Keep your literacy initiative alive with ongoing support that addresses emerging needs

A single training session can result in improved instruction and achievement. But when the training is over, life happens and implementation can falter. With ongoing consulting from Smekens, you have a guide to keep you on track toward school-wide improvement.

Not ready yet? Keep scrolling to learn more!


So, what is customized consulting?

Beyond a traditional training session, our customized consulting utilizes a mix of on-site or virtual visits to guide teachers through a sequence of learning, practice, reflection, and guidance.

It takes more than a stand-alone training or a best-selling professional book to equip teachers with the tools they need to be successful. Our on-site and virtual consulting addresses your emerging needs and offers educators and teacher teams the customized support they need to impact achievement.

Benefits of on-site consulting

When teachers begin to implement new ideas learned during a previous training, it’s only natural that questions and roadblocks will arise. On-site and virtual consulting keeps the training alive while addressing questions and helping to overcome roadblocks.

Demonstrate a commitment to accountability by providing teachers with ongoing in-person support.
Engage the entire staff in PD focused on your school’s specific goals in reading and/or writing.
Equip every teacher with practical, classroom-tested strategies that can be used right away.
Demonstrate a unified commitment to building or district-wide literacy initiatives.
Educate the whole staff on how new training integrates with existing priorities.
Re-energize teachers by providing in-person professional development that is fun and engaging.
Provide an opportunity for teachers to ask questions, clarify understanding, and troubleshoot problems.
Offer job-embedded training and support in the context of your own school.
Foster teamwork and collegiality by growing as a learning community.
Make progress faster by building capacity among the entire staff.
Save the expense of sending large groups of teachers to far-away conferences.


How to plan your customized consultation

Great things can happen when a plan comes together. Here’s how to prepare for successful on-site or virtual professional development consultations:

1. Contact us to discuss your specific needs and receive a custom proposal.
2. Secure dates on the calendar and start planning the details with your Smekens consultant.
3. Host targeted on-site consultations to make implementation a priority.

Follow-up on the topics teachers need

First, identify your greatest need. Then, let Smekens create a customized consultation that addresses your specific goals.

Six Traits of Writing
Writer’s Workshop
Writing Mini-Lessons
Writing Process
Writing Assessment
Yearlong Writing Instruction
Constructed-Response Writing
Content-Area Writing
Grammar and Conventions
K-5 Reading Block
K-5 Literacy Stations
Small-Group Guided Reading
Comprehension Mini-Lessons
Yearlong Comprehension Instruction
Close Reading
Academic Vocabulary
Writing About Reading
Standardized Test Preparation

What other educators say

“Super engaging and informative! I can’t wait to put all of this into use!”

Jennifer Page

Woodford County Schools, Versailles, KY

“Awesome job sharing a mini-lesson! I went straight back to my class and copied it right away before I forgot any parts! Really liked how it could be transferred to different writing activities.”

Katie Gawron

Ardmore Elementary School, Addison, IL

“Great job meeting the needs of our team! So very grateful for your time & talents in growing our teaching/literacy skills!”

Amy Pettigrew

Churubusco Elementary School, Churubusco, IN

How much does customized consulting cost?

When a Smekens consultant spends a day with your school leading customized professional development for teachers, the costs vary according to these variables:

Daily Rate
Most Smekens consultants have a base rate of $2,300 per day. When it takes a full day to travel to your location from Indiana, the daily rate also applies to travel days.
Travel Expenses
When no air travel is required, the only costs are mileage and possibly overnight lodging. If we’re hopping on a plane, add in tickets, baggage, car rental, parking, and gas.
For no additional cost, a customized handout will be provided for every consultation. The handout can be distributed to teachers digitally, or it can be printed on your copy machine or ours (for a small fee).


Meet our school consulting team

Brady Smekens

Director of Professional Development

Kristina Smekens

Lead Consultant

Courtney Gordon

Literacy Consultant

Shona Lansdell

Literacy Consultant

Kristi McCullough

Literacy Consultant
Rachel Remenschneider

Rachel Remenschneider

Literacy Consultant

Top questions about customized school consulting

How do we schedule a series of on-site consultations?
Booking a Smekens consultant starts with an email or phone call to Brady Smekens, Director of Professional Development. Brady will spend time visiting with an instructional leader (often an administrator) to learn more about your instructional challenges and professional development goals. Then, Brady will identify the best-qualified consultant to support your teachers and find dates on the calendar that work for everyone.
How far in advance should we schedule on-site PD?
Occasionally, we can fill a last-minute professional development need, but in most situations we are scheduling our consultants to lead customized on-site PD 6-18 months in advance. This is especially true if you are embarking on a bigger initiative that requires several, carefully-scheduled on-site visits.
What happens after on-site dates are secured?
After a school has secured dates to provide on-site professional development for teachers, the Smekens team then drafts a contract that outlines the details, such as start/end times, itinerary, topics, etc. Once the contract is complete, the school contact person and the Smekens literacy consultant will work closely to plan for a powerful on-site experience.
What materials are required for Smekens on-site consulting?
Smekens deals in best-practice teaching strategies—not in boxed curriculums. For this reason, on-site consultations never require the purchase of any specific resources. Occasionally, we recommend resources to assist teachers with implementation, but it is never required.
How should we plan our time with the consultant?
We want to help you maximize the time with your Smekens consultant so that you can capture the most value for your investment. With that in mind, the day could include a full-day session with the entire staff, two half-day sessions with different groups, 60-90-minute grade-level rotations, before or after-school meetings, or whatever other option we can schedule in a typical school day.
Do you offer half-day sessions?
We are happy to lead a half-day professional development for teachers. However, we still have to charge the full-day rate due to the fact that we’ve dedicated the entire day to supporting your school. That said, there are lots of ways that we can impact teachers during the other half of the day, too, such as mini-lesson modeling, administrative planning, and so on.
What is mini-lesson modeling?
After we’ve taught educators about best-practice mini-lesson strategies in reading and writing, our consultants welcome the opportunity to model those same strategies in your classrooms. Known as mini-lesson modeling, this professional learning involves small teams of teachers watching as the consultant delivers a 10-15 minute mini-lesson with real kids. The mini-lesson model includes a consultant-led discussion before and after the lesson to pre-load and then debrief. Teachers love seeing how strategies come to life with their own students!
Will you do classroom observations?
There’s a lot that can be gained when an outside consultant conducts classroom observations and offers feedback. And while our consultants can perform this role, we prefer to postpone this type of support until several on-site visits have been made to your school. It’s important that we have built a solid trust among teachers so that observations will result in helpful coaching from the consultant, not critical evaluation.
When do we pay for our on-site PD?
We are happy to send a bill in advance, but, typically, we generate an invoice for on-site professional development on the day the consultation occurs. Schools and districts then have 30 days to submit payment by check. Credit card payments are not accepted for on-site consultations.
How do we get funding for customized on-site consulting?
Schools use a variety of funding sources to pay for on-site consulting from Smekens. Some of the more common funding sources include the general fund, Title I, Title II-A, private foundation grants, community organizations, parent groups, and more.
What is the cancellation policy?
After a date is officially secured to provide on-site PD at school, the Smekens team will draft a contract that outlines all the details. Once the contract has been signed by both parties, there is mutual agreement that the contract will not be cancelled. However, in the rare occasion that a cancellation is necessary, notification of the cancellation must occur 90 days prior to the scheduled consultation. Cancellations occurring within 90 days of the scheduled consultation may still result in full financial commitment, unless Smekens is unable to book the date with another school.

Let’s Connect

Complete the form below or call (888) 376-0448.
We are eager to help you achieve your PD goals!