Professional Development

Professional Development Offerings

Presenter: Jodee Blanco

Note: The sessions and descriptions below are the sole intellectual property of The Jodee Blanco Group, Inc., and cannot be used in part, in their entirety, or disseminated to any third parties without express written permission from the Jodee Blanco Group, Inc.

Outlined below are some of my more popular PDs.  I can also tailor a topic based on a specific desired area of focus. Each PD includes a Digital Resources Package with notes and highlights from the presentation, practice videos, tutorial modules, and other materials for reinforced and continued learning. I present in all modalities. Specific areas of expertise: Communications and Leadership; Anti-bullying; and SEL for students and adults.

Prior to my two decades as an anti-bullying expert and author, I owned a national PR firm that specialized in working with challenging individuals and situations. I taught my clients grace and compassion under pressure, and have adapted those same communication fundamentals to help school administrators, teachers and support staff.

Communications-Focused Professional Development Offerings

When Parents Bully the School: How to Work in Partnership with Challenging Parents

In this engaging institute day, New York Times bestselling author and anti-bullying expert Jodee Blanco will offer specific strategies on how to handle the irate, unreasonable parent who storms into the office, frustrated and unwilling to listen, and begins bullying the school.

How do you calm that parent down and get them to listen and behave like an adult?  How do you motivate him/her to work with the school in everyone’s best interests? What shouldn’t you say to an angry, bullying parent and why, and what should you say and do?  What are the “Three Tenets of Emotional Credibility in Communication” and how do you apply them to inspire understanding with a challenging parent, and most important, collaborate on viable solutions that you implement successfully together?

This session will show participants how to transform a tense situation with a parent into an opportunity to forge a productive, rewarding partnership that enriches the school, the student, and the student’s family.

Participants will learn: 

  • How to use The 3 Tenets of Emotional Credibility in Communication to establish and sustain trust
  • Tips and advice for documentation and follow-up that makes everyone feel heard and respected
  • How to facilitate mutual accountability through clear, consistent communications practices and procedures
  • What to do when a parent blindsides a teacher unfairly
  • The different types of challenging parents and how to identify and work successfully with each
  • How to avoid the typical mistakes schools make when dealing with an angry or upset parent
  • How parents and schools can work in partnership in ways that benefit the students and their families, the school and the community as a whole

Participants are also given table time during which they’re able to draw upon situations they’ve faced or are currently facing and practice these new skills with colleagues. This immersive session helps teachers and administrators to become more comfortable and confident engaging with challenging parents through a better understanding of the human component of being a master communicator

Available as a PD for principals only, for teachers only, and/or for both. 

Communications Institute for Educators: How to Build Trust, Navigate Difficult Conversations, and Deepen the Connection with Students and Parents

In this engaging presentation, Jodee will share how to communicate leading with truth and compassion as guideposts. Highlights include:

  • How to set and maintain boundaries
  • Finding your center
  • The “3 Tenets of Emotional Credibility in Communication”
  • Expectation management
  • The typical communication mistakes schools make and how to avoid them
  • The difference between reacting and responding
  • How to listen without judgement
  • Scripted verbiage for setting the right tone in any conversation
  • The real reason why someone may become difficult and how to motivate cooperation
  • A powerful new way to approach inappropriate behavior on social media that will help parents and students redirect their energy
  • How to forge a positive relationship with someone you’ve struggled with in the past

This presentation is immersive SEL for adults designed to deepen their confidence as communicators and help them to build strong, resilient relationships within the school family and beyond.

Anti-Bullying/Inclusivity PD Offerings

School Bullying Through the Eyes of a Survivor

Jodee Blanco, author of the New York Times best-selling memoir Please Stop Laughing at Me… and an award-winning series of books on bullying, brings her audience inside the heart and mind of the bullied child, and lets them see the world through their compelling point of view. As the nation’s first survivor turned activist/expert, she will also share some of her most unforgettable experiences working deep in the trenches of America’s schools over two decades. This presentation is intense, inspirational, and cuts to the core of what it means to be a bullied child through the perspective of only someone who was bullied herself and holds hundreds of bullied students in her arms every day as they pour their hearts out to her, can understand. Includes specific strategies, scripted verbiage, intervention techniques, and life-saving approaches to working with any student in pain.

