Let us bring

student motivation trainings

to you!

Each REACH Framework-based Professional Development Module is built on a wide-ranging body of research in developmental psychology and includes strategies educators can weave directly into their classroom practice. From ready-to-use tools (like Anchor Activities--fully scripted classroom activities to apply REACH’s key ideas) to practice-improving strategies (REACH Techniques, ‘how-to-teach’ routines aligned to the REACH Framework’s research-provided insights), participants will leave well-informed and well-equipped to begin strengthening their students’ motivation.

The onsite learning modules described below are designed to be based on schools’ available scheduling windows. These can be coordinated in advance with Search Institute.

REACH On-Site Professional Development

Studies have shown that between 40 and 60% of U.S. high school students are disengaged from learning and don't put much effort into school (National Research Council, 2004). In fact, an extensive review of the scholarly literature recently concluded that, “Children’s interest, enthusiasm, and intrinsic motivation for learning in school deteriorate continuously from their entry into kindergarten until they complete high school (or drop out), with striking losses during the transitions to middle school and high school. The erosion of motivation is especially severe for boys and for students from low socioeconomic, minority, and immigrant backgrounds” (Skinner et al, 2012).

This crisis of academic motivation is much on the minds of America’s teachers, 69% of whom reported on a recent national survey that low motivation is a major problem in their classrooms (Yeager et al, 2014). 

Fortunately, from grit to growth mindset there is a growing body of research that educators can use to strengthen students’ motivation to learn. Unfortunately, that body of research is large, complex, and sometimes contradictory. 

To help educators understand and implement the conclusions that scholars have reached through decades of studies, Search Institute has created the REACH Framework, which breaks the task of strengthening student motivation down into five essential strategies:

  • Building developmental Relationships with and among students
  • Helping students understand how Effort can increase intelligence 
  • Connecting students' current actions to their future Aspirations 
  • Teaching students about the role of Cognition in delaying gratification and managing learning
  • Ensuring that students know and are known for the deep interests and values in their Hearts

Each workshop attendee also receives a printed copy of the REACH Strategies Guidebook with activities (called Anchor Activities) and strategies .

These modules can be combined for a custom personal development session that fits the needs of your program, and the time available to you and your staff.

Contact marys@search-institute.org or 800-888-7828 for more information on how you to bring increased student motivation to your site!

What's included

These onsite workshop are designed for:


• Middle and high school principals

• Superintendents

• Curriculum directors

• Testing directors

• Middle and high school teachers

• Middle and high school counselors

• Parent teacher organizations

• Education related non-profit organizations

Wondering if onsite personal developement is right for you?

About our Presenters

Building upon ten years as a high-school English teacher, Eric Kalenze’s career in education has included posts in administration and consulting. He is the author of the 2014 book Education Is Upside-Down: Reframing Reform to Focus on the Right Problems, and he regularly contributes pieces about education practice, research, and reform to publications like Education Week, Education Post, The Hechinger Report, and TES US, as well as to his blog, ‘A Total Ed Case’.

He holds a B.A. in English from Carleton College and a Masters in Education from the University of Minnesota, and he lives in Minnesota’s Twin Cities metro area with his wife, two daughters and one Puggle.

Eric Kalenze

Director of Education Solutions, Search Institute

Kent Pekel is an educator who has worked at the school, district, state, federal, and university levels. Throughout his diverse career, he has sought to bridge the divides that too often exist between educational practice, research, and policy.

Prior to joining Search, Kent Pekel served as the founding Executive Director of the University of Minnesota’s College Readiness Consortium and as the Executive Director of Research and Development in the Saint Paul Public Schools. He held several senior staff-level positions in the Clinton Administration, including White House Fellow assigned to the Director of Central Intelligence, Special Advisor to the Deputy Secretary of State, and Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Education. He also served as Executive Director of Research and Development in the Saint Paul Public Schools.

Kent holds a B.A. in East Asian Studies from Yale, a Master’s in Education from Harvard and a Doctorate in Education from the University of Minnesota.

Kent Pekel, Ed.D.

President and CEO, Search Institute

About Search Institute

For more than 50 years, Search Institute® has been a leader and partner for organizations around the world in discovering what kids need to succeed. Our research, resources, and expertise help our partners in organizations, schools, and community coalitions solve critical challenges in the lives of young people.

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What educators say about REACH:

“They break it into small chunks but more importantly you give us very applicable strategies in using this research.” 

Alan Reeder, Deputy Superintendent, Lyon County School District, Nevada

“In 18 years I haven’t come across a philosophy that is to me more applicable to our school. It will be accepted and embraced by our staff because it fits so well. It gives to us a common language and a way to articulate the philosophy we’re trying to use to foster independent thinking, achieving young people.”

Kathryn Robinson, Psychologist, 

Eagan High School, Minnesota

“This has by far been the most beneficial workshop I’ve been to. The topics are explained in several different ways. I also like that we’re able to try the anchor activities ourselves and that we have the Guidebook to fall back on.”

Lisa Thom, 

Guidance Counselor, Grantsburg School district, Wisconsin

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