Professional Development Courses: Schedule

All three credit courses require 42 hours of instructional work throughout the duration of the course. Whether it is in-person class time or online alternative instruction, it is your opportunity to put your new knowledge into immediate practice. The frequency of online discussion/interaction with instructor and classmates is throughout the course. It is available 24 hours a day. For course descriptions simply click on the course name or visit our course catalog. 10 days prior to the course you will receive a Welcome email with directions and any other instructions for the course. If you have any questions about our scheduling please feel free to contact us at info@thomstecher.com.

Registration for courses closes 5 days before the first day of class or if the course is filled.

An official Grade Receipt Letter will be mailed by Neumann University at the conclusion of the course. Official transcripts can be ordered by visiting Transcripts and Forms page found here.

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Summer 2018

EDU 526 - Strength Based Living (Online)

  • Price: $800.00
  • Dates: May 14 – July 1, 2018
  • Professors: Pete Thompson
  • Location: Online. The course will be available 24 hours a day and Instructor interaction is throughout the course.

Registration period has ended.

Positive Psychology is built on three basic strands of research:
1. Positive experience/Positive emotions
2. Positive character traits or strengths
3. Positive social contexts that enable the first two strands to manifest

The goal of positive psychology has been to develop a “Science of Human Strengths” by empirically studying the attitudes and actions that lead to well-being and human thriving.  In effect, positive psychology studies what is right with people. This course will introduce the basic concepts for a positive psychology, and encourage the application of its proven methodologies.  Participants will be able to apply the principles and practices of positive psychology to their lives, including with their students and colleagues.

EDU 526 - Fostering Creative Thinking and Innovation in the Classroom

  • Price: $800.00
  • Dates: June 4 – July 15, 2018 In class meeting dates- 6/9, 6/27, 6/28, 7/3
  • Professors: Mark Eisenhuth and Chris Palochak
  • Location: Villa Maria, Malvern, PA

Registration period has ended.

This course is designed to demystify creativity and innovation. Students will discover that all human beings have a great deal of creative potential and will employ techniques for tapping into this immense, cognitive resource. Participants will research, learn, and discuss the most recent and widely accepted creativity theories: the thoughts of Keith Sawyer, Ronald Beghetto, and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi will be examined. Coursework will include students/instructors learning how to, and putting into practice: brainstorming techniques, team problem solving practices, and applying these methods to examine, dissect, and solve problems they face in life and in their classrooms. Through these highly engaging, interactive, and reflective activities we will change the way teachers and administrators view creativity, and ultimately reshape classroom pedagogy. Making American students more innovative and better problem solvers will be the end goal of the course experience.

EDU 526 - Understanding and Teaching Children Affected by Poverty (Online)

  • Price: $800.00
  • Dates: June 11 – July 22, 2018
  • Professors: Alex Fizz
  • Location: Online. The course will be available 24 hours a day.

This course is full. Please add yourself to the waiting list. If a spot opens, we will contact you.

This course is designed so that educators can better understand children coming from poverty. Poverty will be discussed from a variety of viewpoints; including: financial, emotional, mental, spiritual and physical. We will examine the critical role that support systems, resources, relationships and role models play as intervening factors. We will explore the hidden rules and habits of poverty situations. Some key beliefs of this course are: poverty is relative, poverty occurs in all races, economic class is a continuous line not a clear cut distinction, there is a difference between generational and situation poverty. Participants will experience research-based strategies to assist children affected by poverty.

EDU 526 - Educating the Traumatized Child

  • Price: $800.00
  • Dates: July 2 – August 12, 2018 In class meeting dates- 7/9, 7/10, 7/23, 7/24
  • Professors: Vicki Morgan
  • Location: Franklin Commons, Phoenixville, PA

This course is designed to explore the impact of traumatic experiences on children and adolescents across multiple stages of development.  In addition, this course will identify how traumatic life events can affect the ability for children to learn in a variety of settings.  Through journal articles, presentations, media resources, and discussion, students will not only gain a comprehensive understanding of the impacts of trauma, but also attain a variety of strategies on how to effectively contain and manage maladaptive emotional and physical responses in the school setting.  

EDU 526 - Diversity Awareness II: How To Make Positive Change (Online)

  • Price: $800.00
  • Dates: July 9 – August 19, 2018
  • Professors: Alex Fizz and Aaron Jones
  • Location: Online. The course will be available 24 hours a day and Instructor interaction is throughout the course.

This course is designed to take the knowledge and awareness gained in "Diversity Awareness in Education" and put it to use through action.  During this course, participants will not only get a deeper understanding of diversity but also be equipped with the tools to successfully facilitate everything from advanced classroom activities to district-wide policy implementation around the topic. Course participants will also leave with the ability to overcome challenges and setbacks that may arise, plus the knowledge and skills necessary to create constructive educational and social change on a scale that can extend beyond the classroom.  (Participants are NOT required to take Diversity Awareness in Education first).