Triage for the Bullied and the Bully

Highlights include: what you should never say to a bullied child and why; what you should say and do; how the bully and the victim are flipsides of the same coin and how to identify and assist both; the two types of bullying and why one is innocuous and the other dangerous; the two types of popular students; the typical profile of the bullied child; how to intervene one-on-one with a bullied child; how to intervene with a group; why traditional punishment doesn’t always work and how to supplement it with an innovative alternative called Compassionate Discipline; how to deal with the parents of bullies and/or victims; how to spot the warning signs a victim may be suicidal or contemplating retaliation; where to turn for support; and other vital information.

Jodee will also reveal deeply personal insights such as: The worst mistakes the adults in her life made and what she wishes they’d done differently; the most common complaints she hears from bullied students today, and what they want their teachers and parents to know but don’t have the courage to tell them. Jodee’s entire focus from start to finish will be to touch hearts, open minds, and most important, give hope.

This is a thought-provoking and exciting session that not only informs participants but also celebrates their energy and commitment to youth.

The Compassionate Classroom

Rehabilitation and redemption, the ability to look inside oneself and want to change, requires not just desire but opportunity. Traditional punishment alone is counterintuitive to the fulfillment of that opportunity. It only makes an angry child angrier and an insensitive child more insensitive. It’s time to cultivate a new paradigm in behavior modification that helps kids access their empathy and develop it like a muscle. Bullying survivor, expert and New York Times bestselling author Jodee Blanco, offers a fresh, exciting alternative to traditional punishment that can be used on its own or to supplement a school’s existing disciplinary guidelines. Full of specific strategies, insights, and practical examples, this presentation shows schools how to work with students and their parents step-by-step in co-creating an environment that’s kinder, more forgiving and tolerant.

The Five Tenets of Sustainable Inclusivity

In this engaging session, participants will learn how to identify the different types of exclusion, demonstrate knowledge of intervention and disciplinary techniques specific to facilitating inclusion, and learn strategies for extrapolating relevant life lessons from core curricula that reinforce the message of inclusivity.

Day-Long Institutes

Principal’s Retreat/Bootcamp

The principal of a school is its beating heart. If a principal is open and confident, those qualities set the tone for the entire school, from the faculty, cafeteria workers and school nurse, to the office secretaries and maintenance engineers. I’ll show participants how to maintain their calm, clarity and focus during stressful or unexpected situations, and get to “I got this,” with confidence and grace.

Leading effectively in moments when your every nerve is being tested, and all you can think about is getting through the next hour without letting yourself or those who depend upon you down, requires more than character and courage. It requires communication, coping and management tools that are common sense based, easily engaged, and powerful.

I’ll provide participants specific insights on how to nurture a sense of community among all students and identify those that are most vulnerable to becoming disconnected or disillusioned.

I’ll show participants how to harness the influence of their most positive-minded staff members, and use their energy and can-do attitude to infuse the entire school with optimism. I’ll share step-by-step advice on communications techniques, acknowledgement initiatives, and compassion-centric policies and protocols that will help principals reinforce to every teacher their value to the school and their belief in them.

I’ll walk participants through the parent aspect, and offer insights on how to inspire parents to work in partnership with the school and not counterintuitively, especially during periods of adjustment or change.

The principal, in addition to setting the tone for the school and navigating the day-to-day challenges, must be prepared if crisis strikes. Whether it’s a sudden disruption, a lawsuit initiated by an angry parent, fall-out from a scandal or the dismissal of an employee, or a tragedy that leaves everyone reeling, it’s the principal that often ends up in the center of the storm. Crisis can define a school’s legacy for compassion and professionalism or it can challenge it past its breaking point.

In this dynamic retreat, participants will also learn crisis management fundamentals from understanding how to avoid the typical mistakes many leaders make under pressure, the difference between re-active and pro-active positioning and how to master both, to what to say and what not to say and why, documentation protocols for minimizing liability, how to handle media and press, and how to move forward using truth and compassion to light the way.

