Wednesday, December 19, 2012

New Year's Resolution: 26 Acts of Kindness

Hi All,
Sorry for the delay in posting!  We are finalizing the publishing of Jim's book and will have it available just after the holidays and we are very excited!  Leaving for a few weeks of warm weather and family time with our Louisiana family.  We plan to hug our children and grandbabies just a little tighter and a little longer this year.  We have 3 grandchildren in kindergarten and our hearts are broken for the families in Newtown, Connecticut. 

Jim and I have decided that our New Year's Resolution this coming year will be to do"26 Meaningful Acts of Kindness" in memory of those lost in the tragedy. 

May you experience love, kindness, warmth, tenderness and closeness this holiday season.

Jim and Jan Campain

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Jim's Book Cover and Excerpt

As promised, here is the cover of Jim's Book and an excerpt in one of the chapters...
"We need some stability around here”, is a line spoken by Old Mr. in the movie, “The Color Purple.”  This line could serve as the mission statement of a principal in New Hampshire with whom we worked. He was tasked with bringing order and raising academic standards to a small but out- of- control high school.  At first glimpse, this stocky, former Marine with the requisite crew cut and tattoos on his forearm, caused one to wonder if his style of increasing stability was going to be a good match with the demands of the school.  Turns out it was just what the doctor ordered.  It only took two days of us training his staff and spending time in his building to learn that his tough exterior housed a heart of gold.  We watched as he spent each lunch period in the cafeteria,  knew every student by name and comfortably roamed from table to table, engaging students in relevant conversations ranging from movies to music to clothing to cars and motorcycles.  He even seemed to linger longer at the “peanut-free” table he had created for the handful of students who required such an environment.   His urban legend grew the day he jumped up from behind his desk and chased a student across the front lawn of the school, collared him and brought him back into the office to finish their conversation, all in view of classrooms filled with cheering students!  He wasn’t about to give up on that particular student, and those witnessing the scene felt convinced that he wouldn’t quit on them either.  His mantra was, “If it helps students, we’ll find a way to get it done!”

Friday, November 9, 2012

Sneak Peak of Jim's Book

So much interest since we announced that Jim's Book, Untapped Power: Harnessing the Unbridled Power of Our Youth, has gone to press! So, here are some of the chapter titles:
  1. "Crazy Enough to Care"
  2. "The Boy Who Loved to Go to Church"
  3. "Men in Tights"
  4. "Music Saved My Life"
  5. "Did You Know Abraham Lincoln"
  6. "Heart Attack at 70 MPH's"
You should see the cover!  That up next!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Jim's Book Coming Soon!

OK...Jim's book just went to press!  Look for it soon as we will be announcing Untapped Power: or How To Harness the Unbridled Power of Youth, by Jim Campain.
Anyone who works with youth and communities will want to get this!
More soon!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

2012 STEMtech Conference

We will be presenting at the 2012 STEMtech Conference in Kansas City on Monday, October 29th at 8:00 a.m.  Our presentation will be about discovering the tools necessary for building a classroom that floats with clearly defined limits, mutual respect and warm emotional support.  We asked participants to come and discuss why teaching discipline is just as important as teaching the curriculum. 
Will update you on how it goes!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

There is so much renewed interest in finding a process to empower students to become agents of change that we are very excited to announce we have just completed our Training Manual for Student-Led Campaigns that addresses culture and climate issues that the students themselves identify! (One of the most identified issues is regarding disenfranchised youth and feeling disconnected from the school and adults)  We have assisted over 60 schools and communities across 20 states and have addressed such issues as graduation rates, attendance rates, advancing homework completion and assignment rates, respect, stress, texting and driving, teen pregnancy, alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, and parents supporting parents
What is a Concierge Approach Campaign?

The Concierge Approach is the service-product solution that helps improve upon particular school culture and climate challenges, because it delivers specifically customized and effective turnkey campaigns backed by research-based proven solutions.
The Concierge Approach is built on a convergence of theories that organize, empower and mobilize groups of people to identify and implement solutions to the very problems that challenge them.  This strength-based approach draws from the theories and practices of normative education, the science of change, the power of influence, social norms and social marketing, resulting in a community-based call to action.

The Concierge Approach is:

· A Call-To-Action for students to become the “carriers of the social epidemic”

·       An evidence-based strategy, universally applied

·       Driven by relevant and current data

·       A way to shine the light on health 

·       Strength-based approach
  •     A positive way to engage students and community as agents of change
·       A student implemented-adult facilitated strategy

·       Re-energizing to staff and community

·       Showing positive outcomes

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

"Chances" Vs. "Choices"

At times, it seems that the two words, "chances" and "choices", are used interchangeably, but that would be incorrect.  A chance is a behavior or making a decision that I hope will turn out OK.  If I throw three balls at a carnival doll, there is a chance I might knock it over and win a prize. If I sit at a slot machine or a card table, there is a chance I might win.  A chance places many of the factors for a positive outcome external to me.   If I continue to misbehave in the classroom or in life because I understand that I have been granted two mulligans, I realize that I really don’t have to get serious the first two times.  Conversely, a choice gives me the opportunity to make a correct or healthy decision immediately.  A choice puts the power in my hands and gives me a real life experience to do the right thing.

