workshop are able to park their cars with the valet until 4:00 pm without additional fees. There may be less expensive overnight parking options within a few blocks of the hotel.

Note: Hybrid vehicles receive a 25% discount. There are other parking garages in the area that may offer less expensive rates. 

​GO Airport Express (Share-a-Ride) Shuttle Service
ISACS has negotiated a special rate with GO Airport Express for ISACS members – 15% off standard rates. Reservations MUST be made in advance and online to receive the discounted rate.  The standard rate per person to/from O’Hare is approximately $28 one-way; $49 round-trip. The standard rate per person to/from Midway is approximately $24 one-way; $40 round-trip. To receive the 15% discount off the standard rates, please click here for the Go Airport Express website to make a reservation in advance. A credit card is required and charged at the time of reservation. Airport walk-ups are not be eligible for the discounted rate, standard rates apply. Parties of two or more reserving at the same time receive a discount. Please visit the website for more information.

Registration Fees
*During the registration process, please select the day(s) you plan to attend.

Two-Day Fee

  • $400 member fee
  • $500 non-member fee
  • Group discounts are available for two-day registrants from the same school – The first person pays the full two-day fee, each additional registrant receives a $20 discount
  • Two-day workshop includes:
    • Day One/Thursday: coffee/tea, light breakfast and lunch
    • Day Two/Friday: coffee/tea, light breakfast and lunch 
  • As a part of the registration fee for Day One, each attendee will receive a copy of “What Coaches Do” by Jim Knight
  • Please review the Registration Confirmation information below

One-Day Fee

  • $225 member fee
  • $275 non-member fee
  • There is no group discount available for one-day registrants
  • Day One/Thursday: coffee/tea, light breakfast and lunch
  • Day Two/Friday: coffee/tea, light breakfast and lunch 
  • As part of the registration fee for Day One, each attendee will receive a copy of "What Coaches Do" by Jim Knight
  • Please review the Registration Confirmation information below

Registration Confirmation Communications from ISACS
Once registration for the workshop has been completed the following communications will be sent from ISACS:

  • Once registration is complete, an email will automatically be sent to the contact person on the registration confirming that registration has been completed.
  • Approximately three weeks prior to the workshop, ISACS will send a confirmation email to the registrant with details for the workshop.
  • Approximately one week prior to the workshop, ISACS will send a final confirmation email to the registrant with details for the workshop.

If you do not receive these emails prior to arriving at a workshop, please call the ISACS office at 312-750-1190. It is possible your email address was entered incorrectly OR your registration was not completed.

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: $400     Non-member Cost: $500


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