The Touchstones Circle

Our monthly update on programs, events, and opportunities

Congratulations to Keith Eaton, our Teacher of the Year, and Phil and Noelle Richmond, our Volunteers of the Year!

Keith Eaton is a high school history teacher in Mount Desert Island Schools who has used Touchstones with his students for three years. He has also run peer-led Touchstones discussions with teachers and administrators this year. He has used Touchstones throughout his school in order to cultivate skills of civil discourse. Keith was nominated by his supervisor, who says that he leads by example, through active listening, asking clarifying questions, and considering new perspectives. In the words of his supervisor, Keith is a champion for Touchstones!

Read More About Keith's Story on the Blog

Noelle and Phil are long-time supporters of Touchstones! As a Board member, Noelle worked closely with staff and the advisory council. She volunteered in the women's prison program and introduced new people into the Touchstones circle. Phil helped the Board better understand planned giving and with the establishment of an endowment, and helped think through strategic opportunities for program expansion. Both Phil and Noelle have given countless hours of encouragement and expertise to Touchstones in many forms.

Thank you for making Touchstones Week 2022 possible!

Thank you to our educators, students, and community members who made Touchstones Week possible! We were so glad to be joined by all of you, from around the world, in celebrating the power of discussion to democratize education. We loved seeing your stories and photos from this week.

Opportunities for Schools & Educators

Last Chance to Join Our November Open Enrollment Workshop!

Build your discussion leadership skills through hands-on practice with other educators as part of our virtual Open Enrollment Workshop. We welcome those new to Touchstones and veteran teachers who have never received formal training. Scholarship seats are available if funding is a barrier.

Learn More & Register

Exploring the Four Stages of Inclusive Discussion Series

Join us November 30 for the second session in this free four part series taking a closer look at The Four Stages of group development. We will engage in a Touchstones discussion focused on issues of participation, think deeply about how to be a bridge for all students and provide opportunities for various forms of participation, and have time to connect with each other.

Learn More & Sign Up

Touchstones Family Engagement Pilot Program

We know that when schools partner with caregivers and parents, students succeed! Fostering trusting relationships between school staff and families is now more important than ever. Aligned to the latest family engagement research, we can help you expand the impact of Touchstones to the entire school community.

Learn How to Participate

New Digital Discussion Evaluation Tools

Are you interested in getting a better sense of your class' progress toward Essential Skills in Touchstones this school year? We've adapted some of our individual discussion evaluation tools into short, digital, surveys you can use to assess growth throughout the year. Get in touch with us to get free access for your students!

Reach Out to Learn More

Community Programs News & Opportunities

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Next Online Community Discussions!

Everyone is welcome to join for this free, drop-in program. Whether you’re just getting familiar with Touchstones or you’re a seasoned discussion leader, Online Community Discussions offer a way to practice discussion skills together and build community.

Our next Thursday community discussion will be held on November 17, from 7:30pm-8:45pm. Our next Saturday discussion will be held on November 19, from 11am-12pm.

Learn More & Sign Up 

Restarting Programs for Seniors

Are you interested in starting a Touchstones discussion group with seniors in your community or in partnership with a local retirement center? We're looking to restart these long-standing programs after a break during the pandemic. Our tools and training provide you with the support you need to get a program up and running. Learn more about our Senior Programs on our website, and reach out to us at to get started.

Learn more Programs for Seniors

Restarting Programs for Veterans

In Touchstones programs for veterans, participants learn to co-lead discussions on themes related to service and homecoming. They explore selections from Homer’s The Odyssey alongside contemporary work— including many by veterans— about service and war to reflect on their own experiences and journeys. If you are a veteran and interested in starting a discussion group, learn more on our website and reach out to get started.

Learn more about Veterans Programs

Check Out What We're Reading!

Share Your Touchstones Story

The Touchstones community spans the globe! Help us spread the word about the amazing work happening in your classroom or community group by sharing your story on social media. Use the hashtag #BeyondTheSocraticSeminar in your posts or complete this form to be featured in an upcoming #TouchstonesSpotlight on our channels.

Read More on The Touchstones Blog

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