When given multiple chances to do the right thing, there is an implied agreement that I will not be held accountable the first two times.  Have we ever heard a five year old, or an adult for that matter, say, “Give me one more choice?”  Likely not, because the implicit message in a choice is the agreement that I am capable of making an appropriate decision and the responsibility to do so is mine.  Culturally it seems we have been on a slippery slope when using these two words interchangeably.  We want to avoid the danger in contributing to the “normalization of excuse-making.” 

Your thoughts are welcome!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

3 Chances-A Culture of Normalized Excuses

Ever think about how much instructional and learning time is WASTED by giving multiple warnings and repeated requests like “3 strikes and you’re out”, “3 spots on the frog and you don’t get a prize”, “3 steps up a ladder and you get time out”.  Think about how athletes get 3 failed drug tests before they are kicked off the team.  Are we training our children and youth to take every opportunity to disrupt the learning process up until the point where something negative will happen?  I REALLY believe that students can learn to self-correct with just one request.  It’s all in the expectations you set, the consistent adherence and the techniques you use.  Perhaps the most important characteristic of good parents is that they don’t have to “say it twice”.  In reality, they don’t CHOOSE to say it twice!!!  As we train teachers in "Time to Teach", this is one of the most popular components that allow teachers more time to teach and students more time to learn.

 Next blog…”Chances” vs. “Choices”

Monday, October 8, 2012

Avoiding Power Struggles

One of the main components of “Time To Teach” is that of Self-Control.  There is strong emphasis on remaining calm, responding right and avoiding power struggles.  We should not allow ourselves, as teachers and school personnel, to continually be frustrated, react negatively and be drawn into conflict.  Instead, it is important to practice strategies that allow learning to continue, even when students act in challenging and disruptive ways. 
Some vital behaviors you can use tomorrow are:
* Use wait time of at least 10 seconds by being still and allowing the student to self-correct. 
* Respect personal space of 1 1/2 to 3 feet by backing away
* Rick Dahlgren of Time to Teach says, "Be Horatio Caine, not Dog the Bounty Hunter"
In only a 1-Day staff development training, you can learn so many more practical strategies like:
Using "Push-Asides" Vs. "Walk-Aways" and using "Diffusers"
Want more information...don't hesitate to let us know.
Jim Campain, LCSW

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Take Care of Yourself As You Take Care of Others!

I KNOW that all my friends "out there" work so hard and continually see to the needs and wants of others.  So........don't forget about yourself and how important YOU are!!!
Need a healthy pick-me-up? Reach for this smoothie:

1 scoop protein powder (whatever you like...I like Garden of Life Raw Veggie Protein)
1/2 banana frozen
1 handful spinach leaves
1 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 cup Pomegranate Juice
1/2 cup Orange Juice
Enjoy!!! Take Care of Yourself!!! You always take care of others!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Awesome Activity Suggestion!

There is so much research about all the benefits of “connected” kids.  The “Wingspread Declaration on School Connections” says that one of the most effective strategies for increasing the likelihood that students will be connected to school is to ensure that every student feels close to at least one supportive and caring adult at school. 

Here is an activity we have not only used, but have taught others about:

·         Teachers will circulate a current yearbook, making sure that all faculty and staff members get a chance to look through it. 

·         Each teacher and staff member will mark the picture of every student that they know and have enough of a relationship with to be able to check with the student about how school life is progressing, comment on positive extracurricular activities that student is involved in, learn of their interests and talents, and be able to confront them if any challenging situation arises. 

·         After every adult has had the opportunity to mark the students they know, a review is done and documentation is noted of all the students who have no marks by their pictures.  In this way, everyone is now aware of the students who are not necessarily bonded and connected and who may have no caring adult at school that they can go to. 

·         Now, teachers will meet and make commitments regarding the identified “disconnected” students they will make efforts to connect with and to get to know, making sure that every student knows they have an adult they can count on.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Benefits of Time To Teach for Parents

  • Parents will appreciate their children being in an orderly and disciplined classroom
  • After school, parents will be glad to greet happy and productive kids rather than ones frustrated by a day spent in a chaotic classroom
  • Parents will have the assurance that their children are spending more time learning than being subjected to repeated disruptions

Friday, September 14, 2012

Time To Teach! Benefits for Principals and Administrators

Time To Teach! Benefits to Principals and Administrators
  • Relieves you of petty disciplinary responsibilities and frees you to supervise education
  • Allows you to spend more positive time with students
  • Brings greater parent support
  • Lowers stress levels
  • Allows you to actually supervise instruction, review curriculum and develop new programs
  • Allows you more time to do what you love, what you were trained to do, what you are passionate about and what you were hired to do

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Time To Teach Benefits for Teachers

I will always remember my first teaching job where I was hired the night before school and was assigned 4 different "preps" in my MINOR, no less.  It was "do or die", "sink or swim" and many other cliches I can think of.  I NEEDED this job! Most memorable was the fact that I really didn't get much training in college regarding classroom management and discipline.  While being able to deal with content, it was the daily disruptions that were most challenging! 

