Leadership Courses & Coaching | Team Outings & Workshops | Culture Assessment

Solutions for Educators.

As a school administrator, principal, or leader, you have a lot of lives in your care… students, parents, staff. You were called to this job because of your purpose and passion to serve your community. And yet, most days, you feel all you do is put out fires rather than making progress. You are far from alone. While deeply rewarding, leading people can be a draining endeavor. It is important to recognize that you cannot do it all on your own and its okay to ask for help.

At Thought Design, we walk alongside educators helping you to assess culture, provide actionable professional development for teachers, take your leadership team to new levels, and support families and students. Take a glimpse at the Thought Design approach.

You'll hear us talk a lot about psychological safety.

Psychological safety is the crux of everything we do at Thought Design. It’s a word that can be dismissed as psychobabble, but in reality, it simply means creating conditions where your team can do their best work. In other words, when your staff and students feel safe enough to try and fail, speak up with new ideas, and be vulnerable enough to ask for help, some amazing things happen. Barriers dissolve, learning is un-leashed, and employee satisfaction skyrockets.

Tara smiling at attendees during a Thought Design course

Whether you know precisely what you need (perhaps a workshop, a leadership course, or support for families) or you can’t put your finger on it quite yet, we’d love to connect.

When you click “Start the Conversation” below, you’ll be invited to grab some time on our calendar where we can briefly discuss what’s on your mind and offer some creative solutions to help.

Let's connect.


    How we help.

    We offer tailored support to leaders, teachers, students, and families.

    Course attendees sitting around a table, smiling

    School Leaders

    Today’s principals are faced with complex problems — under pressure to perform at high levels while navigating a teacher shortage, mitigating the impact of a pandemic on children, empower children with strategic to manage their own social emotional needs, and dealing with unpredictable situations on a daily basis. The Empowered Principal Program was created with the busy principal in mind. You will participate in online learning sessions with a cohort of peers as well as asynchronous content and one-on-one coaching. This curriculum gives school leaders a fresh set of tools to help them lead effectively in a complex, ever-changing environment.


    The Empowered Principal

    Empowered Principal will help you assess your culture, grow your teachers, and take your leadership to new levels. The program offers three 10-week online learning courses designed to be taken in any order or as a single course. Joining each course will give you an exciting chance to learn alongside like-minded leaders.

    Self Awareness Course - Developing self-awareness is crucial in understanding how your behavior affects others.

    People Development Course - Discover effective ways to nurture and develop your teachers, assistant principals, deans, and support staff, giving your school a solid finish to the year.

    Communication Course - Effective communication can be challenging, especially in the fast-paced environment of a school. Unlock the secrets to clear communication for a successful school year

    Teachers working on exercises during a Thought Design workshop


    Teachers are committed to their craft and dedicated to their students…and sometimes that can be exhausting. We offer several interconnected trainings that help teachers become more aware of their own stressors, behaviors, triggers, and emotions, as well as implement strategies that build trust and create safe spaces for students and parents — even during disruptive events in the classroom.


    Here are the courses we offer teachers:

    (1) Psychological Safety Series: Creating Optimal Conditions for Learning. This 3-part series is designed to help teachers create psychological safety and reinforce a school culture centered around learning, high engagement, and well-being. Designed by teachers for teachers, this series is full of quick and easy strategies that can be implemented in the classroom the very next day. It includes:

    • A live, 6-hour back-to-school professional development aimed at helping teachers understand psychological safety and how it impacts the classroom culture and group learning.
    • A live, 3-hour training that builds on the previous session and introduces strategies around managing conflict in the classroom, developing rapport with difficult students, and empowering student leaders.
    • A follow-up live, 3-hour training that launches a learning community of teachers empowered to learn, grow, try new things, and share their experiences with their colleagues.

    (2) The Drama-Free Classroom. Reducing drama isn’t just about the big blow-up moments or changing what you do when things start to go wrong. It’s the small moments that make the biggest shifts. Everyday classroom drama stems from patterns that develop over time and are rooted in the unconscious ways we relate to each other. This 8-hour, live or virtual course helps teachers overcome tired patterns and the challenges they produce. Teachers will:

    • Become aware of behavioral habits and thinking patterns.
    • Identify patterns that keep the drama cycle going.
    • Learn when and how to shift into “Creator Mode.”
    • Break the “Hero Habit."
    • Create healthy mental habits and patterns.
    • Build resilience in themselves and their students.
    • Gain perspective on situations causing frustration & overwhelm.

