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Becoming a


Adaptive Schools

Trainer Development Process


Adaptive Schools is committed to supporting individuals interested in becoming Agency Trainers or Training Associates. An Agency Trainer contracts with Thinking Collaborative to only do training within his/her own agency. Training Associates contract with Thinking Collaborative to provide training to organizations for a fee. Training Associates pay a royalty for each day of training they provide. Typically, prospective trainers become Agency Trainers first, gain experience in their own systems, then may choose to pursue the Training Associate certification. The steps outlined here represent the recommended and expected procedure.* Each prospective trainer will work with a Training Associate who will individualize the process as needed.


It is important to understand the foundation of this work, and, therefore, the following are criteria for becoming a trainer:

  • Demonstrated depth of understanding and application of the content of Adaptive Schools

  • Demonstrated depth of understanding and application of effective training practices with adults

  • Demonstrated ability to model Four Hats of Shared Leadership

  • Demonstrated alignment of Adaptive Schools beliefs and actions


Steps to Become an Adaptive Schools Trainer

It is recommended that a developing trainer attend the Advanced Adaptive Schools Seminar before beginning observations. The dates and locations of the Foundation Seminars, Advanced Adaptive Schools Seminars, and Presenters’ Forum (formerly Trainers’ Forum) are all listed on this Web site. The steps listed will assist in completing the process recommended to become a Trainer:


  1. Complete the Adaptive Schools Foundation Seminar training.

  2. Attend the Advanced Adaptive Schools Seminar.

  3. Observe a Training Associate, who is authorized to mentor prospective trainers, conducting the Adaptive Schools Foundation Seminar and take notes for process and training design with formal debriefings.

  4. Co-train the Adaptive Schools Foundation Seminar with a Training Associate who is authorized to mentor until both feel the prospective trainer is qualified and prepared to work without a Training Associate. It is highly recommended that developing trainers co-train at least twice. Co-training cannot commence until both Steps 2 and 3 are completed.

  5. Submit to your mentor a 30-minute video of a solo presentation of Adaptive Schools content or a 60-minute co-presentation video of Adaptive Schools content from your co-training experience. 

    • Transcribe the video in the Presenting-Facilitating Video Template.

    • Complete a written reflection using the Adaptive Schools Self-Reflection Conversation.

    • Complete a self-assessment for the video using the Presentation Skills Self-Assessment, 3rd edition. Videos must be submitted within one year of completion of the co-training process. If the video is not submitted within this timeframe, the prospective trainer will be required to complete an additional round of training.

  6. Complete Presenters' Forum – strongly recommended, not required. Successful completion of Presenters' Forum requires a 30-minute tape showcasing new learning from Presenters’ Forum.

  7. Authorization by Training Associate to conduct Adaptive Schools Foundation Seminar.

  8. Sign and return the contract sent to you from Thinking Collaborative. The contract stipulates that all agency trainers should (a) conduct at least one Adaptive Schools Foundation Seminar and (b) attend and participate in Trainer’s Meetings, Advanced Training, or Presenter’s Forum at least once during the two-year term of the contract.


An agency is not a company or individual, external to the agency, that works with school systems (e.g., publishing companies, private or public consulting companies).

Most prospective trainers will belong to an agency similar to a school system, serving just the people within that system. However, some prospective trainers might come from an agency that is more far-reaching than a single school system, such as a regional service center or a state-level organization. These organizations provide training for multiple districts/systems and becoming a trainer for such organizations will require obtaining TA status. If the prospective trainer falls in this latter category, he or she will be required to go through the process of becoming a TA after four rounds of presenting the Foundation Seminar on his or her own.

Examples of agencies that would require the agency trainer to become a training associate include (but are not limited to):

  • Universities

  • State- or county-wide educational consortium/cooperatives

  • International school consortium/cooperatives

  • State or Regional Teacher/Service Centers

  • Multi-district organizations


Please use the contact button below to connect with our Co-Directors, should you have any questions. if you need additional information about what constitutes and agency and if an agency falls into the category of needing a training associate. Developing trainers can observe anywhere as long as they are observing a Thinking Collaborative Training Associate who is authorized to mentor.

Developing trainers will co-train within their own organization. This is so that trainers can develop within their own supportive environment. The home organization supports the developing trainer financially and especially philosophically. When there is an investment (again, especially philosophically) on the part of the organization, the organization commits more deeply to the work. The home organization is also mindful that this is a learning process and expects the new trainer to be a novice and growing their skills during the training. The home organization’s expectation for supporting a developing Agency Trainer is two-fold: to extend opportunities for the Agency Trainer to provide training for them over time and for the developing trainer to become a skilled trainer who will keep this work alive and healthy.

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