Harness the power of your webcam for customized teacher training

Now that video conferencing is affordable and easy to use, live, face-to-face professional development for teachers is just a click away.
Not ready yet? Keep scrolling to learn more!


So, what is live virtual training?

When geography or a pandemic creates a barrier to in-person professional development, our live virtual trainings bridge the gap. Customized to address your specific goals, virtual training fits your schedule and provides support for your emerging needs in reading and writing.

On-site professional development has the potential to result in transformative change for an entire staff. But when barriers stand in the way of bringing a Smekens consultant to your school, live virtual training is the perfect option. Now every educator in your building can be part of the transformation to better instruction.

Benefits of live virtual training

Every staff has a unique blend of talents and challenges. When teachers participate in our live virtual professional development, they benefit from strategies and guidance designed just for them.
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 face-to-face 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 paying for the Smekens consultant to travel to your school.


How to plan your live virtual training

Great things can happen when a plan comes together. Here’s how to prepare for successful live virtual professional development:
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. Participate in targeted virtual training that is practical and engaging.

Training topics to help teachers succeed

First, identify your greatest need. Then, let Smekens create a customized on-site training 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

“I always need new ideas for my classroom and Smekens never fails to deliver! 5 Stars all the way!”

Kristin Smith

Gilmer County High School, Glenville, WV

“Smekens conferences are designed & led with teachers as the focus. Kristina knows us, and her enthusiasm is catching. I love all the work & research that goes into sessions beforehand, so we know we’re getting the best of.”

Crystal Merrifield

River Valley Middle School, Jeffersonville, IN

“Smekens workshops NEVER disappoint! So many easy-to-implement strategies that can be incorporated into a classroom right away!”

Erin Opper

South Side Elementary School, Kendallville, IN

How much does live virtual training cost?

When a Smekens consultant spends a day leading live virtual professional development for teachers, the costs are simple to equate.
Daily Rate
Most Smekens consultants have a base rate of $2,300 per day.
For no additional cost, a customized handout will be provided for every training. The handout can be distributed to teachers digitally, or it can be printed on your copy machine or ours (for a small fee).

What equipment is needed for live virtual training?

Connecting to a Smekens consultant for a day of live virtual professional development is easy. To make the day a success, you need these five items:
Reliable, high-speed internet connection
So the videoconferencing works flawlessly
So that the Smekens consultant can see the group
So that we can foster two-way communication
Large Monitor
So that everyone in your group can see the presenter
So that your group can hear the presenter


Meet our virtual training 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 smekens live virtual training

How do we schedule live virtual professional development?
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 virtual PD?
Occasionally, we can fill a last-minute need, but in most situations we are scheduling our consultants to lead customized professional development for teachers 6-18 months in advance. This is especially true if you are embarking on a bigger initiative that requires several, carefully-scheduled virtual sessions.
What happens after our virtual training dates are secured?
After a school has secured dates with a Smekens consultant, our 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 virtual training experience.
What materials are required for Smekens on-site training?
Smekens deals in best-practice teaching strategies, not in boxed curriculums. For this reason, a virtual training never requires the purchase of any specific resources. Occasionally, we recommend resources such as Launching the Writer’s Workshop ($20 each) to accompany an virtual training, 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 virtual 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.
When do we pay for our live virtual PD?
We are happy to send a bill in advance, but, typically, we generate an invoice for virtual professional development on the day the training occurs. Schools and districts then have 30 days to submit payment by check. Credit card payments are accepted for virtual training but may include processing fees.
What type of support is available after a live virtual training?
Smekens has several ways to offer follow-up support, including more virtual trainings, remote coaching, books and resources, a video subscription, and more. However, when the contracted virtual training has concluded, teachers are always welcome to contact the consultant by email to seek clarification, get feedback, or share successes.
How do we get funding for live virtual professional development?
Schools use a variety of funding sources to pay for virtual professional development 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 virtual PD for a 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 training. Cancellations occurring within 90 days of the scheduled training 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!