Professional Development > Conferences and Workshops

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


The Power of Social Emotional Learning
Erin Noviski & Project Adventure

September 20 - 21, 2018

ISACS Classroom
Chicago, IL


  • Day One: "The Why & How of Well-Being" with Erin Noviski, Thursday, September 20, 2018 Time: 9:30 am - 3:00 pm
  • Day Two: "Social Emotional Learning by Doing" with Jen Dirga, Friday, September 21, 2018, Time: 9:30 am - 3:00 pm

Day One: Thursday, September 20

Using Dr. Martin Seligman's positive psychology recipe for flourish combined with knowledge gained from training at Australia’s Geelong Grammar School positive education program, participants will explore and practice ways to improve their own well-being and that of their students. Designed to combat the lack of connection and increased rates of anxiety and depression, this interactive workshop will introduce research and practice that will aid in promoting well-being.

This workshop is designed for teachers, advisors, deans, and counselors of PK-12 grade students. Come ready to learn, collaborate and create a program for you and your students to flourish! You will leave energized and ready to make a difference, armed with many practical resources.

Erin Noviski, director of well-being at The Wellington School in Columbus, Ohio, brings over 25 years’ experience working with students from age 3 to adults as a classroom teacher and as head of middle school. She recently decided to return to the classroom to focus on well-being to counteract alarming trends in increasing rates of anxiety, depression, violence, and suicide in the American population. Combining the research and theory of Carol Dweck's growth mindset and Ken Ginsburg's resilience, along with Crisis Text Line Crisis Counseling Training and Positive Education training from Australia’s Geelong Grammar School, Noviski continues to research the benefits of positive psychology in schools. She has led many teacher workshops on this topic, in addition to working with teachers to create and refine a PERMA-based advisory curriculum. She believes that well-being is an integral component of a healthy community and shares her knowledge to empower other communities to flourish.  For additional information on the power of PERMA, click here

Day Two: Friday, September 21

Learn activities that promote and strengthen social and emotional competencies around self-awareness, self- management, social awareness, along with relationships and decision-making skills. Focus on the five CASEL social and emotional competencies using active, experiential learning approach, activities and concepts and engage in a variety of challenges and problem-solving activities and learn to apply that learning within other contexts. Activities will promote social and emotional competencies and positive decision-making and problem-solving skills. The “hands-on” activities foster self-regulation skills and offer reflective practices supporting perseverance, resilience, and a growth mindset approach. The workshop will model activities for use with students or staff.  Leave with activities and concepts to bring back to your school.

Participants will:

  • learn SEL theory, research, approaches and practices that support the development of critical life skills
  • develop a comprehensive understanding of the Project Adventure Foundational Learning Concepts and approaches around the Full Value Commitment, Zones of Proximal Learning and the Experiential Learning Cycle and the ways these concepts promote best learning practices and safe learning environments
  • learn activities that promote healthy social, emotional skills
  • share and explore learning applications of the training

This workshop is for Grades 4-12.

Jennifer Dirga, MSW, LICSW, is the director of social emotional learning at Project Adventure. Dirga’s entire career has been promoting social-emotional skills and helping to create safe, positive learning environments in schools. She joined Project Adventure after 15 years as a program manager, trainer and coach for a SEL program through the Wellesley Centers for Women at Wellesley College. She began her career as a school counselor in Boston and Atlleboro, MA. She has published articles and has spoken at numerous conferences on SEL, trauma informed practices, and mindfulness.

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

Directions, Parking and Public Transportation for the ISACS Classroom
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.

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.  

​Ground Transportation from O'Hare and Midway Airports
Taxis from O'Hare and Midway airports cost approximately $40-50 to downtown. Uber/Lyft options are offered at both airports and will be less expensive.

ISACS has negotiated a special rate with GO Airport Express (shared van shuttle service) 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 
IISACS has secured discounted room rate of $204/night plus tax at The Godfrey Hotel Chicago: a luxury boutique hotel for the nights of Wednesday, September 19 and Thursday, September 20. To make a reservation, please contact The Godfrey Hotel Chicago at (312) 649-2000 and identify yourself as a member with the Independent Schools Association of Central States (ISACS) and provide the Group Code: ISACS Workshop SEL. Discounted rooms are available until September 12. 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. 

Please note that you should make your reservations early. September is a busy month in Chicago. If you have any difficulties booking a room at The Godfrey Hotel Chicago or at any of the hotels listed, please contact the ISACS office at (312) 750-1190.

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

Two-day Fee

  • $300 member fee
  • $400 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 coffee/tea, light breakfast, lunch, and refreshments on Thursday and Friday
  • Register early as we anticipate this workshop will reach capacity
  • Please review the Registration Confirmation information below

One-day Fee

  • $175 member fee
  • $225 non-member fee
  • There is no group discount available for one-day registrants
  • One-day workshop includes coffee/tea, light breakfast, lunch, and refreshments
  • Register early as we anticipate this workshop will reach capacity
  • 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. 

Contacting the ISACS office
If you have any questions related to any aspect of your attendance or travel, please contact the ISACS office at (312) 750-1190 or email

Member Cost: $300     Non-member Cost: $400


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