A core commitment of NCAIS is to offer relevant and intentional professional development opportunities to NCAIS constituents. We have a variety of single-day workshops and multi-day conferences, listed below. In addition, we have ongoing professional development opportunities, including monthly cohort virtual meetings, our Teacher-to-Teacher program, and our Women in Leadership collaboration. They can be found here:

Ongoing Professional Development Opportunities

Because of the strong support of our sponsors and exhibitors, we are able to offer affordable professional development opportunities to our schools. We encourage you to review our Sponsor Directory and support those organizations as they have supported our community. For those representing organizations with services and products that would benefit our schools, we encourage you to visit the link below: 

Sponsor and Exhibitor Opportunities

 Conferences      |      Virtual Meetings      |      Webinars 

January 22, 2021 | Virtual Community Engagement Workshop
11:45 am
This half-day professional learning experience blends threads of purpose, equity, and using a project-based mindset to design community engagement experiences. Virtual Community Engagement Day is designed for Directors of Service Learning & Global Ed, Community Engagement Coordinators, and any teacher who is looking to bring the world into the classroom. The buffet of professional learning mini-courses provide educators with a purposeful menu of session options from which to choose. Educators opt into one or more 90-minute synchronous sessions and engage with a WLS coach to explore how to design and implement Virtual Community Engagement.

Dates Vary Jan-March | Learning from Crisis: Creating a Nimble, Innovative, and Resilient Learning Community for the Future

On the other end of this pandemic, new, private learning enterprises, different from anything we’ve seen in the history of American education, will emerge. These reinvented schools will enjoy distinct characteristics that will drive their resilience in the marketplace. Accelerated by the pandemic, we are at the tipping point of an explosion of innovation, one that will most surely recalibrate our strategic and fiscal planning for the future.

Join Ian Symmonds and fellow NCAIS school leaders for a deep dive into the key components of strategy development and financial planning in a new post pandemic normal. This four-week, online intensive class has been created and customized as a deep professional development experience specifically for members of independent schools.

February 4, 18 & March 4, 2021 | Beyond Advanced Placement
12:30 pm - 2:30 pm
Is your school having conversations about dropping your AP program or is this a taboo subject and a bit of a sacred cow? Can you envision a post-COVID strategy that would free you from the shackles of AP? Would colleges and universities be friends or foes in a “beyond AP” conversation? There are numerous models in which strong independent schools have bound together to take this leap...and the payoff has been HUGE... for student inquiry, academic freedom, and mission-based curricular decision-making . If this piques your interest, please join us for this 3-part deep dive conversation! We’ll hear from schools that have successfully transitioned, examine the research, wrestle with the pros and cons, and explore the possibility of an NCAIS “beyond AP” coalition.

February 5, 2021 | Diversity & Inclusion Conference (Student & Faculty Tracks) **new date**
9 am - 3 pm
2020 has been a year for the history books for numerous reasons; with civil rights, social justice, and protests at the forefront. For the first time, the NCAIS Diversity and Inclusion Conference will include a full-day track for high school students interested in exploring diversity, equity, and inclusion with fellow NCAIS students from across the state. Sessions will include blended opportunities for faculty and students, as well as sessions tailored specifically to each group. 

Our morning keynote speaker is North Carolina’s 9th Poet Laureate, Jaki Shelton Green. Wake Forest Baseball Coach Tom Walters and former Wake Forest Baseball player Kevin Jordan are our afternoon keynote speakers who together will share their story. They share a unique bond built on selflessness and a passion for baseball. 

To be agile and able to pivot, schools with a culture based in trust and collaboration are those where the best ideas emerge. Inclusive colleagues foster compassion, kindness, and curiosity throughout their school community. Join us as we explore ways to work together, encourage people to listen more to each other, and to be more aware of how each person’s perspective adds value to the collective conversation. 

February 11, 2021 | Early Childhood Conference: Centering Connection in Early Childhood (Remote) Curriculums
1:30 pm - 3 pm

As winter continues, the possibility of remote teaching being some part of our future still looms large. Young children need to feel connected in order to learn. Remote teaching is a new and particular challenge for early childhood educators. This workshop looks at teaching and learning through the lens of connections. If students are connected to each other, their teachers, their families, and the world around them, they can remain engaged in learning. This year, even as we have returned to in-person teaching, making connections has remained a challenge. As families are limited in their ability to visit the classroom and engage in the daily ritual of conversation with teachers at pickup and dropoff, we must find creative solutions to help families feel connected to their children’s school community. Participants will investigate what it means to center connection, not content, in (remote) early childhood teaching. How does this change how content is taught? Along with sharing some successful practices and curriculum used as part of the Greenhouse Connections program and in one pre-k classroom, this workshop will also provide space to apply these ideas in the context of your own classroom. 

February 22, 2021World Language Conference
12 pm - 3:15 pm

World Language educators are uniquely positioned in independent schools. Often teaching more than one grade level, they may have the same students for several years, enabling them to develop rich and meaningful relationships with their students. Teaching a world language is about more than just mastering the language, but encompasses the cultures and customs of native speakers. During a time when many people are feeling uncertain about those they do not know, the world language classroom gives an inside perspective into the unknown and allows for the development of empathy and understanding. Join your fellow NCAIS World Language teachers for a half-day virtual event to learn from each other and to build connections. We will explore the relationship between world language classrooms and issues of social justice as well as taking a deep dive into best practices and new ideas for world language teachers.

March 5, 2021 | Business Office Conference     
9 am - 4 pm
On March 5, 2021, Business office personnel from across the NCAIS community will gather virtually to discuss a variety of topics and current events facing independent schools in North Carolina. Jeff Shields, President of the National Business Officers Association will keynote the event and a variety of breakout sessions will be offered throughout the day. Our time together wouldn’t be complete without roundtable discussions where business office staff can listen and learn from one another, share ideas, and collaborate. Registration is now open!


March 26, 2021 | Neurodiversity Conference     

June 21-23, 2021 | Summer Heads Retreat |  Wild Dunes Resort, Isle of Palms, SC

Imagine a warm, breezy beach locale where you are surrounded (in-person) by family and colleagues!  We have to believe that those days will return and we’re betting on June 2021!

Please join NCAIS as we gather together at Wild Dunes Resort, Isle of Palms, SC with NCAIS families and South Carolina independent school colleagues.  By then, you will have endured one of the most challenging years of your career; a pandemic, historic presidential election, turbulent social unrest, and gross overuse of the words unprecedented, pivot, and new normal.  The only thing that might make this retreat more appealing is to include legendary speaker, Rob Evans, which we have done!  Please plan to join Rob for reflection, relaxation, re-invigoration, and a bit of counseling as we celebrate the end to a historic year and look forward to the future. Bring your family and enjoy golf, tennis, local low-country cuisine, and the company of colleagues.

2021-2022 Professional Development

October 15, 2021 | Educators Conference for Middle School Educators | High Point University 

NCAIS Board Approved Cancellation Policy:
All attendees receive a full refund if they cancel at least two weeks before an in-person event, and a 50% refund if they cancel one week before the event; no refunds thereafter. All refunds are subject to a 15% administrative fee.

Financial Assistance:
NCAIS has a modest amount of financial assistance available. Please do not hesitate to ask if that would be helpful.