from the introduction to "Ten Steps To Manage School Change"
In my work as a consultant and workshop presenter, I help schools and districts to improve their program initiatives. Over the years, I've helped educators find ways to hold more effective IEP meetings, help staff work better as a team, increase the use of authentic assessments, use literature for developing social skills, and any number of other objectives. Unfortunately, even when teachers and administrators give me high marks, I find that any changes I may have helped to bring about are rarely robust and lasting. Although workshops and presentations provide schools with a common language, inspiration, and skills, these are too often adopted piecemeal and at random by educators who don't have a set approach to implementing change. In the pages that follow, I offer a change model that can be successfully adapted to almost all program initiatives, so you don’t have to exert time and energy to reinvent the wheel with every new improvement campaign.
Strategies for Teaching the Students Who Challenge Us Most
I was chairing an hour-long meeting with school administrators, teachers, therapists, and support staff. The group had convened to deal with a single issue: how Dean, a volatile 4th grader, could more successfully transition from class to class. Dean insisted on being first in line, argued over every expectation, and swore at staff as he quickly lost his temper. He was exhausting his teachers, classmates, and everyone who was called in to de-escalate him and then assess his readiness for rejoining his class. We hypothesized what triggered Dean’s reactions. We reviewed his complex family history, his ability to cognitively understand directions, and his ability to physically manage the passage from one room to another. We reviewed what staff had been saying to him, what rewards and punishments had been tried (all so far without lasting success), what the quality of his relationships was with peers and school staff, and what our over lapping goals were for Dean and the school. By the end of the hour, we had synthesized our perspectives and developed a plan. At that point, the principal turned to me and said, “That should do the trick.” I sighed and responded, “There are no tricks.”
Jeffrey's next book, co-written with Rachel Poliner, published by Corwin this summer:
Teaching the Whole Teen:
Everyday Practices to Promote Success in School and Life
from the Introduction:
Teachers come to work each day with lesson plans designed to meet curriculum standards. Many of those teachers know that those standards alone do not address all the lessons they want their students to learn. There is a second part of their mission: for students to develop the skills to manage their adolescent years in preparation for adulthood. Most school mission statements include the goals of supporting young people to both achieve academically and contribute to their communities. Through every day lessons and expectations, in addition to academic mastery, middle and high schools aspire to help students develop social skills, problem solving, autonomy, civic responsibility, and goals for their learning and future.
Achieving both parts of the mission is very demanding. School days are brimming with requirements, structures, and routines – some new, some over a century old and clearly in need of reform – that make it difficult for educators to fulfill all the lofty ideals of their mission statements.
This book supports the fulfillment of the whole mission, because middle and high school students come to school each day as whole teens.
"Haiku 101" is an accessible, funny, and thought-provoking book of modern haiku that is grounded in the beauty and absurdity of contemporary life. The poems are presented three per page, suggesting the reader slow down from the frenetic pace of the day to savor each small creation. This collection is also ideal for teachers who wish to introduce students to the ways that observations of daily life, shared in simple and precise language, can communicate as much as a short story.
Jeffrey's ASCD Arias book is a guide to support robust and sustained school improvement:
TEN STEPS TO MANAGING CHANGE IN SCHOOLS