I’ll also walk everyone through how to evaluate a crisis in real time, manage the chaos and make the right decisions. Highlights include:

  • How to work effectively with legal and HR
  • If leadership is struggling to reach consensus on what next steps should be, how to transcend that impasse and implement powerful and healing strategies together
  • Scripted verbiage for disarming even the most unreasonable, irate person
  • How to utilize crisis as an opportunity to grow
  • How to prevent future crisis
  • Lessons learned—what are they and how to put those lessons into action

This retreat is like SEL for principals. It will deepen their comfort level and confidence through a better understanding of the human component of being a master communicator. It will also help them to see themselves and their vital role from a new and exciting lens that will enrich them and the school as a whole.

Teacher Enrichment Retreat/Bootcamp

Kids are like sponges. They absorb the teacher’s vibe. If a teacher is engaged, confident and comfortable with students, they feel that positivity and lean in for learning. Conversely, if a student senses reticence, fear or stress from their teacher, it has a ripple effect. Now more than ever, teachers need to feel valued and validated on a whole new level, especially new teachers, who are entering the education adventure. 

In this retreat, I’ll work with teachers on four main areas of focus:


There’s a difference between authority and emotional credibility. Authority is what a teacher has over a child; emotional credibility is when a child feels safe in trusting that adult. I’ll walk participants through The Three Tenets of Emotional Credibility in Communication, and how to use them to establish mutual trust, openness and honesty with a student. I’ll walk teachers through the common mistakes often made when dealing with a disruptive student, and offer creative alternatives to sending students to the principal’s office. I’ll discuss the concept of not giving away your power in the classroom, and show participants a whole new approach to not only connecting with their students on a human level, but using that connection to deepen classroom community, inspire inclusivity, and motivate academic earnestness.

Curriculum Enhancements: A Creative Approach to Lessons that Increases Engagement and Deepens Retention and Assimilation

Inside every lesson plan, every quiz, test, homework assignment and classroom discussion is an opportunity for a student to discover a valuable life-lesson. Whether that lesson is about inclusivity, compassion, tolerance, civic responsibility, awareness of others, genuine versus phony friends, goals and objectives, forgiveness, hope, trust, or life itself, each time an educator teaches a class, the possibilities are endless for also helping students understand themselves and their world from a deeper, more meaningful perspective.

I’ll teach participants a simple, practical technique called “Curriculum Enhancements” for integrating life lessons into existing required subject matter. For example, a science teacher adding a quiz question about the food chain that compares the social atmosphere at school to the food chain and asks students where they might fit on that chain and why. This innovative method not only facilitates a more mindful assimilation of academic lessons, but students care more about what they’re learning because they see its relevance to their own lives.

I’ll show participants how to identify the potential life-lessons hidden within the core content of what they’re teaching on any given day and use it to improve retention and combat learning loss, enrich student empathy and character, strengthen the teacher-student bond, and introduce a dynamic new component into the classroom.

Understanding Students on a Human Level

Sometimes the best behaved student has the worst track record for including others, and the most disruptive student has the kindest heart. Understanding who your students are on an individual human level, being able to identify what makes each child exceptional in their own way is a powerful gift. Sometimes a student’s behavior is part of a larger narrative, and the teacher who knows how to interpret something from the “kid” versus the “grown-up” perspective can transform not only that student’s potential but will save lives, too. I’ve spent twenty years in the field listening to kids tell me all the things about grown-ups that they like, what they don’t like or understand, how grown-ups have helped, how they haven’t, and what they’re most afraid to tell the grown-ups in their lives. I’ll share that with participants.

Working Collaboratively with Parents

The final section of the retreat will focus on working in partnership with parents, and learning how to deal with the angry or impatient parent, the one who will intimidate because they can. I’ll walk participants through the fundamentals of parent management, expectation management, how to diffuse a tense situation, and how to apply The Three Tenets of Emotional Credibility in Communication when interacting with parents.

Motivational Conclusion

I’ll conclude the retreat with a motivational piece that will remind each and every participant that for some of their students, they are the only stable adult, and that the difference they are making saves lives.

Written Supplement: white paper through The Jodee Blanco Group, Inc.
*Quotes available upon request.

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