The Developmental Designs approach brings everyday strategies from relationship building, social skill-building, safe community, cultural responsiveness, and intrinsic motivation to advisory, content area classes, and across the school, throughout the day.

Developmental Designs for Middle School 1

  • Study how and why social-emotional learning leads to academic achievement
  • Discover how to leverage adolescents’ developmental characteristics, strengths and needs
  • Learn how to build Advisory time to build a strong, socially skilled learning community
  • Gain practical structures to help students master learning routines
  • Practice five (5) types of Empowering Language
  • Learn a relationship-based approach to discipline that maintains dignity for every student
  • Establish ways to energize students through using the Power of Play
  • Discuss ways to rally the entire school community around shared goals and guidelines/expectations
  • Circle of Power and Respect

Developmental Designs for Middle School 2 Prerequisite DDMS1

  • Learn goal setting: students declare a personal stake in their school to anchor their learning in a meaningful commitment to growth
  • Further relationship-based approach to discipline that maintains dignity for every student: Collaborative problem-solving
  • Practices for motivating instruction
  • Circle of Power and Respect
  • Learn how to build strong learning community, all day long

“Developmental Designs practices have helped me in so many ways, with my discipline, connecting content to student interests, organization, connecting with students and families, and so much more. I can now focus on teaching instead of discipline problems.”

– Middle-level teacher



Developmental Designs (DD) for Middle School delivers practices and strategies to build a supportive community, guiding students on their way to academic achievement, responsible independence, and lifelong pro-social habits.  Middle level educators know adolescence is a precarious, confounding, exhilarating, mixed-up time; a time of curiosity and courage, a time of pushback, and of risk-taking.


“Data indicate that teachers are highly satisfied with the Developmental Designs approach and its various strategies as well as the professional development model used.”

—Dr. Vicki Schmitt, Middle Grades Research Journal, Fall 2011

“Rated a ‘Most Valuable’ professional development experience by nearly 100% of participants who complete a DD1 or DD2 workshop.”

—Dr. David Hough, ORION Research Group, Principal Investigator for Program Evaluations, Springfield, Missouri