Check out what we’ve been up to

Established in 2019, the Spear Center has put on a variety of professional learning experiences for the teachers of ISP and beyond. We are ramping up programming and we hope to see you at an event soon! Interested in keeping up to date with what’s coming up? Join our mailing list or contact us at

Introduction to Concept-Based Inquiry with Rachel French

March 2024

This workshop was an intensive 2-day workshop for Teachers and School Leaders committed to implementing a Concept-Based approach, offering practical strategies that invited participants to rethink the unit design process. We discovered the Concept-Based Inquiry model developed by French and Marschall, and unlocked a framework for intentional teaching and learning. Participants left with various teaching strategies carefully crafted to cultivate students’ conceptual thinking.

Empowering Teachers Leaders: Fostering Excellence in our Schools
with Stacy Stephens

March 2024

In today’s dynamic educational landscape, the significance of teacher leadership in our schools cannot be overstated. This interactive workshop delves into the pivotal role that teacher leaders play in shaping and enhancing the quality of education.

Participants explored the essential qualities and skills that define effective teacher leadership, including collaboration, communication, and effective team management. Through thought-provoking discussions and hands-on activities, attendees gained practical strategies to build their leadership capacity.

Crafting Inquiry 2023
Sponsored by Toddle

October 2023

What does your classroom say about children’s ideas, inquiries, play, and learning? How do we nurture children’s curiosity while also keeping it alive for ourselves as educators? How do we support playful pedagogy in schools? Inquiry-based learning sounds great, but how do we actually make it work when we have content to teach and limited time to do it?

Lynn Cuccaro, Yvonne Liu-Constant, and John Spencer explored these questions and more in a unique, interactive, and hands-on two-day conference!

IB Workshops

In August 2023 the Spear Center and the International School of Portland hosted three official IB workshops on the ISP campus:

  • Making the PYP Happen: Implementing Agency (category 1)
  • Evidencing Learning (category 2)
  • Bilingual and Multilingual Teaching and Learning (category 3)

The Wondrous Classroom: Playful Pedagogy with Lynn Cuccaro

May 2023

Research continues to point out that young children learn best through meaningful play experiences. As educators, we know that play is the primary way children learn. In this workshop, we uncovered the early years skills developed through play while discovering how movement supports neural pathways in the brain to connect “learning dots” and builds the brain’s architecture. We also unpacked the crucial sensory-motor skills that build the foundation to early literacy, both in reading and handwriting regardless of the language of instruction.

Crafting Inquiry Conference 2022

October 2022

What does it look like to implement inquiry practices well? What about the role of assessment? How do we craft and encourage meaningful and productive questions that build critical thinking skills, resolve dilemmas, and ignite creative solutions?

Kath Murdoch, Trevor MacKenzie, Stephanie Harvey, and Kimberly Mitchell dove into these topics and more in our kick-off 2-day conference held both in person and virtually in Portland, Oregon.

Japanese immersion curriculum development

October 2022

Talented educator and workshop leader Miho Nishita joined us all the way from Tokyo International School to work with our Japanese track teachers as we designed our reading and writing scope and sequence and discussed literacy practices in Japanese.

Construct the Present

An organization based in Portland that is dedicated to facilitating discussions in the workplace around issue of equity, diversity, and inclusion, they have joined us for multiple training sessions since 2019.

Crafting Inquiry Virtual Summit 2020

August 2020

Kath Murdoch, Stephanie Harvey, and Kimberly Mitchell came together for the first time ever to provide an interactive virtual experience on how to beautifully craft inquiry-based elementary and early childhood classrooms.

Mandarin immersion job-alike

Teachers from Mandarin immersion classrooms in Portland Public Schools joined us on campus for a day of unpacking the beauties and challenges of Mandarin immersion in the PYP.

An Inquiry into Inquiry, Play, and Agency with Anne Evans, Ann van Dam, and Lynn Cuccaro

May 2019

During this two-day training, teachers learned how to foster play-based learning and inquiry-based environments that support lamguage immersion and the development of global citizens.

PYP Exhibition Job-Alike

5th grade teachers and coordinators from around Portland came together to discuss how the PYP Enhancements allow for new innovation and student agency in the PYP Exhibition.

Responsive Classroom

Responsive Classroom is an evidence-based approach to teaching and discipline that focuses on engaging academics, positive community, effective management, and developmental awareness.


Playworks helps kids to stay active and build valuable life skills through play.