2019 Literacy Retreat

2019 Literacy Retreat

Serious learning + serious fun = The Literacy Retreat

The 2019 Smekens Literacy Retreat is a professional “getaway” for teachers…a time to rethink and recharge…a chance to learn best practice literacy strategies that can be applied right away. During six powerful sessions over two days, attendees will acquire both the tools and the motivation to address some of today's most pressing K-12 literacy challenges.

Why attend the Literacy Retreat?

It's Practical: This is no pie-in-the-sky, theory workshop. The Retreat offers down-to-earth, practical strategies that can be applied right away.
It's Relevant: Teachers will walk away with a clearer understanding of today's literacy standards and strategies to achieve those requirements in the classroom.
It's Applicable: Retreat topics apply to teachers from elementary through high school. Each session includes skills, strategies, and examples from a broad range of grade levels.
It's Inspiring: The Literacy Retreat inspires teachers and provides them with the tools and confidence to implement new ideas within their own classroom instruction.
Over the course of two days, attendees collect brand new strategies for teaching reading and writing during six distinct sessions. Each day will include a continental breakfast and a lunch buffet.

Pick your destination!

This year's Literacy Retreat will be offered at three unique venues, perfectly suited to provide a balance of learning, relaxation, and fun.

French Lick Springs Hotel—June 11-12, 2019

Established in the mid 1800s, French Lick Springs Hotel attracted guests from around the world to experience the "miracle waters" of its nearby sulfur springs. Now this classic hotel and its beautiful gardens have been restored to their famed charm and grandeur.

Each guest room includes cable TV, free wireless Internect, in-room coffee, a hair dryer, iron and ironing board. Guests can choose from 6 different on-site dining venues ranging in style from upscale to burgers. Whether you want to spend your free time relaxing or participating in activities, the hotel has something for everyone, including a fitness center, bowling alley, spa, indoor and outdoor pools, gift shops, golf courses, historic tours, riding stables, and a 24-hour casino.

French Lick Springs Hotel
8670 West State Road 56
French Lick, IN 47432

All reservations must be made by calling the Resort directly at (888) 936-9360. When making reservations by phone, mention Smekens Education Solutions, Inc. at the time of the reservation to receive the special group rate. To secure discount room rates, reservations must be made at least 30 days in advance.

French Lick Springs Hotel
8670 West State Road 56
French Lick, IN 47432
(888) 936-9360

Drury Lane Conference Center—June 18-19, 2019

Home to one of the area's premier theatres, the Drury Lane Conference Center is conveniently located in Chicago's western suburbs, just minutes away from O'Hare International and Midway airports.

The conference hotel, the Hilton Suites, is just a few steps from the Drury Lane Conference Center. The hotel offeres comfortable and spacious two-room suite accomodations with a private bedroom and a separate living area. The living area includes a TV, sofa bed, and a large work desk, as well as a wet bar with a microwave and refrigerator. The private bedroom includes one king-sized bed or two queen-sized beds and another TV.

Drury Lane Conference Center
100 Drury Lane
Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181


Hilton Chicago/Oak Brook Suites
10 Drury Lane
Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181
(800) 445-8667
Hilton Garden Inn
1000 Drury Lane
Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181
(630) 941-1177

Make reservations online to secure the discounted rate. Use the customized links for reservations with Hilton Chicago/Oak Brook Suites or Hilton Garden Inn. Or call to receive a room discount using the group code SES. Reservations must be made at least 30 days in advance.

Shipshewana Event Center—June 25-26, 2019

Located in the heart of Indiana's Amish country, the Shipshewana Event Center is also at the heart of over 150 retail shops. The small town of Shipshewana attracts half a million visitors a year and is home to one of the largest flea markets in the country.
Lodging at the Blue Gate Garden Inn, located right next door to the Shipshewana Event Center, includes all the amenities you'd expect, along with old-fashioned Amish country charm. All overnight guests may choose to enjoy the indoor pool and hot tub, fitness center, arcade, basketball court, and outdoor patio and fire pit. The Inn features an expansive breakfast buffet that includes a made-to-order omelet option. In the evening, guests can find a sweet treat at The Ice Creamery located in the lobby. Each room includes a television, coffee maker, microwave, refrigerator, iron and ironing board, hairdryer, full length mirrors, and free wireless Internet.

Shipshewana Town Event Center
760 S. Van Buren Street
Shipshewana, IN 46565
Blue Gate Garden Inn
105 E. Middlebury Street
Shipshewana, IN 46565
(888) 447-4725 | (260) 768-4725

To secure discount room rates, reservations must be made at least 30 days in advance.

“I felt like I was an honored guest from the moment I arrived.” ~ N. Murray
“I mean, really, the whole 2 days rocked.” ~ N. Hoffmeister
“I knew the date from last year’s Literacy Retreat! I mark my calendar early!” ~ C. Kramer
"You have this down to a science! I leave impressed each year!” ~ D. Toussaint
“No words! In awe each and every time. This is my fourth conference and it amazes me how well you keep us engaged, informed, inspired, & entertained. Can’t wait for 2017!” ~ C. Kenney
“I’m so impressed with every part of this Retreat! The content is full of ideas I can use starting Day 1! I’m usually never someone who wins giveaways, so the freebies are a super bonus for me!” ~ J. Walsh
“Very practical—we had 25 teachers attend and they ALL loved it!” ~ A. Schellenberg
“I am pretty sure I learned more in these 2 days than in 4 years of college.” ~ T. Almond
“I took something away from every session that was useful and I have been teaching 30+ years.” ~ E. Stone
"Each time I have attended, I leave feeling equipped, inspired, and committed to my craft & my kids’ learning. I’m sincerely appreciative of the work & the joy that is put into preparing this conference. Thank you.” ~ J. Turk

Call Smekens Education toll free to learn more.

(888) 376-0448

What's included in the registration fee?
Beyond two days of dynamic instruction, attendees also receive a full color packet of materials, private access to exclusive web resources, fun prizes, plus breakfast, lunch, and snacks each day.

NOTE: Lodging fees and tuition for graduate credit are not included with registration.

Dates & Locations

June 11-12, 2019

June 18-19, 2019

June 25-26, 2019

Target Audience

2-6 Classroom Teachers
6-12 Language Arts, Social Studies, & Science Teachers
2-12 Special Education Teachers
Literacy Coaches
Title I Teachers
ELL Teachers
Literacy Coordinators
Gifted & Talented Teachers
Principals & Assistant Principals

Who benefits the most?
English/Language Arts Teachers—grades 2-12!

Continuing Education Credits

Retreat attendees will receive a certificate of participation at the conclusion of the event and may utilize it to demonstrate participation in 11 hours of professional development (in Indiana, 11 PGPs). More information about how this workshop fulfills your state’s unique continuing education requirements can be found on our continuing education page.


Thanks to a partnership with the Regional Office of Education #19, all Illinois teachers attending our June 20-21 session in Chicago are eligible to earn state-approved continuing education credit for 11 hours of training. Smekens Education is an approved subcontractor for ROE #19.

Graduate Credit

For an additional fee, attendees may earn three nationally accredited graduate-level credits from the Midwest Teachers Institute and their university partners, Colorado State University-Pueblo.

These non-degree credits are designed for professional certification renewals and salary step increases. (Check with your district for approval prior to making a commitment.) Attendance at the Retreat, additional coursework related to the Retreat, and tuition of $375 is required for credit.