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  • JP partners with schools and districts across the country to provide intensive professional development for scientifically-based programs.

  • Common Core State Standards, Factors Influencing Student Achievement, Responsive Coaching, Teacher Evaluation, Autism
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The Gentle Giant

Written by JP School Improvement Specialist Wanetta Jones
 
Mr. Anson Mitchell, soft spoken yet poised principal of Lincoln Middle School, East St. Louis, Illinois was determined to find a viable solution to a systemic challenge that was affecting his total school program-smooth hallway transitions.
 
Respectfully, I call him the "gentle giant." That is, gentle in his approach but giant in confidence. He knew that he needed students to transition from class to class quickly and efficiently; he knew he needed the change now; he knew that a reduction in referrals and suspensions needed to decrease; and he knew he needed something that would work effectively and permanently. Mr. Mitchell didn't stop until that goal was accomplished.
 
Like most students in middle schools, regardless of socio-economic status and academic ability, the generalized personalities of this group of developing young people must be handled with "kid gloves," so to speak. Even though they like to be treated as independent thinkers and doers, the inward cry that lies underneath the need to be independent, is the need for structure when executed positively. Mr. Mitchell understood that need of his students. Further, he heard the spoken and unspoken voices of teachers who said, "Help!" 
 
Several trials of various methods to garner smooth daily hallway transitions from class to class were good, but not for the long haul. The data indicated, tardiness to class, referrals and suspensions were high, and teachers were frustrated. "There has to be something that will work and we'll get there," I recall hearing him say in a coaching support session. 
 
Mr. Mitchell put his teaching and learning knowledge and experience into motion. He tried one last strategy. Music, the universal language would work. He researched types of music that would be most appropriate for students of middle school age-the best music to get the best results. Music that would bring about an expected positive end to that-systemic challenge. He found the top ten to twenty tunes he could rotate that provided motivational messages to students as they transitioned from class to class. Students responded positively to this new strategy! Teachers were happy! Tardiness to class, referrals and suspensions decreased! The school environment looked and felt differently. Once again, the data was the "proof in the pudding."
 
Says Mr. Mitchell, "We have been using music instead of the ringing of bells to dismiss classes and to let a student know that he/she should be in class. We have received positive feedback from students, staff and visitors. The staff has brought songs in for us to use and recommended songs to be played. We use songs with positive messages, inspiring messages or we may choose a theme based on the time of the year. We have noticed a change in the behavior since we started this process." 
 
Mr. Mitchell embraced and successfully implemented the IFSaM problem solving method for this systemic challenge. That is, Identify the problem, Function (find the cause of the problem), Solution, and Monitor. This method was created by Chris Jones and Doug Blancero for school administrators in East St. Louis' LIFT (Leadership Innovation for Today) program. Now, the "gentle giant" has another tool in his toolbox that will be applicable for effective use in the total school environment. Bravo! Mr. Mitchell.

Congratulations to Omar Tabb

thumb Omar.Tabb.CroppedJP wants to congratulate Omar Tabb on the publishing of his paper, "Putnam County: Successful Use of Best Practice Strategies with Children with Autism," in the journal, Report on Emotional & Behavioral Disorders in Youth.  The paper describes the successful program for students with autism developed in Putnam County over a decade.  Achievements ranged from increased student achievements to increased social skills.
  
Click here to learn about the product and training JP developed based on the Putnam County program: IDEAS
 
 

Spring Clothing Drive

Please consider contribuiting to our Spring Clothing Drive for one of our most cherished partners, Buffalo's School Number 6 in New York!

There is a great need for very large children's sizes, 14-18.

They need NEW socks and NEW underwear. They need light spring jackets, shoes and clothes appropriate for spring and summer.

Also, there is a need to collect fancy clothing for both boys and girls who are graduating from the 8th grade. Items appropriate for a graduation ceremony would be greatly appreciated!

Please direct any items you are able to give to Ms. Marilyn Foote, the school's Spring Clothing Drive Coordinator. 

If you have any questions, please email us at .

Thank you for your support - we are thrilled and look forward to reporting the success of the Spring Clothing Drive soon!

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Paw Pals Storytime

To say we are proud of Paulina Wampler, a former JP consultant, is an understatement. Our former colleague and forever friend is still creating exceptional educational opportunites for kids in her community! Currently, Paulina is serving as the host and creater of Paw Pals Storytime! 

Please click the link to read more about this great community activity promoting reading. Congratulations, Paulina!

Paw Pals Storytime

 

Brilliant Bulletin Board - Cold Harbor Elementary School

When it comes to bulletin boards, the librarian in Cold Harbor Elementary school in Mechanicsville VA is brilliant! JP's own Sandy Leonard was thrilled to come across the bulletin boards pictured here on one of her visits to the school. What is so impressive about these boards? The fact that the librarian put them up in an effort to help the students make connections to the classroom learning in an open environment. Says Ms. Leonard, "The questions on the boards make the students think without teacher direction, and help them make personal connections to their learning as well as increased student interest in areas they might not have otherwise pursued." 

For example, one board was about Nelson Mandela. There were quotes from him and the students were asked to tell, in their own words, what he meant by that quote or what they would do if they were in his place. Students then posted their responses on the board. Another board was about the planets and what students would weigh or what age would they be if they were on a certain planet. The librarian had a calculator and the equation for figuring out the problem and a conversion chart for each planet. Again, the students were able to post their answers on the board.

JP sends our biggest congratulations to Cold Harbor Elementary for coming up with such a fabulous idea. Like we said, BRILLIANT!

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