EDU 526 - Brain Rules: How the Brain Learns

  • Price: $800.00
  • Dates: July 9 – August 19, 2018 In class meeting dates- 7/16, 7/17, 8/6, 8/7
  • Professors: Joe Brancoccio and Philip Hochman
  • Location: Chester County Intermediate Unit, Downingtown, PA

This course is designed to familiarize participants with twelve brain rules necessary for healthy brain activity.  When implemented in course instruction, these rules create an environment that allows optimum learning potential.  Awareness of the rules will enhance students’ ability to comprehend complex concepts.  Participants will learn the research behind each of the twelve rules, and personally explore and reflect on each one.  Ultimately they will discover how to positively impact instruction in the classes they teach in the future.  John Medina, the author of Brain Rules, and several other brain researchers’ findings will be cited throughout the course through the use of power point, video, and the course workbook.  Activities will be implemented throughout the course to enhance comprehension of the subject matter, and provide examples of classroom methods that may be used in the participants’ own classrooms.

EDU 526 - Mindfulness: Self-Care for Educators (Online)

  • Price: $800.00
  • Dates: July 9 – August 19, 2018
  • Professors: Danielle Nuhfer
  • Location: Online. The course will be available 24 hours a day and Instructor interaction is throughout the course.

This course is full. Please add yourself to the waiting list. If a spot opens, we will contact you.

Through the practice of Mindfulness, participants will be given time to pause and focus on their own care and well-being.  This class is designed for the self-care of educators.  This is an opportunity for educators to reduce stress, recharge, reflect, and reconnect.  This time together will be both educational and experiential.  This will be a shared experience of discovery, awareness, and care.  Self-care is at the heart of everything we do: the way we feel, think, and act.  When we take care of ourselves, we can be at our best, have more balance in our lives, and be more present for the people in our lives.  This enhanced presence allows us to better connect with our families, friends, colleagues, and students.   In addition, as adults, we want our children to lead healthy lives, to learn healthy coping skills, and to make healthy choices.  When we care for ourselves, we can be more present for our children and we can model healthy behaviors for them. Self-care allows us to better connect with ourselves and with the individuals who may cross our paths each moment of the day.  We can actively enhance our lives and the lives of others.

Fall 2018

EDU 526 - Effective Classroom Management Strategies and Skills (online)

  • Price: $800.00
  • Dates: September 3 – October 28, 2018
  • Professors: Larry Newman
  • Location: Online. The course will be available 24 hours a day.

This course has been developed for the classroom teacher. It combines theory and practical application. Participants will be challenged to share their gifts and talents with the class and also examine areas they feel they need to improve. Teaching the children of today in the classrooms of today within the culture of today demands a retooling of the concept of teacher. Teaching factual information is easy. The true question is – are the students’ actively learning what is being taught? In order to bridge the gap between teaching and learning it is critical teachers possess effective classroom management strategies and techniques. “Essential Strategies…..” explores every aspect of managing a classroom from kindergarten through grade twelve. We start with the basics and using a variety of teaching and learning strategies we allow participants to develop the necessary skills to be a more effective teacher.

EDU 526 - Essential Wellness: Compassion, Connection and Courage

  • Price: $800.00
  • Dates: September 3 – October 28, 2018. In person meeting dates- 9/8, 9/22, 10/6, 10/20
  • Professors: Thom Stecher and Jessie McFarland
  • Location: Downingtown, PA

This is an advance level wellness course. It is recommended that participants have attended “Wellness K-12: Practices, Research, and Strategies” and/or “Stress Management.” This course is for teachers, nurses, and all staff who want a deeper level of experience in self-reflection, self-awareness, courageous conversations, the willingness to explore vulnerability as the core of meaningful human experience and spirituality as the essence of wellness. Participants will be introduced to the essential need for play, authenticity, resilience, compassion, relationship, gratitude, trust and faith, creativity and calmness. We will experience how having meaningful work increases our longevity. Each class there will be time devoted to yoga, nutrition, exercise, meditation, and play.

EDU 526 - Diversity Awareness in Education (online)

  • Price: $800.00
  • Dates: September 17 – November 11, 2018
  • Professors: Alex Fizz
  • Location: Online. The course will be available 24 hours a day.

This course helps educators gain a greater awareness of the racial, ethnic, sexual orientation, gender, cultural, and all of the different forms of diversity present in their school, community, and beyond. Leaners will be involved in insightful and meaningful learning that will place a great emphasis on personal perspective and the perspectives of others.  This course will empower learners with the knowledge to create effective strategies for use in their curriculum, classroom, building, school, or community.

