Signature Classes

Our Signature Classes may be booked as: Interactive Keynotes, stand-alone workshops, or as part of a more rigorous institute across the school year. 

​Everyone says they embrace diversity, but do they really? What exactly does ‘embracing diversity’ mean? How can school leaders authentically assert that diversity is acknowledged and respected in their school community? It’s much more complicated than hanging a few colorful posters around the school buildings. In order to accept the diversity that surrounds us, participants will explore the deep cultural values and attitudes that drive how we judge and interact with others. Participants will emerge from this class with more questions than answers. Questions upon which they must critically reflect, and then take back to their districts to embark on an honest journey toward creating a truly inclusive school community. Participants will gain tremendous insight into how they perceive themselves and others, and how that perception translates into building a school culture that is authentically inclusive.
You read that correctly.  Don’t tell your kids they are smart.  And stop with the stickers, trophies, and extrinsic motivators that have contributed to a generation of entitled and disillusioned young people who lack mastery, purpose, and passion.  Let’s focus together on what really matters:  learning!  Let’s create a culture and climate in our schools wherein students will think strategically and thoughtfully as they take risks in their learning and embrace challenges in order to realize their full potential. Participants will learn how to promote a growth mindset and a strong sense of efficacy.  Participants will be inspired to cultivate an authentic learning culture wherein faculty and students will become intrinsically motivated to learn through mastery, purpose, and passion.
Student Learning Standards focus on the critical thinking, problem solving, and analytical skills students require in order to be college and career ready. In order for students to excel at these standards, they must become self-regulated learners. That is, students must possess the learning strategies to become autonomous, self-efficacious thinkers who know how to plan and set goals, monitor and adjust their strategies, and evaluate their outcomes. ‘Spoon feeding in the long run teaches us nothing but the shape of the spoon.’ – E.M. Forster

Participants in this class will discover the cycle of the self-regulated learner, and how a thoughtful, strategic approach to learning will empower them and their school community to become critical thinkers and problem solvers who are intrinsically motivated to succeed. Principals will become models of self-regulated learning as they plan and set goals, monitor and adjust their strategies, and evaluate their outcomes.

Authentic access to academic language is critical to the success of English language learners.  Moving beyond tips, make-and-take strategies, and vocabulary games, educators who learn how to create meaningful academic language objectives at the word, sentence, and discourse levels create optimal learning environments wherein all of their students will access content concepts, and the language associated with that content.  During this class, participants will understand the value of academic language objectives and they will engage in the how-to for creating academic language objectives, including the value of differentiated scaffolding supports.

Teaching for biliteracy focuses on the strategic and thoughtful ‘bridging’ between the Spanish and English languages.  It is based on the premise that the native Spanish language deserves to be nurtured and fortified before language learners can effectively ‘bridge’ into English.  Once they are ready, these learners engage in a metalinguistic contrastive analysis wherein they learn to appreciate the similarities and differences between their two languages.  Teaching for biliteracy solidifies a Spanish foundation in order to more successfully build English language acquisition. As a result of this class, participants will learn how to engage in a bridge between Spanish and English, with a strategic focus on the metalinguistic contrastive analysis.  Participants will be engaged in a highly interactive and dynamic series of learning scenarios wherein they will be taught, and then they will engage in, the essentials of teaching for biliteracy.

​In this compelling six-part program, participants will collaboratively explore current realities and data related to foreign language teaching, receive insight into current best practices and efficient program design and implementation, and understand current policy, with recommendations for elevating L2 status, accessibility and value in the classroom and for the workplace. Micro-session topics include:

  • Shifting the student narrative
  • Securing student/family buy-in
  • Differentiating through best practices
  • Leveraging 21st Century technology tools
  • Considering program design and efficiency
  • Preparing for success in the workplace
Has ‘data’ become the new four-letter word in education?  Are you currently experiencing death-by-data? Why not consider placing the data in the hands of those who can make the most use of it? The students!  Together we will explore how students can ‘own’ their learning, becoming self-regulated learners who know how to set goals, track their progress, and critically evaluate their outcomes through the strategic analysis of their own data.  We will authentically align with the NJ Student Learning Standards, as we motivate students to cite evidence of growth based upon their own performance and develop perseverance as they develop a growth mindset.  Designed for administrators, this class will ‘up the bar’ by focusing on the most important component to student achievement: the student.
Let’s get right to the point:  During our class, you will explore what is urgent and what is important, what adds value, and what wastes time.  You will assess what your time management style is at the moment.  You will learn strategies for effectively managing tasks, delegating when appropriate, and breaking down larger tasks into more manageable bite-size chunks.  You will decide upon routines and habits that will propel you forward, at work and at home.  You will learn how to invest time now in order to save time later.  It’s a quality of life issue that you deserve to explore, not only for your sake and for your family’s sake, but for the sake of the school district in which you serve.

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
​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. As they experience the sheltered English instructional scaffolds, participants will emerge with a renewed appreciation for the richness that results from cultural diversity.

