Tara’s 25 year journey has taken her from rural Florida, to Gang Territory in North Long Beach, CA, and to one
of the largest high schools in Tennessee with students representing over 37 countries.
She is recognized as a specialist in connecting with youth and building relationships with students and staff. Her career has impacted mainstream, at risk teens and nontraditional leaders by empowering them with leadership and life skills and guiding them toward the life they envisioned. She received the Pioneer Award and Teacher of the Year award in 2006 for her work in piloting the Leadership Development program at Antioch High School. Her passion continues to drive her to work with teachers across the nation to better equip them with the ability to connect and have meaningful relationships with their students, in order that more relevant learning can take place. Tara’s workshops are designed to help introduce educators to the latest brain-based learning research and resiliency factors, as well as provide classroom implementation strategies.
It has been said that ‘we never touch another so lightly that we do not leave a trace’. In this humorous inspirational keynote, Tara emphasizes that we are all leaders in some capacity, regardless of title or position, and that kids are constantly seeking leaders who they can follow. Through powerful stories of her time spent both teaching and coaching diverse populations, Tara emphasizes the importance of embracing intentional actions that will inspire and motivate. Characteristics of great leaders will be discussed and attendees will take away tremendous encouragement with which to embrace the power of their leadership footprint on a daily basis.
In the past ten years, researchers have discovered more information about the brain than all previous studies/years combined. The advances in our understanding of how the brain works and factors that impact learning have been staggering. This workshop has been designed to help introduce educators to this research in a very easy to understand way as well as to provide strategies to implement the information into their classrooms. Some topics covered include:
This informative training can transform a teacher’s approach to preparing and delivering new material and will greatly benefit students of all ages.
For educators, a major challenge is often helping students overcome the doubts and negative messages in their head in order to unleash their true potential. The mindset /resiliency of all students plays a huge role in their motivation, effort and ultimately, achievement. Carolyn Dweck’s powerful research on the Growth vs. Fixed Mindset is a key to helping educators help students redefine how they view failure and setbacks. Understanding how to help students reframe their thinking and embrace a growth mindset will increase their resiliency, grit, self-confidence and belief in their academic abilities.
High stress and survival mode is the norm for many students. Understanding the role of emotions and positive connections in human behavior, motivation and engagement is critical to helping youth in their academic/personal journey. The neuroscience behind cortisol, stress, emotional safety and academic growth is covered and thoroughly explained. Proven strategies to help create a safe classroom environment as well as build stronger connections with kids will be provided. This engaging fast paced session presents 6 powerful keys from brain research to combat the stress, motivate, engage and prime the brain in order to stop the ‘running from lions’ and start the learning.
Search Institute’s research has confirmed that SPARKS are powerful! The earlier a child can begin to identify their sparks (ie. innate talents-interests) the better for their self-esteem, resiliency and overall engagement. Kids often struggle with their sense of self and the belief that they actually have a purpose/talent. Connecting with kids of all ages and helping to identify and foster Sparks can have life altering impacts on struggling youth’s confidence, motivation, academic achievement. This fast paced session will clearly define Sparks and explore the power of being spark champions to kids. 4 critical keys will be shared to help kids identify their Sparks and gain the confidence to embrace their special gifts, talents and passions.
Advances over the past 15 years in our understanding of how the brain works and factors that impact learning, have been staggering. Priming the brain for optimal learning and creating an environment conducive to focus and retention is imperative. This session covers 6 key factors that greatly impacts and/or enhances the brain’s ability to process information: cortisol/stress, emotional safety, power of hope, gender brain differences, reticular activating system, childhood trauma.
The mindset and internal dialogue of students plays a huge role in their perceptions, beliefs, choices and motivation. Carolyn Dweck’s powerful research on the Growth vs. Fixed Mindset is a key to helping adults help students redefine how they view success and how to reach it.
Understanding how to help students reframe their thinking and embrace a growth mindset will increase their grit, resiliency, self-confidence and belief in their ability to form healthy relationships and create a brighter future.
With increasing challenges and obstacles facing kids today, Resiliency is critical for overcoming, surviving and thriving into adulthood. This informative and motivational session will present high points of Bonnie Bernard’s research on Resiliency and the 40 Developmental Assets, compiled by Search Institute after 4 decades of research. Both Resiliency and the 40 Developmental Assets play critical roles in the positive choices and actions kids display throughout their life. Discussion will be held on the role educators can play to help increase the resiliency in our students on a daily basis.
“To get into their heads, we must first get into their hearts.” There is no doubt that the 18 inches from their heart to the heads of struggling youth is a rite of passage every adult must navigate in order to truly impact their life. Humans are “hard-wired” to connect with others, and it is through these connections that humans will thrive and excel. In this inspiring keynote address, Tara shares parts of her journey working with both hard core gang members and hard core “rednecks” and how she successfully engaged and motivated them to work harder and dream bigger. She provides research-based insights into the role emotions and stress play in learning what at-risk youth wish every adult understood about them.