    (3) Mind of a Student. Using a framework of bias training, the brain science behind cognitive empathy, and student perspective-gathering, this interactive, 4-6 hour, live or virtual learning experience helps teachers facilitate breakthroughs. In it, teachers will gain practical, science-based knowledge about their thinking patterns and a new, self-reflective mindset that will:

    • Enhance day-to-day interactions with students.
    • Encourage better conflict resolution.
    • Build school culture.
    • Improve student participation, attendance, and performance.

    Group photo of kids in aprons in front of the Thought Design Culinary Kitchen


    Peer pressure, academic challenges, others’ expectations, and a myriad of competing stressors can easily overwhelm students with negative emotions. The Path To Resilience course helps students build self-awareness and understand their experiences from a neurobiological framework so they can face challenges with resilience. Aligned with the CASEL framework, the course is compromised of 6 modules, each including a 5-minute video and 20 minutes of activities facilitated by the teacher.


    Path to Resilience

    This course helps students make sense of failure and rewire their relationship with it. Aligned with the CASEL framework, the course is comprised of 6 modules, each including a 5-minute video and 20-30 minutes of activities that can be facilitated by teachers. A full facilitator guide is included.

    As students participate, they will:

    • Understand the term “resilience.”
    • Identify how resilient behaviors are helpful in life.
    • Embrace the brain science behind threat and reward states.
    • Increase self-awareness of behaviors & self-management.
    • Explore how the brain processes and uses failure.
    • Practice strategies to climb out of "fear traps."
    • Adopt “To Me” and “By Me” thinking and mindsets.

    Young boy sitting at a desk, writing in a notebook


    Family drama isn’t about parents lacking intelligence, abilities, or love; it’s often a result of habits and patterns that develop from the unconscious ways we relate to each other. The Empowered Family course equips families to make small shifts in everyday moments, which leads to reduced drama and improved family dynamics. Virtual modules can be accessed by parents on their own or delivered at family learnng nights.


    The Empowered Family

    This course helps families transform the daily challenges of home life. Modules can be accessed by parents on their own time or
    facilitated by school staff through a series of parent learning nights. A facilitator’s guide, worksheets, and videos will all be provided.

    As families participate, they will:

    • Become aware of behavioral habits and thinking patterns.
    • Identify patterns that keep the drama cycle going.
    • Learn when and how to shift into “Creator Mode.”
    • Break the “Hero Habit."
    • Create healthy mental habits and patterns.
    • Build resilience in themselves and their children.
    • Gain perspective on situations causing frustration & overwhelm.

    Not sure which program is best? Let's talk about it.

    We're honored to be trusted by incredible educators.

    You may still be wondering...

    Who teaches Thought Design educator programs?

    All workshops are taught by experienced educators: Thought Design founder, Denise McClennen, business partner, Tara Colvin, and educator specialist, Cathy Henkenberns. You can read about the extensive experience of our instructors in their bios.

    How much does it cost?

    As you can imagine, program costs vary based on the teaching, the length of time, and the number of attendees. We're happy to discuss specific details when you reach out.

    Can you come deliver trainings at my school or district?

    Yes, we travel around the country to offer workshops & training.

    What if we are just looking for fun… no heavy training?

    We love facilitating fun! Head over to our team outings page. You're going to love what we have cooking over there!

    What’s your cancellation policy?

    We understand that emergencies and unforeseen circumstances may arise and we also have a commitment to our workshop preparation and instructors. Therefore, we have a cancellation policy in place to ensure that we can continue to provide high-quality workshop experiences.

    If you need to cancel your workshop, please do so at least 21 days in advance and we will be happy to apply your 25% deposit to a new event or date within one year of the previously booked event. Cancellations within 21 days of your scheduled workshop will be considered on a case-by-case basis, and we will do our best to work with you to find a solution that is fair and reasonable for everyone.

    Have another question? Reach out!

    Bottom line?

    Time spent
    preparing to be in the classroom,
    thinking in new ways
    while bonding as humans,
    is time that gives back hundreds of times over.

    It’d be an honor to partner with you.

    Tara smiling
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