Sheltered English Instruction

General education teachers learn how to effectively and efficiently integrate English language learners into their classroom communities!

Designed to establish a learning community through sustained and consistent engagement throughout the year, building trust and laying the groundwork in areas that are critical to the success of all students.  Three full-day classes for cohorts, tailored to thoroughly investigate how to strategically and thoughtfully plan for instruction so that all students have equitable access to content while developing all of their language skills. Emphasis is placed on implementation as homework will be assigned, and email communication will be encouraged between classes to maintain momentum and accountability.

Administrators will learn the ‘Look Fors’ when observing students who are actively engaged in their learning due to the conscientious implementation of highly effective strategies by their inspired teachers. During a full day of training, administrators will adjust their collective lens as they gain clearer insight into how a classroom infused with sheltered English instructional strategies will operate, so that they may provide support and validation to teachers as they Up the Bar on the quality of education all of their students deserve.

The goal is to provide the teachers with the in-class support and on-the-job learning required to implement the training they have received to a high degree of fidelity. This is the follow-through that is critical to the success of professional development. It is a commitment to work closely with teachers to guide them on their journey to create truly inclusive learning environments. Interaction may include modeling, co-teaching, observations, and real-time feedback on strategic implementation in the classrooms. Occasionally, administrators may be invited to join so that they may sharpen the collective lens through which teachers are observed and expectations are aligned.

Day One
1a. How Well Do You KYS (Know Your 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

1b. Comprehensible Input
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. As they experience the sheltered English instructional scaffolds, participants will emerge with a renewed appreciation for the richness that results from cultural diversity.


Day Two

​2a. Creating & Implementing Authentic Academic Language Objectives

Authentic access to academic language is critical to the success of English language learners. Moving beyond tips, make-and-take strategies, and vocabulary games, educators who learn how to create meaningful academic language objectives at the word, sentence, and discourse levels create optimal learning environments wherein all of their students will access content concepts, and the language associated with that content. During this class, participants will understand the value of academic language objectives and they will engage in the how-to for creating academic language objectives, including the value of differentiated scaffolding supports.

2b. Collaborate Like A Champ

When students are provided with the opportunity to process and engage in critical thinking and problem solving with their peers, they are afforded the opportunity to process their thoughts in their own native language and then take the time to consider how to most effectively articulate those ideas in English. This kind of oral rehearsal serves all students, but it is especially important for English language learners. Collaborative learning fosters a culture and climate wherein a community of learners engage together and learn together.
The five essential elements of collaborative learning to be explored:

  • Positive interdependence
  • Face-to-face interaction
  • Individual accountability
  • Social skills
  • Team processing

Day Three

3a. Building Background
Students come to school with a rich and wide array of background experiences and knowledge. The teacher considers how to leverage those experiences to increase everyone’s learning potential. Additionally, critical background information must be provided in order for student to more successfully engage in and learn new material. A plethora of strategies that may be used for this purpose will be explored during this class. An emphasis will be placed on the authentic and multimodal approach to how students learn academic language for the purpose of academic discourse.

3b Authentic and Equitable Assessment

​Students who are acquiring content while developing the English language are accountable for learning the content concepts, but must be provided the language support they need to articulate what they have learned. That is, the curriculum should not be watered down for them, given that they are cognitively capable of learning the concepts, but linguistically may not have the English language to express themselves. Therefore, teachers need to consider options for assessing students’ knowledge and skills using the English language they know. A variety of assessment options and opportunities will be explored during this class, including how all students can take ownership of their learning process by tracking their own data and learning.

Student Ownership

An Academic Approach to Social-Emotional Learning

Educators explore how students can ‘own’ their learning, becoming self-regulated learners who know how to set goals, track their progress, and critically evaluate their outcomes through the strategic analysis of their data.

As teachers learn how to transform their learning environments to optimize student growth and learning, it is critical that administrators understand the process so that they may support their teachers’ and students’ efforts. It is highly recommended that administrators receive a half day overview training that will underscore why and how the initiative promotes student achievement, and the role that the administrators play in fostering a schoolwide culture and climate that supports growth mindset, intrinsic motivation, and self-regulated learning.

Moreover, to authentically engage in these transformative practices, a family workshop that is designed for students and their families would build a bridge into the community, so that student support is aligned from school to home. This kind of wrap-around component to the initiative will insure that students are being supported on all sides. The greater the support, the stronger the students.