EDU 526 - Mindfulness in the Classroom

  • Price: $800.00
  • Dates: October 1 – November 25, 2018. In class meeting dates- 10/6, 10/20, 11/3, 11/17
  • Professors: Brian Aikens
  • Location: Glen Mills, PA

Mindfulness is defined by Jon Kabat­Zinn as “...awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in a present moment, non­judgmentally.” Mindfulness is a form of attention and awareness training that helps people relate more effectively to their experiences. It involves paying attention to thoughts, feelings, and body sensations in a way that increases awareness, acceptance, and self­compassion to help manage difficult experiences, and create space to make healthy choices. This course will take you through personal mindfulness meditation practices to enhance your awareness of emotions, behaviors, and thoughts. Students will practice formal and informal meditation practices and learn how to incorporate them into their life. Practices will include sitting and walking meditation, loving­kindness meditation, body awareness, methods for integrating awareness into ordinary activities, and explore emerging research on the beneficial effects of mindfulness for mental health.

The second half of the class will explore how to integrate mindful awareness practices into the classroom environment. We will examine how mindfulness affects the brain in students, core mindfulness skills, mindful movement activities, and guided relaxation practices. We will explore current mindfulness programs in education and practice implementing activities during our class time together. Topics covered will support students to build empathy, awareness, compassion, attention skills, impulse control, and emotional regulation.

This experiential course is designed for beginners, which means that no prior experience with meditation is necessary, but the course is also suitable for those with meditation experience who want to refine their skills and implementation practices in the classroom. 

EDU 526 - Safe Schools: Conflict Management, Anger Control, and Violence Prevention (Online)

  • Price: $800.00
  • Dates: October 1 – November 25, 2018
  • Professors: Scott Heydt
  • Location: Online. The course will be available 24 hours a day.

This course is designed to provide concrete, immediate, experiential, prevention/intervention skills to deal with the issues of conflict, anger, and violence. Conflict is constant in the lives of ever-changing human beings, but conflict, left unchecked, becomes unhealthy. Anger and subsequent violence have brought fear into our schools, classrooms, and our children’s daily experience. No one is perfect. It is unrealistic to think we can avoid conflict and anger completely. Furthermore, it is unrealistic to think these emotions cannot be harnessed in a safe, healthy manner. In this course, we will cognitively and experientially understand the “seeds” of violence and develop healthy individual and school system responses. 

EDU 526 - Foundations of Teaching Stress Management (Online)

  • Price: $800.00
  • Dates: October 15– December 9, 2018
  • Professors: Philip Hochman
  • Location: Online. The course will be available 24 hours a day.

This course focuses on 4 key concepts that are directly relevant and applicable to the daily stress levels you experience and observe in the classroom, in the school building and on a playing field.  To make connections to our very own students/athletes is paramount, crucial to the course as we delve into practical methods to apply and address stress intermittently and sometimes immediately. By increasing our knowledge of core information about stress and the daily intricacies in which it is embedded, we will have increased vision and be able to “see” where and when we can apply this knowledge to our students and their behaviors. As a result we can decrease stress in their lives, which means less stress for us. Through reading, sharing, research, collaboration and connecting we will connect course work to classroom application. We will build confidence in ourselves and our ability to see, apply and adapt to many student behaviors and classroom situations.  This course is meant to increase awareness, realize potential and help connect us with our students.  We will better listen to our students’ needs, learn from one another and communicate more effectively as we learn in a fun, safe, environment that promotes less stress.  By approaching the class with an open-mind and a willingness to “experiment” and partake in multiple engaging activities, one will be able to transfer these concepts and activities into one’s classroom. Ultimately, one will lower the stress levels of students and the environment as one experience more success and happiness in one’s career.

EDU 526 - Making Schools Safe for The Invisible Minority (LGBT Youth)

  • Price: $800.00
  • Dates: October 22 – December 16, 2018. In class meeting dates- 10/27, 11/10, 11/17, 12/8
  • Professors: Alex Fizz
  • Location: Downingtown, PA

As educators, we are honored and obligated to meet the needs of all students. Research shows students who are gay, lesbian or perceived to be gay or lesbian experience a greater risk of suicide, substance abuse, dropping out of school and are often targets of violence and bullying. This course is designed to help teachers understand the backgrounds and needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered students and staff. We will also develop strategies that insure a safe and productive environment for all students.

EDU 526 - An Educator's Guide to Support Parents/Guardians Dealing with At-Risk Youth Behaviors (Online)

  • Price: $800.00
  • Dates: October 22 – December 16, 2018
  • Professors: Larry Newman
  • Location: Online. The course will be available 24 hours a day.

One of the most important tasks teachers face is working to establish a positive, constructive relationship with the parents/guardians of their students. When there are no outside issues parent contacts and face to face meetings are straightforward.  What if the student, their child, is involved in any at-risk behaviors? What skill set is essential for the teacher to possess in order to aid the parent/guardian in helping their child be successful in school? This course addresses those key issues.  Specific strategies will be presented, discussed, practiced, and implemented allowing participants to gain those critical skills.