Designed to motivate, inspire, and incite the entire school community to action, the Interactive Keynote Address sets the tone and establishes the climate and culture that the district strives to embody as it moves forward to Up the Bar on the quality of education all students deserve.

Examples of Topics Tailored to District Requests

“We don’t see things as they are. We see them as we are.” As educators, it is critical for us to consider how the world is perceived by the diversity of people who live in it. When we teach our students, do we do so through our lens of the world? Do all of our students share the same worldview that we do? Do we ’see’ all of our students, and consider/leverage/elevate their diverse perspectives?

During this highly engaging and fast-paced keynote focused on culturally responsive teaching for grades pk-12, teachers and administrators will turn to introspection to more clearly understand if they lead/teach with metaphorical mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors. Participants will be inspired to share their own stories, to reflect critically on their own upbringing, and to assess their current practices in their schools. The class will provide educators with a moment of reckoning as they realize the lens through which they view the world and their students.

As educators, our calendars run differently.  When we refer to the end of this year, we mean June. When we talk about next year, we mean September.  Given our unique sense of time, it is only fitting that we celebrate New Year’s Eve at the beginning of our school year.  Just like New Year’s Eve, the beginning of our school year is full of potential and hope and aspiration.  We can’t help but make big plans and promises for a fresh new start.
During this contemplative yet fabulously rewarding keynote, we will take time to reflect on the auld lang syne and consider what went well and what we want to improve.  We will then focus forward a
nd make a plan along with accompanying resolutions for an amazing new school year. At the end of the keynote, there will be a dramatic and fun countdown as we collectively embrace a new year full of possibilities.

English language learners (ELLs) compel teachers to consider how their students can succeed in the delicate balancing act of acquiring both content and language. Engaging in the process of sheltered English instructional scaffolds, teachers learn to thoughtfully plan their lessons complete with visuals, meaningful tasks, and effective learning strategies in a culturally responsive and collaborative environment. Teachers of ELLs become stronger, more creative, and more competent as they rise to the challenge of creating equitable access to education for all of their students.

Effectively and strategically integrating a diversity of learners into the school community requires an understanding of and an appreciation for students’ backgrounds.  During this intensive and highly interactive class, you will learn how to KYS – Know Your Students.   You will learn how to build strong relationships with your students, which will in turn allow for more
precise differentiation of instruction, which will in turn lead to greater learning and academic success for ALL of your students.

KYS topics to be explored:

  • Factors affecting second language acquisition
  • English language learner typologies
  • Stages of Second Language Acquisition
  • Stages of Culture Shock
  • The Cultural Iceberg

It’s been a year. Actually, it’s been at least a couple of years. We’ve been to hell and now we’re back; some more than others, for so many reasons. And now what? Where do we go from here?

The trials, the tribulations, and the unexpected moments of joy and hope, all serve to inform us as we set the course for a new normal. What does it mean to be educated? How do we want to educate our students, given what we have learned in the past 2 years?

During this highly interactive keynote, together we will redefine what it means to be educated and how we plan to walk our talk.

  • What will be the important routines and procedures we establish in our classrooms to support the new normal?
  • How will we promote student agency in a generation of students who are aching to be seen and heard?
  • How will we leverage the art of collaboration to strengthen student voice?
  • How will we balance rigor with compassion?

Throughout the keynote, participants will engage in small group conversations. We will harness those voices to create a district understanding of what we mean by ‘cultivating a new normal’. The keynote is designed to challenge and stretch educators’ thinking, creating a new space and place in which they can reflect, adjust, and move forward.

Inspired by the process, and committed to the outcome, educators will say, “We are ready and excited to begin this new era in education.”

Families come in all shapes and sizes. Family means different things to different people. Family can be complicated and messy and lovely and beautiful all at the same time. When we talk about how the district is like a family, what do we really mean? It depends on our definition of family.

During this highly interactive keynote, together we will explore the concept of family as it pertains to the district. As educators, what are our roles as family members? What are the roles of the students and their families as family members? What are our expectations of ourselves and each other as family members? What are the non-negotiables of being a family member, e.g. tolerance, respect, equity, sensitivity, awareness? And what do we mean by those non-negotiables in the context of our district?

Throughout the keynote, participants will engage in small group conversations and we will leverage the magic of technology to harness those voices to create a district understanding of what we mean by family. The keynote is designed to challenge and stretch educators’ thinking, creating a new space and place in which they can reflect, adjust, and move forward toward the goal of becoming authentically inclusive members of the district family.

Inspired by the process, and committed to the outcome, educators will be ready to walk the talk when they say, “We are proud to be a part of the Hanover Park Regional High School District family!”