Developing a growth mindset means that learners will be prepared to take academic risks, learn from their mistakes, and be comfortable stepping out of their comfort zones. Teachers will clearly understand what is growth mindset, how its development increases student confidence and perseverance, and how to implement research-based methods to instill a growth mindset in their students.
Learning Outcomes

  • Differentiate growth vs fixed mindset
  • How productive struggle promotes growth
  • Mindset Mondays to Feedback Fridays
  • Anything worth having is worth working for
  • Goal setting through data analysis
  • Tools for fostering a growth mindset culture and climate

When students engage in tasks that promote mastery, autonomy, and purpose, they become considerably more invested in the learning process. Teachers will learn how to integrate the six Cs of intrinsic motivation (choice, challenge, control, collaboration, consequences, and constructed meaning), which creates a positive culture that values learning for its own sake.
Learning outcomes:

  • Differentiate between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation
  • Value of autonomy, mastery and purpose
  • Six Cs of Intrinsic Motivation
  • Student ownership of the learning process
  • Tracking personal progress through data analysis
  • Tools for cultivating an intrinsically motivated culture and climate

When students know how to set their own goals, apply learning strategies they have been taught, and then carefully evaluate/adapt their outcomes, then they have acquired a continuous improvement model that will serve them well for the rest of their lives. Teachers will learn how to guide students to become self-regulated
learners through a process of metacognitive awareness, strategic planning, and thoughtful engagement.
Learning Outcomes:

  • Metacognitive awareness
  • Value of knowing how to learn
  • Continuous improvement cycle of the self-regulated learner
  • Critical thinking and reflection
  • Using data analysis to inform learning opportunities
  • Tools for developing a self-regulated learning climate and culture

Teaching for Biliteracy

Bilingual teachers learn how to leverage their students’ linguistic resources to become biliterate, bicultural, and bilingual!

Teaching for biliteracy focuses on the strategic and thoughtful ‘bridging’ between the Spanish and English languages. It is based on the premise that the native Spanish language deserves to be nurtured and fortified before language learners can effectively ‘bridge’ into English. Once they are ready, these learners engage in a metalinguistic contrastive analysis wherein they learn to appreciate the similarities and differences between their two languages. Teaching for biliteracy solidifies a Spanish foundation in order to more successfully build English language acquisition.

Designed to establish a learning community through sustained and consistent engagement throughout the year, building trust and laying the groundwork in areas that are critical to the success of all students.  Three full-day classes for cohorts, tailored to thoroughly investigate how to strategically and thoughtfully plan for instruction so that all students have equitable access to content while developing all of their language skills. Emphasis is placed on implementation as homework will be assigned, and email communication will be encouraged between classes to maintain momentum and accountability.

Administrators will learn the ‘Look Fors’ when observing students who are actively engaged in their learning due to the conscientious implementation of highly effective strategies by their inspired teachers. During a full day of training, administrators will adjust their collective lens as they gain clearer insight into how a classroom infused with sheltered English instructional strategies will operate, so that they may provide support and validation to teachers as they Up the Bar on the quality of education all of their students deserve.

The goal is to provide the teachers with the in-class support and on-the-job learning required to implement the training they have received to a high degree of fidelity. This is the follow-through that is critical to the success of professional development. It is a commitment to work closely with teachers to guide them on their journey to create truly inclusive learning environments. Interaction may include modeling, co-teaching, observations, and real-time feedback on strategic implementation in the classrooms. Occasionally, administrators may be invited to join so that they may sharpen the collective lens through which teachers are observed and expectations are aligned.

Learning the Language of Math

Educators approach the teaching and learning of mathematics through an equity lens that will honor and expand the perspectives of all students as they collaboratively engage in the learning process.

Cognizant of the impact and consequence that mathematics has on their students’ abilities to problem solve and think critically, districts aspire to create equitable learning environments that build upon and leverage the diversity of their students’ funds of knowledge. Approaching the teaching and learning of mathematics through an equity lens will honor and expand the perspectives of all students as they collaboratively engage in the learning process.

​As a result of this professional development series, teachers will be prepared to:

Develop their students’ mathematical language and discourse which will stretch their conceptual thinking and contribute to greater problem solving and critical thinking skills.

    1. Vocabulary strategies using multiple modalities and language domains (reading, writing, listening, speaking) for key academic terms.
    2. Language development supports such as graphic organizers for conceptual access and sentence frames for oral and written expression during application of math concepts learned.

Cultivate a climate and culture in which students can respectfully collaborate, thereby strengthening their ability to process and articulate their learning.

    1. Strategies for building background and honoring students’ funds of knowledge through anticipation guides and alphabet boxes.
    2. Collaborative strategies designed for students to respectfully and equitably engage in academic conversations with each other, such as gallery walks and shared Google Doc tasks.

Equip students with critical learning strategies, such as advance organizers, designed to increase their capacity to own their learning processes.

    1. Cognitive strategies, such as video walks with advanced organizers to optimize comprehension and note-taking skills.
    2. Metacognitive strategies, such as goal-setting and data-tracking, to heighten students’ awareness of their own progress.
    3. Learning strategies, such as student-created anchor charts/cheat sheets, strengthen math fluency and students’ comfort level with engaging with mathematical concepts and language.

Professional Growth That Delivers Results

Get in touch with us today and let’s start transforming your staff and students for growth

Book A Consultation

What Our Clients Say

WE ARE GRATEFUL FOR THE LOVE

“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