The Introduction to Project CRISS is the keystone professional development event in any CRISS initiative. In the 12-18 hour workshop, participants learn the foundation for all Project CRISS implementation efforts. The certified trainer introduces the CRISS Frameworks for Teaching and Learning with the research foundation embedded in enlightening activities and common language. Participants experience modeled instructional practices that are necessary to facilitate self-directed learning. They learn high-impact strategies – practical tools for the teaching and learning toolbox – and engage in lessons adapted to model what implementation looks like in the classroom. Participants work with content materials from different disciplines to experience the cross-curricular applications; they learn from each other in facilitated discussions about teaching and learning. Participation is capped at 35 participants.

This introductory workshop is hands-on, and participants leave with practical tools they can implement immediately.

"I'm coming away from this training feeling like I have (and have had) the tools to help engage my students and help them become more self-directed learners. I see this CRISS Project as more of a philosophy than a number of strategies. I realize that I've been doing some of this all along. This was a great reminder of how this philosophy should drive my instruction and become a natural part of each day. I like that it's data-driven, too." - Experience classroom teacher, after an Intro workshop.


This introductory 12- or 18-hour workshop is structured as a two- or three-day training or broken into segments over several days (3 to 4 hour segments recommended). An agenda might look something like this (all times are approximate):

Introduction (150 min)

  • Introductions, logistics, and goal-setting
  • Overview of Project CRISS: brief history and research foundation
  • CRISS Frameworks for Teaching & Learning: key principles

Mini-lesson 1 Cross-curricular, High Impact Strategies (60 min)

Framework for Teaching Plan 1 (120 min)

  • Introduction to the CRISS Framework for Teaching
  • High-impact strategies embedded in a CRISS Framework for Teaching unit – Participants work with content materials as students and analyze the process as teachers.

Facilitated Framework for Teaching Planning Time

Mini-lesson 2 Author’s Craft and Text Complexity (30 min)

  • Optional (time permitting) review of participants’ course materials

Framework for Teaching Plan 2 (120 min)

  • High-impact strategies embedded in a CRISS Framework for Teaching unit – Participants work with content materials as students and analyze the process as teachers.

Mini-lesson 3 Vocabulary (75 min)

Framework for Teaching Plan 3 (150 min)

  • High-impact strategies embedded in a multi-genre CRISS Framework for Teaching research unit – Participants work with content materials as students and analyze the process as teachers.

Optional Mini-lessons (time permitting)

  • High-impact questioning and writing strategies

Conclusion (30 min)

  • Debrief the workshop, create and action plan (individual/group)
  • Evaluations

Reflection on practice and Common Core*, and implementation discussions are embedded throughout each segment.

*By request, if your district is implementing.


Powerful professional development initiatives that lead to real changes in practice require stakeholder buy-in. Use data to make the case for a school-or district-wide initiative. Pull together student grades, assessment scores, graduation and drop-out rates, transition grade course failure rates, attendance and behavior records, college matriculation rates, etc. to establish the need for change. Gather the first 30 participants by seeking volunteers representing each content area and administrators responsible for curriculum and instruction. Encourage informal and formal teacher-leaders to participate in the first cohort to lend voices to subsequent implementation. Ultimately, all teachers, administrators, and instructional support staff should be trained.

Keep in mind, Project CRISS is a cross-curricular initiative. If the students read, write, speak, or do things in a learning environment, CRISS applies. The training uses core content to reflect the majority of participants, but the fundamentals of the CRISS Frameworks are based on what we know about how humans learn. It IS appropriate to train vocational, fine arts, business, physical education, technology, and other content area teachers. If you need to prioritize who participates as one of the first cohort of 30, start with core content and then prioritize content areas with more reading, writing, and speaking.


  1. Determine your audience, training location, and identify at least two sets of dates that work for your target audience for the introductory workshop. Consider resources (time, space, people, and funding) for sustained implementation. Research demonstrates that one-hit-wonder workshops don’t result in significant changes in student achievement. Dedication and focus, with a variety of opportunities for follow-up, discussion, and sharing, do make a difference (For starters, see: Wei, R. C., Darling-Hammond, L. Andree, A., Richardson, N., Orphanos, S. (2009) Professional Learning in the Learning Profession: A Status Report on Teacher Development in the U.S. and Abroad. Learning Forward).

  2. Call 406.758.6440 or email and share your information and ask questions. We will identify potential trainers with the skill set to meet your needs and we will provide a quote or draft contract for training and materials.

  3. Finalize, sign, and return your contract, complete an order form for training materials, and generate the purchase orders (or encumber payment) as quickly as possible to ensure we can meet your timeline. Trainers, contracts, and payment arrangements must be in place at least two weeks prior to your dates to allow time for regular shipping of materials and travel arrangements – the further out you schedule, the less you will pay for shipping and travel.


Training and support materials: With regular ground shipping, $80.00 per participant (shipping minimum rates apply). This fee is reduced to $57.00 per participant (plus shipping) when a district employee becomes a certified CRISS District Trainer and facilitates district introductory workshops. For this fee, each participant receives a 305-page training manual and access to online reproducibles. In addition, the certified CRISS Trainer will provide the district/school with a PDF of the required Materials Packet; the district makes a copy for each participant.

NOTE: Our printer prints on demand and requires 15 business days (this does not include the day we receive your order). Please email a scanned copy of your order to for prompt processing.

Trainer fees: The district and the CRISS National Office enter into a contract to implement workshop. Costs include a fee to cover all trainer travel expenses and the daily honorarium. Contact the CRISS National Office for a quote. If a trainer must spend four or more hours for travel on a non-training day, there may be an extended travel fee.

School or district expenses: Other costs may include teacher release time, substitute teachers, teacher stipends, room rental, photocopying, office supplies for participants and meals/break food.

To attend another district's OR a Regional Introduction to Project CRISS training: The cost depends on space availability, the cost of hiring the National Trainer, etc., and ranges from $200.00 to $350.00 per participant.

To schedule or ask specific questions, please call the CRISS National Office or email