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National Training Institute Opens with Inspiring Speaker

Tom Torkelson August 05 2013

August 5, 2013
San Antonio, TX

Tom Torkelson, co-founder and CEO of IDEA Public Charter Schools, Inc., kicked off the National Institute for Direct Instruction's Annual Training Institute with energy and vigor this morning at the Marriott Plaza Hotel in San Antonio, Texas. IDEA Public Charter Schools strives towards the goal of 100% of their students graduating from college. Statistics quoted by Torkelson indicate they are well on their way to achieving this goal. From Torkelson's perspective, we are not going to solve our education crisis by solving poverty, but rather, we will reduce poverty by improving our schools. By positioning their schools in areas of high poverty, IDEA Public Charter Schools are increasing opportunities for those students to experience success. Torkelson closed with two stories that exemplified IDEA's goals.

Tom started the first IDEA Academy in Donna, Texas in 2000 after working for Teach for America. Now, he oversees 28 schools located in Austin, San Antonio and along the Rio Grande Valley, with another school set to open in San Antonio later this month. Since 2010, all elementary schools in the IDEA Schools system have implemented the comprehensive Direct Instruction model schoolwide with NIFDI support. 

In 2009, Tom was featured in Time magazine as Wendy Kopp’s pick for the 100 most influential global citizens. Tom is the recipient of the prestigious Peter Jennings Award for Civic Leadership (2009) and the University of Michigan Ross Business School’s Social Entrepreneur of the Year (2010), among other honors.

Read more about Tom and IDEA Public Schools here.
Learn about training opportunities through the National Institute for Direct Instruction here.

Implementing Direct Instruction Successfully: An Online Tutorial

When implemented fully, Direct Instruction (DI) is unparalleled in its ability to improve student performance and enhance students’ self-esteem. In order to implement DI effectively, much more is required than simply purchasing instructional materials. The following two-part tutorial guides administrators, teachers and coaches through the key features of a successful DI implementation. Part I provides an overview of the steps schools need to take in preparation for a DI implementation before school starts while Part II provides an overview of the steps schools need to take after school has started.

rating starIMPORTANT: This tutorial is an intensive video series comprised of 18 segments, each followed by a series of questions. Users should allow approximately three hours to watch the videos and complete the questions. NIFDI recognizes the high demand for time placed on school officials and, for this reason, has structured the tutorial so users may stop at anytime and later resume where they left off.


Have a slow connection? You can view the quiz portion (no videos) of the tutorial here. To get a copy of the videos on disk to use with this method, please contact us at 877.485.1973 or

New to Direct Instruction? Watch the Introduction to Direct Instruction Video Series before taking the online tutorial.

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