Critical Skills Summer 2017

Northeast Kingdom/ North Country & Keene, NH

Why Critical Skills?


  • Because you want to do the Maker thing- but you're not quite sure what that means or how you do it.
  • Because you're suddenly being told you need to use proficiencies or competencies or something like that- but you don't know how to design lessons that do that and you absolutely don't love what you're being given by the big textbook companies.
  • Because you want to apply Design Thinking to your classroom, but it feels too big, too hard, too...too.
  • Because you suspect (or know) that you're working harder than your students.

Register today!

The Critical Skills Classroom is based on four different pillars of educational theory: collaborative learning, experiential learning, problem-based learning and standards-driven learning.

The Level I Institute examines strategies for:
*developing the classroom as a collaborative, problem-solving community
*using the experiential learning cycle to support student learning
*setting and maintaining criteria for quality work
*targeting the Critical Skills alongside the curriculum
*designing challenges that are connected to the subject
*using simple performance-based assessment tools
*planning and structuring student exhibitions of learning, and
*guiding student reflection and debriefing processes.

Critical Skills program helps you create engaging, standards-informed lessons that target speaking and listening, problem-solving and higher order thinking skills.

A Critical Skills Institute is truly an immersion into a Critical Skills Classroom. Under the guidance and leadership of our Master Teachers (all of whom are currently practicing k-12 educators), you'll experience all dimensions of the model firsthand.

You'll explore problem-based, experiential, collaborative, and standards-driven learning. Over five days, you'll examine how these methodologies can be successfully integrated, focusing on the role of the teacher in designing curriculum, guiding students, and assessing performance. You'll develop the knowledge, skills, and dispositions needed to build and maintain a dynamic and responsive classroom.

Read about one participant’s experience: The Breakdown: Critical Skills Institute by @DanCallahan

What Past Participants Had to Say:


  • Overall, this was fantastic! I learned so much.
  • Wonderful, enthusiastic engaging instructors.
  • This institute taught me how to incorporate the skills of the Critical Skills classroom into my own classroom.
  • I appreciated the way you were able to build community immediately- first day- was astounding and inspirational. I’ve learned a tremendous amount about how to use this model in my classroom. I’m forever indebted to you.
  • A terrific marriage of content and experience!
  • Loved it! I feel as though my kids will love it and really bring out the mystery wonder and discovery in science!
  • I liked how they modeled the model through our activities. I learned so much in such a short time!
  • I feel ready to do this.

Keene Level 1

Monday, July 10th, 8am to Friday, July 14th, 10am

40 Avon Street

Keene, NH

The Northeast Kingdom/ North Country Critical Skills Institute

Monday, Aug. 8th 2016 at 8am to Friday, Aug. 12th 2016 at 4pm

Lyndonville, Lyndon, VT, United States

Lyndon, VT

The Northeast Kingdom Critical Skills Institute will be held at the Barn at Riverside, Monday, August 7-Friday, August 11, 2017, in Lyndonville, VT. Area teachers from northern Vermont and New Hampshire are invited to attend this open-enrollment institute. Click here to learn more or to register! (3 graduate credits are available for this event for an additional $350 fee)

Keene Level 2

Wednesday, July 12th, 8am to Friday, July 14th, 4pm

40 Avon Street

Keene, NH

Pre-requisite: Education by Design or Critical Skills Level I Institute


In this three-day institute, participants will revisit the Critical Skills Classroom model. This course in intended for educators who have been experimenting with the Education by Design/Critical Skills (EBD/CS) classroom model and who are ready for more advanced work. Participants will deepen their understanding of and practical experience with the design and assessment of problem-based challenges as structured by the Experiential Learning Cycle. These challenges will target and track student growth toward specified desired outcomes through at least two 'linked" experiences.

Participants will expand their repertoire of the tools and techniques helpful in building and maintaining a classroom culture that encourages collaboration. We will focus on the planning and implementation of more academically rigorous challenges and on increasingly comprehensive tools for assessing student work. Participants are given time to further develop their coaching skills to prepare them to guide students through the Experiential Learning Cycle and through the reflection process.

The Level II is an opportunity for the participant to develop a deeper understanding of the EBD/CS classroom model and to guide students through a sequence of at least two linked challenges of the experiential learning cycle.

Click here to learn more and register

About the Antioch Center for School Renewal

The Antioch Center for School Renewal has twenty-five years of experience in providing high quality professional development for educators across New England. As the service division of the Department of Education at Antioch University New England, our school coaches, drawn from highly skilled, experienced K-12 teacher-leaders, consultants, and core university faculty
are part of an educational institution that dates back to Horace Mann and embodies the values of progressive, student-centered education.