10 East Bridge St NE, Rockford, MI 49341 – Call (616) 951-1336

Educating children is complex, at best. Meeting the academic, social, behavioral, and emotional needs of each child while supporting staff feels like never-ending work. The pandemic has been a catalyst for even more chaos, emotional burnout, and overwhelm in the education environment.

But the reality is that these issues have always existed – the pandemic has just magnified them.

It’s time to consider an alternative approach to SEL that will inspire systemic impact and create long-lasting shifts in your school culture.

We’ve fused our experience in corporate team development and executive leadership coaching with our hands-on knowledge of the education environment to develop a robust curriculum that deepens Social and Emotional Learning for your entire school community.

The Empowered Classroom is a thoughtfully designed collection of workshops, sessions, and interactive experiences that give teachers, students, families, and school leaders practical tools and strategies to shift their thinking in a way that can inspire learning, growth and connectedness.

We know your school has unique needs. This is why we created flexibility within the curriculum to allow for full customization. Each element on the following pages can seamlessly work together or be implemented as stand-alone training. The content can be delivered asynchronously, virtually or during live sessions. No matter the format, the goal is the same: create a sustainable, long-lasting impact that gives your teachers and students the support they need – now more than ever.

For Teachers

The core of our program focuses on teachers and staff. Teachers are exhausted. And when we are exhausted, we aren’t able to do our best work. The Empowered Classroom helps teachers become more aware of their own stressors, behaviors, triggers, and emotions as well as implement strategies to restore their energy, build trust, and create safe spaces for students, parents, and staff – even during the middle of a disruptive event in the classroom.

The Path to Resilience

DESCRIPTION:

Through the lens of the 5 SEL components, this course provides teachers with a framework for supporting students in developing emotionally healthy mindsets and behaviors related to the experience of failure. This course takes teachers through a journey of self-discovery and skill-building that is translatable to students and the classroom. Paired with the student version of this course, the tools and strategies developed will enable students to navigate risk-taking, decision making and problem-solving with courage and confidence.

HOW IT’S DELIVERED:

  • Live or virtual
  • 8 hours of content delivered based on your needs

OBJECTIVES: 

  • SEL: Self-Awareness
    • Differentiate between experiencing failure and being a failure (identity) 
    • Identify personal “fear traps” 
    • Learn to make mistakes without getting hooked by shame
  • SEL: Self Management
    • Understand the concept of “your growth edge” and how the brain learns
    • Understand how the brain processes and uses failure
    • Learn the “above and below the line” method of identifying the state of your brain and develop strategies for regulating
    • Learn strategies for avoiding or releasing from “fear traps”
    • Understand the “drama triangle” and personal patterns of thinking and behaving
  • SEL: Social Awareness
    • Learn to tell stories of failure without drama
  • SEL: Relationship Skills
    • Strategies for supporting others through risk and failure without judgment, blame or criticism
    • Learn to use powerful questions to coach and support others
  • SEL: Responsible Decision Making
    • Develop stronger risk intelligence – mastering personal fear traps and using a growth mindset

The Drama-Free Classroom

DESCRIPTION:

Reducing drama isn’t just about the big blow-up moments or changing what you do when things start to go wrong. It’s about the everyday moments: the small moments that make the biggest shifts. Everyday classroom drama comes from habits, the patterns that develop and the unconscious ways in which we relate to each other. This course will help teachers transform the daily challenges in the classroom.

HOW IT’S DELIVERED:

  • Live or virtual
  • 8 hours of content delivered based on your needs

OBJECTIVES:  Teachers will…

  • Develop awareness of their own and their students’ behavior habits and thinking patterns
  • Identify the patterns that are keeping the drama cycle going
  • Learn when and how to shift into “Creator Mode”
  • Break the “Hero Habit”
  • Increase self-awareness for themselves and their students
  • Create healthy mental habits and patterns
  • Increase their confidence and build resilience in themselves and their students
  • Learn brand new tools to help get a perspective on the situations causing frustration and overwhelm

Mind of a Student

DESCRIPTION:

With a framework of bias training, understanding the brain science behind cognitive empathy, and student perspective gathering, this interactive learning experience will introduce your teachers to the tools and strategies they can take back with them into their classrooms that can help create the necessary breakthroughs with their students and each other.

HOW IT’S DELIVERED:

  • Live or virtual
  • 4-6 hours of content delivered based on your needs

OBJECTIVES: This course will equip teachers to…

  • Understand how specific cognitive biases shape their classroom culture and how to leverage them with purpose
  • Apply findings from neuroscience research to their relationships with students and management of the classroom
  • Build cognitive empathy skills in themselves and their students
  • All will leave with practical, science-based knowledge about their thinking patterns and a new, self-reflective mindset that will:
  • Improve day-to-day interactions with students
  • Encourage better conflict resolution
  • Build school culture
  • Improve teacher and staff retention
  • Improve student participation, attendance and performance
  • Change the way each team member sees themselves, their team and their students

The Science of Stress

DESCRIPTION:

Stress is at an all-time high. High levels of anxiety can result in poor sleep, poor digestion and fragile relationships. Such symptoms can in turn exacerbate stress. This course takes a close look at the biology of stress and how we can most effectively mitigate its symptoms. How will you know it’s working? Teachers will report feeling better, which will indirectly create positive impacts of attendance, participation, and engagement in students.

