Conversations Worth Having for Educators in the Midst of COVID-19

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March 24, 2020 @ 9:00 am - April 1, 2020 @ 10:00 am PDT - Five 1-Hour Virtual Webinar Series

Schedule of Virtual Series:

Session 1: Fostering Connectivity – Tuesday, March 24, 2020 @ 9:00-10:00am PT
Session 2: Asking Generative Questions – Wednesday, March 25, 2020 @ 9:00-10:00am PT
Session 3: Positive Framing for Solutions – Thursday, March 26, 2020 @ 9:00-10:00am PT
Session 4: Strategic Conversations for Educators and those in Leadership – Tuesday, March 31, 2020 @ 9:00-10:00am PT
Session 5: Moving Our Conversations Forward – Wednesday, April 1, 2020 @ 9:00-10:00am PT

Please note: ALL virtual sessions will be recorded and saved for participants who are unable to attend a scheduled webinar. Links to the recordings will be provided so that participants can view/listen to the recording at a time that works best for them.


Step into your capacity to reinvent connection with students and families during this shift in our education paradigm.

Connection. As educators, our relationships with students and their families form the foundation of learning and growth. Our ability to connect with them is challenged as our schools close and our communities grapple with the difficulties presented by calls for physical distancing. We may be struggling to make sure our students and families:

  • Have the supplies they need;
  • Are able to make connections to previous learning;
  • Know how to navigate the learning management systems we’re employing; and
  • Receive the caring and support offered when they were present in our classrooms.

As we deal with these and other concerns, there is an opportunity to reinvent what connections with students and families look like. This series of free webinars is grounded in Appreciative Inquiry and will teach participants about two simple practices for supporting productivity, engagement, positivity, and connection.


You will walk away prepared to:

  • Understand the mind science of connection.
  • Fuel meaningful engagement.
  • Communicate successfully with students and families.
  • Ask questions that deepen connections among students and with curriculum.
  • Frame complex problems to inspire creativity and innovative solutions.


To help you prepare for this webinar series, we encourage you to download your conversational toolkits and the Preface and Introduction to Conversations Worth Having: Using Appreciative Inquiry to Fuel Productive and Meaningful


Webinar series will be delivered and recorded using Zoom. You can participate in the webinar series using any device: computer, tablet, or mobile. Please participate using the dial-in method you feel most comfortable with. You can find the virtual log-in information below:

Meeting ID: 199 170 376
Join Zoom Meeting:
One tap mobile: +13126266799,,199170376# US (Chicago) OR +19292056099,,199170376# US (New York)

Event Registration

Select the number of individuals that will be attending the event using the plus(+) and minus(-) buttons below. Make sure to choose the registration type that is applicable for you and your group. Once selected, click on the "Register Now" button to continue.

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This event is full and registration has closed. Please contact us to be placed on the wait list.

Registration Includes

Registration includes:

  • Five 60-minute webinars with applied learning and practice after each session.
  • Access to recorded webinar sessions (should you miss a session or wish to revisit content covered)

AI Practitioners

Primary Speaker:

Michael Emmart’s passion is helping others engage in Conversations Worth Having that connect them and their teams with best practices and improved outcomes.  He has worked with leadership teams at nonprofit agencies, schools, county departments of social services, organizations serving justice-involved youth, and large state agencies. He specializes in strategic and program improvement planning, utilizing positive psychology and appreciative inquiry to inform this work. Michael is also an accomplished trainer and workshop facilitator, having translated the lessons of Conversations into workshops for caseworkers and teachers.  He is really excited about his most recent project, the development of an Appreciative Self-Care workshop for social workers, case managers, and first responders.

Michael is a Sr. Education Specialist at the Research Foundation for SUNY’s Professional Development Program (PDP), housed at the University of Albany’s Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy.  He is “on loan”, so-to-speak, to the state’s Office of Children and Family Services, where he serves as a process improvement consultant and subject matter expert.  He is also a professor of Child and Family Development at American Military University and was previously on faculty at the State University of New York at Cortland.  Michael began his child welfare career in 1997, working at a nonprofit agency serving youth who had engaged in sexually harmful behaviors.  He then spent more than a decade with the New York State Department of Juvenile Justice and Opportunities for Youth, where he supervised case management and counseling services for youth adjudicated for placement by the family court system. He took his present position in 2017 and, in 2018, received an Innovation Award for developing a process that helped agencies organize their response to state and federal program evaluations during creation of required program improvement plans.

Primary Speaker:

Jodi Emmart is a fourth-grade teacher within the Auburn Enlarged City School District, located within the beautiful Finger Lakes Region of Central New York.  She earned a Master of Science in Teaching degree in Elementary Education from SUNY Cortland and has taught PreK, Kindergarten, Second and Fourth grade students as a regular classroom teacher. She has also worked as a teacher within the Academic Intervention Supports framework with K-6 students in both ELA and math.  She is passionate about fostering a community atmosphere within her classroom and helping her students, their families and her school to work together to offer all students an enriching academic environment and experience.

Jodi spent several years on the executive board of her school’s Parent Teacher Organization and continues to support their efforts as the teacher liaison.  She is currently enjoying the opportunity to collaborate with other teachers and administrators within the AECSD on the Digital Teaching and Learning committee, creating a vision and resources for staff, students and families for digital learning.

Guest Contributor:

Cheri Torres understands that relational dynamics inform any group or organization endeavor; therefore, she works with leaders and teams to co-create positive, strength-based relationships capable of achieving extraordinary outcomes. She emphasizes excellence and success as an evolving target that is best achieved through continuous appreciation and inquiry. Working with Cheri means learning to use a simple set of tools and practices that generate human connection, positive relational dynamics, broad-based inclusion, creativity, collaborative action, and collective impact.

Cheri also partners with communities and organizations for whole systems change and strategic planning, bringing all stakeholders together for planning, design and collaborative action.  She has worked across all sectors: education, social profit/NGOs, government and corporate, supporting their capacity for learning and innovation, shared leadership, teamwork and collaboration. She has trained thousands of trainers and teachers in the use and practice of Experiential Learning, Appreciative Inquiry and other strength-based practices with a particular focus on leadership development, teamwork, creativity, and collaboration. In addition to North America, she has worked in Mexico, South America, Europe and India.

Guest Contributor:

Jackie Stavros’ passion is working with others to discover their strengths, identify opportunities and create a plan with meaningful results for positive change! She is internationally recognized for her creation of SOAR, a positive approach to strategic thinking, planning, and leading that focuses on strengths, opportunities, aspirations and results in strategic conversations. The heart of her work is using Appreciative Inquiry (AI), one of the most popular approaches to positive change – that is bringing out the best in people, their organizations, and communities to fuel conversations worth having that produce meaningful engagement and results. She has presented her research and work in over 25 countries.

Jackie has been integrating strengths-based, whole system practices into her research, teaching, training, coaching, and consulting work to strengthen relationships, impact performance, and create positive change. She works with organizations in leadership development, team-building, and strategic planning. She helps organizations identify and articulate their values, vision, mission, strategy, and strategic initiatives and build collaborative teams and communities for results-oriented action. She has worked across all sectors including for-profit, non-profit, government, and a wide spectrum of industries.

Event Cost

This event is FREE for all who wish to participate. Space for this webinar series is limited to the first 100 people to register.


Five 1-Hour Virtual Webinar Series


Melissa Robaina – Center for Appreciative Inquiry
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