Professional Development > Conferences and Workshops

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


Professional Boundaries & Communication: Best Practices for Teachers, Counselors & Advisors
Chris Thurber

Thursday, February 8, 2018
9:30 am - 3:00 pm

ISACS Classroom
Chicago, IL

ISACS invites all counselors, advisors, coaches and teachers to learn strategies to identify boundaries while also building the connections that are essential to all aspects of teaching and learning. Join us to learn about the following:

Preserving Professional Teacher-Student Boundaries: Part 1
Professional educators have a unique responsibility to put their students’ needs first. And yet both students and teachers can enter a grey area in which personal information may be over-shared, physical touch becomes inappropriate, and emotional connections creep beyond what’s comfortable. Participants will learn: their fiduciary responsibility, aspects of development that affect boundaries, the surprising range of boundary violations, the consequences of a violation, and the multitude of ways professional boundaries and reputations can be preserved. 

Preserving Professional Teacher-Student Boundaries: Part 2
In Part II, participants will examine provocative case studies of boundary crossings and boundary violations.  Only by working through difficult—and sometimes ambiguous material—will participants gain confidence in working on their own and others’ boundary issues. Participants will leave with a clear understanding of how best to recognize their human vulnerabilities, determine whether a behavior is appropriate, and respond gracefully to boundary crossings initiated by students, colleagues, or themselves.

Discussion of Selected Boundary Case Studies
Put your enhanced understanding of professional boundaries to practical use by participating in discussions of vexing scenarios. These anonymized case studies will surprise and challenge participants, who will leave with newfound confidence to support their own great teaching, and that of their colleagues. Participants will pool collective wisdom and eliminate the gray by implementing four reliable principles of professionalism.

Cracking Kids’ Secret Code
All children speak two languages: There’s “what-they-say” and then there’s “what-they-mean.” Learning to hear the underlying message in what students say is the fastest way to cultivate the respectful relationships that increase compliance and decrease behavior problems. Deceptively simple movie clips give participants lots of practice listening, decoding, and providing genuine empathy. Together, these advanced techniques form the cornerstone of healthy faculty-student and staff-student connections.

This workshop is for counselors, advisors, coaches, teachers and all who work with students in and beyond the classroom.

Dr. Christopher Thurber is a clinical psychologist, educator and author. Thurber has taught elementary school French, undergraduate courses in psychology, and swimming and sailing. Thurber has more than 30 years of experience working with camps and independent schools. During the academic year, he is the school psychologist at Phillips Exeter Academy, an independent, co-educational secondary school. He has written numerous book chapters and articles on leadership, homesickness and youth development. Thurber is the co-author of the Summer Camp Handbook with Dr. Jon Malinowski and designed the ACA’s homesickness prevention program, a DVD/CD set for new camper families entitled The Secret Ingredients of Summer Camp Success. Thurber has been a contributor to Camping Magazine, and has appeared on the Today Show, CBS Morning News, NPR, and PBS. His research has been featured in Time, Newsweek, US News & World Report, Smart Money, Parents, Parenting, Good Housekeeping, Women’s Day, Family Circle, Men’s Health, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and many local newspapers and magazines. In 2007, he co-founded He earned his BA from Harvard University in 1991 and a PhD in clinical psychology from UCLA in 1997. For more information, visit

Location of Workshop
The workshop will take place at the ISACS classroom at 55 West Wacker Drive, Suite 702, Chicago, IL. 

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

Click here for directions to the ISACS classroom including driving, parking and public transportation directions. Parking is available at several area garages. To secure discounted rates prior to your arrival in Chicago, visit If possible, we suggest taking public transportation.

Air Travel
Both Midway and O'Hare airports are easily accessible to the ISACS classroom. Fly into Midway (on Southwest Airlines) or into O'Hare and take the "L" (Chicago's public transportation) and be at the ISACS classroom in less than an hour.  

‚ÄčGO Airport Express (Share-a-Ride) Shuttle Service
ISACS has negotiated a special rate with GO Airport Express for ISACS members – 15% off the 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 eligible for the discounted rate. Parties of two more reserving at the same time receive a discount. Please visit their website for more information.  

Hotel Accommodations
ISACS has secured discounted hotel accommodations at The Godfrey Hotel Chicago: a luxury boutique hotel with commanding southern views of the city skyline. To make a reservation, please contact The Godfrey Hotel Chicago at 312-649-2000 and make sure to identify yourself as a member with the Independent Schools Association of Central States (ISACS) and provide them with the Group Code: ISACS Professional Boundaries & Communication Workshop. Credit cards are required to book all room reservations. If you would prefer to book online please click here to make your reservation. For directions to The Godfrey Hotel Chicago, which also includes walking directions to the ISACS classroom, click here

If you are looking for another option or the room block is full, please take a moment to check out the other hotels which ISACS has partnered with in the Chicago area. The hotels are within walking distance of the ISACS classroom and, as a member of ISACS, you have access to the discounted rates all year long for your professional and personal travel. Click here to find out how to make a reservation at any of the hotels and select the option that meets your travel needs. We recommend booking your hotel room early. 

If you have any difficulties booking a room at The Godfrey Hotel Chicago or any other property, please contact the ISACS office at 312-750-1190.

Registration Fee

  • $225 member fee 
  • $275 non-member fee 
  • Workshop includes coffee/tea, light breakfast, lunch and refreshments.
  • Chris Thurber is also presenting a workshop on Friday, February 9 entitled "Extracting Excellence: Fresh Ways for Deans and Department Chairs to Coach Peak Performance." If you are interested in attending both workshops, please contact Karen Zeitlin at or call the ISACS office at 312-750-1190. ISACS will provide a coupon code to receive a $25 discount off the second workshop. Please register for each workshop separately. 
  • 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 for workshops held at the ISACS classroom must be received in writing to ISACS by emailing 10 business days prior to the event to receive a refund. ISACS will determine the refund amount, if any, on a per workshop basis and may be unable to determine the refund amount until the workshop’s conclusion. At any time, registration may be transferred to another member from the same school. If a workshop has a waitlist and ISACS can identify a replacement, a full refund will be provided. ISACS reserves the right to cancel the workshop for insufficient enrollment. In this case, participants will be notified and given a full refund. 


Member Cost: $225     Non-member Cost: $275


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