HOW IT’S DELIVERED:

  • Live or virtual
  • 8 hours of content delivered based on your needs

OBJECTIVES: Teachers will…

  • Discover the systemic effects of stress on the human body and learn research-driven methods of mitigating stress. 
  • Explore scientific journals associated with psychology and biology, conduct their own action research, and incorporate their understanding of science to improve their health. 
  • Apply tangible skills in their own lives as well as in their classroom, for their students. 

We believe that it’s only when you are aware of how you think, that you can see the impact of those thought patterns on your behaviors, communication style, relationships and beyond, and decide to make a change.

While the core of our program is focused on supporting teachers and staff, systemic impact and long-lasting shifts in your school culture require support for all members of the school community – teachers, administration, families, and students. Everyone plays a role in the system, and each role needs to be empowered to take responsibility for their own contributions to the bigger picture. It’s all interconnected.

The Empowered Classroom curriculum is designed to provide support for your entire school community.

For Leaders

The Empowered Leader

DESCRIPTION:

Culture changes start at the top. This course empowers leaders with the skills and mindsets they will need to support their teachers, students and families during SEL training, as well as implement culture shifts from the leadership level that will have a big-picture impact. This experiential, cohort-based course combines live and/or virtual content delivery, self-directed reflection/practice and small group project assignments.

HOW IT’S DELIVERED:

  • Live or virtual
  • 20 hours of content delivered based on your needs 
  • Between sessions, participants will meet with their cohort group for dialogue, accountability and work on a real-life project 

OBJECTIVES: 

  • Gain a deeper understanding of leadership and management mindsets and how to develop them
  • Learn how to form the foundation for the operations of a team through casting vision, defining values, shaping team culture, and leading strategy and execution
  • Learn how to lead and manage with greater self-awareness
  • Develop skill in problem-solving, decision making, managing conflict, cultivating feedback, and developing others

For Families

The Path to Resilience

DESCRIPTION:

Similar to the teacher-version, this course helps families understand what their students are experiencing around failure, so the thinking tools and strategies can be supported at home, too. 

HOW IT’S DELIVERED:

  • Virtual
  • 8 hours of content delivered based on your needs

OBJECTIVES: Refer to “For Teachers” section for objectives

The Empowered Family

DESCRIPTION:

Reducing drama isn’t just about the big blowup moments, or changing what you do when “bad things go down.” It’s about the everyday moments that happen, the small moments that make the biggest shifts. It’s not about lacking intelligence, abilities, or love. Everyday family drama comes from habits, in the patterns that develop, the unconscious ways in which we relate to each other. This course will help families to transform the daily challenges of home life, during and beyond this pandemic.

HOW IT’S DELIVERED:

  • Live, virtual or asynchronous
  • 8 hours of content delivered based on your needs

OBJECTIVES: Families will…

  • Develop awareness of their own and their children’s behavior habits and thinking patterns
  • Identify the patterns that are keeping the drama cycle going
  • Learn when and how to shift into “Creator Mode”
  • Break the “Hero Habit”
  • Increase self-awareness for themselves and their children
  • Create healthy mental habits and patterns
  • Increase their confidence and build resilience in themselves and their children
  • Learn brand new tools to help get a perspective on the situations causing frustration and overwhelm

For Students

Path to Resilience

DESCRIPTION:

Through the lens of the 5 SEL components, this course helps students understand failure from a neurobiological framework so they can observe how they make sense of failure and rewire their relationship with it. 

HOW IT’S DELIVERED:

  • Comprised of 18 modules, each including a 5-minute video and 20-30 minutes of activities that can be facilitated by your teachers
  • Full facilitator guide is included 

OBJECTIVES: Refer to “For Teachers” section for objectives

Curious to learn more?

Schedule a consultation with Denise or Tara to find out how The Empowered Classroom can support your school community.

Tools for Assessment

The following assessment tools are available to complement The Empowered Classroom curriculum. 

Growth Edge Interview

A powerful process of exploring the ways in which a person characteristically makes sense of the world. The process reveals the growing edges of the person’s insight into her own way of being, her relationships and her work, revealing potential next steps in development with great clarity.

Emotional Quotient

An assessment tool that can help people sense, understand, and effectively apply the power of emotions to facilitate higher levels of collaboration and productivity.

TriMetrix EQ

This assessment unveils strengths and weaknesses in three important areas to help a person understand their behaviors (the how) and drivers (the why), in combination with EQ (how they react).

Funding

Rooted in research, our practical tools and strategies align with the standards developed by the National Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), centered around neuroscience, and based on adult development theory. The Empowered Classroom is aligned with several federal funding sources including: Title I, Part A—Improving Basic Programs; Title I, Part D—Prevention and Intervention Programs for Children and Youth Who Are Neglected, Delinquent, or At-Risk; Title II, Part A—Supporting Effective Instruction (Teacher Training and Teacher Retention); Title IV, Part A—Student Support and Academic Enrichment (SSAE) Grants; and Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Funds I, II, and III.

About Thought Design

Thought Design is a one-of-a-kind experiential learning company. We combine our deep knowledge and experience in education, business and not-for-profit organizations with incredibly practical tools and structures to enable our clients to lead, work and thrive in our increasingly complex world. Drawing upon our training and experience in applied neuroscience, adult development theory, and organizational leadership, we create powerful learning experiences that result in deep, sustainable growth for people and organizations. Did we mention fun? Whether in our 4000 s.f. learning studio in Rockford, MI (which includes a gorgeous riverfront culinary space), at our client’s locations or in a virtual environment, we create unique, memorable opportunities for people to learn how to do their very best thinking. We believe that our world needs and deserves the very best thinking people can do.

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