What Our Clients Say


“I recently contracted Susana Matos-Kruck, Up The Bar Consulting, to design and lead an intensive three-day series of cohort classes for 120 middle and high school teachers and administrators, focusing on the effective integration of English Learners (EL) into the mainstream classroom. Not only did Susana deliver on key strategies that could be readily implemented in the classroom, she also inspired teachers to authentically reflect upon their current practices in order to make room for improvement. It was apparent to all participants that Susana is passionate about the field of education and that she is committed to excellence and equity in education for all students. Her passion, combined with her wealth of experience in working with diverse populations, allows her to lead educators to ‘Up The Bar’ on the quality of education they deliver to their students. I look forward to a sustained partnership with Susana as she continues to cultivate a culture of success and possibility in our school district.”

Pedro J. Ruiz, Ph.D, Supervisor Bilingual, ESL and World Languages at Irvington School District, New Jersey

I highly recommend Ms. Susana Matos-Kruk for presenting PD in your education system. She worked with us in Garfield and all teachers and administrators found her to be an extremely engaging, dynamic, intelligent, interesting, and high energy person. We found her to be highly knowledgeable on the subject matter. She kept the momentum going throughout the day by using different activities to assure all staff were participating at all times, and moved smoothly through the activities so there was no down time. There was whole group instruction and small group work. She switched the groups up so there was more interaction among the staff. Teachers willingly moved out of their comfort zone and went with the flow of activities; Ms. Matos-Kruck is very personable and invites you to participate in a meaningful manner. She makes you feel that you want to be involved. Ms. Matos-Kruck designed her presentation to meet the needs of our district in every detail. She will do the same for you. All teacher surveys on her PD came back rating her as highly effective. There aren’t enough superlatives to describe Ms. Matos-Kruck and I look forward to working with her again. She will be highly effective in your education system too!

Geri Ledford, Federal Programs Supervisor at Garfield Board of Education

Over the past 6 years, I have had the pleasure of working with Susana in two different capacities: first, when I was a special education teacher and then when I was promoted to assistant principal. While I was teaching, Susana challenged my thinking and my approach to education. We often engaged in thoughtful debate about the nature of educational equity and how we could best position ourselves to deliver a quality education to all students. In my role as assistant principal, Susana provided me with valuable support and insight as she continued to coach and train my staff of teachers. I find her opinions interesting, thought provoking and intellectually challenging. I greatly value the times we have shared as they have helped shape me.  I recommend Susana wholeheartedly because I am confident that she will be successful at anything she chooses to accomplish. Please feel free to contact me with any questions regarding this matter.

Miguel A. Frias, Assistant Principal at Passaic Board of Education

I was lucky enough to begin my teaching career six years ago in a district rich in diversity, and full of opportunities to do my best work as an educator. Much of my success in the classroom is a result of the many strategies Susana Matos-Kruk helped me to develop. She is passionate about her work, and is dedicated to encouraging educators to “up the bar” so that students can reach their full academic potential.
Susana Matos-Kruk coached me to apply differentiated instruction across curricular areas. She also helped me to understand how to use data to drive instruction in my classroom, and to use data to perform interventions. Her workshop on reciprocal teaching strategies has helped me reinforce strong reading comprehension skills in my classroom. Her workshops are engaging and purposeful. Our district has greatly benefited from the work of Susan Matos-Kruck.

Nicole Ward, Elementary school teacher, Passaic Public Schools

Susana was a great help to me and all the teachers of the Passaic School District…She is up to date on the current cutting edge issues in education and any new teaching techniques in education. Susana is here to help mentor and advise any teacher at any point in their career. She puts the kids first. I’m proud to work by her side.”

Phil Delzotto, Varsity Football Offensive Coordinator / Linebackers Coach at Belleville High School District

I am now retired from teaching, but I had the pleasure of attending several workshops given by Susana Matos-Kruck, before I retired. I am sure there may be some retired teachers that would leave the benefits, and knowledge gained through her workshops behind, but I am not one of those people. I still have a love of teaching in my heart, and her workshops will always be in my heart, and mind as well. While teaching, like most teachers, I attended workshop after workshop, but Susana’s workshops were always something to look forward to. She was not only there to give workshops, but to listen to our problems, and concerns, as well. They were always interesting, and sometimes entertaining. Although I taught for almost 30 years, I always left her workshops feeling like I learned something new. A new approach, or strategy to help my teaching, and as a result help my students learn, most importantly of all. I highly recommend Susana Matos-Kruck to any school, and teacher to help teachers teach more effectively.

Susan Yedwab, Retired teacher, Passaic Public Schools

“Susana Matos-Kruck came to Passaic High School to address our need to improve Climate & Culture. The staff was extremely receptive to the content of her information due, primarily, to her professional delivery of instruction and the respect and understanding with which she worked with the staff. Susana not only has the depth of knowledge but possesses the ability to deliver the material.”

Joanne Czap, School Improvement Plan/Data Coordinator at Passaic High School