Here are a few of the benefits of the Time To Teach one-day training that, upon reflection of my own experences, I thought to be profound:
  • Teacher energy, formerly drained by repeated misbehavior, can now be poured into instructional duties
  • Time to Teach is based on fair and positive interactions with students so it allows teachers to maintain a positive tone
  • Students write their OWN "Refocus" forms which is actual documentation that saves teachers enormous amounts of time
  • This one-day training empowers teachers to use techniques learned the very next day!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Maximizing the Time In Schools

Have you ever been frustrated that too much instructional time is wasted on the discipline of just a few students who seem to always cause disruptions? 

What do you think could be some solutions?

Students who are usually well-behaved seem to be the ones forced to:

·         Be captive audiences for annoying teacher/student confrontations

·         Donate their valuable learning time to unruly students

·         Listen to lectures about matters that don’t concern them

·         Hear embarrassing student/teacher debates

·         Be placed in the uncomfortable position of taking sides

·         Take the fallout when the teacher and student reach an unbearable limit

Monday, September 3, 2012

Please Share Your Thoughts!

Happy Labor Day!  This week and next, please stay tuned and check in often as we explore the benefits of the Time To Teach! classroom management and discipline strategies and please join in the discussions.  We will be exploring the benefits to teachers, to students, to administrators and to parents.  Please share the website: with your friends and colleagues to join in the discussion!  We greatly value your opinions.

Getting started, here are a few questions to consider:

Does your school’s discipline system require teachers to:

1.      Keep all kinds of lists documenting who was warned and how many times?

2.      Keep all kinds of records documenting results of repeated warnings and multiple requests?

3.      Fill out elaborate referrals to administrators before ANY problem can be addressed?

4.      Carefully document every student/teacher/parent interaction?

5.      Does your school even have a concerted plan and effort?

6.      Do you need more work to do???


Please share your thoughts on this website by posting a comment!

Friday, August 31, 2012


MOST SCHOOLS are well underway and we have heard from many teachers and administrators who are now evaluating standardized test scores from last spring.  Many are not satisfied.  Reading the data for schools that have implemented Time To Teach!, I am amazed at how test scores have increased!  A California middle school reports going from 30% to 90% on the math section after only a few years of teachers being trained in Time To Teach!  Additionally, principals report reduction of discipline referrals by 70% and an 80-90% decrease in pesky, low-level behaviors in actual classrooms.  They are reporting that they are much more able to be in classrooms and connecting with students than spending time on discipline matters.  Teachers are reporting having more time to do what they love and are finding so much more reward and satisfaction and aren't so exhausted when they get home.  Contrary to popular belief, teachers have lives and very interesting and important lives at that!!!

As administrators and teachers continue to search for ways to help students improve test scores, many are finding the actual data of Time To Teach! schools fascinating.  It’s NOT that the adults in schools aren’t working hard; they are giving so much time and energy in efforts to help students be successful and, in many cases, are exhausted!  So, let me encourage you to look at the actual data, consider how a one-day training would look if implemented at your school and make an informed decision to finally INVEST in a proven strategy that would truly make a difference in test scores, productivity, less wasted time and energy and renewed interest and excitement by students and the adults!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Making It Happen!

Teachers and principals have indicated that they would love to have staff trained in Time To Teach! but express concern regarding limited budgets.  Here’s an idea…leverage costs by inviting another school or other schools to join you and share the costs for the one day training!  It is what many schools across the country are doing and are seeing great results. 
Contact us to talk about the many possibilities.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Time To Teach! Teach with passion, manage with compassion.

The best marketers are advising businesses that most people want products that are “quick, cheap and easy”, while still expecting the same level of quality as in the past.  The image that quick, cheap and easy conjures up doesn’t sit well with us because it implies a sub-standard product.  While that mentality may be something we sometimes feel forced to live with, such as in the educational world, we would encourage you to reframe it differently.  Instead of quick, think “time-efficient”.  Instead of cheap, substitute the word, “cost-effective”.  For the word easy, replace it with “doable” and “manageable”.  This reframe allows us to maintain high standards even with limited resources of time, treasures and talent.

Time To Teach! is an evidence-based strategy that accommodates limited time because it is a one-day training that returns to teachers’ valuable instructional time almost immediately.  Additionally, it is very cost-effective, requiring only the standard training fee and the Training Resource Manual.  Thirdly, implementation is very doable and manageable as teachers report utilizing the concepts and skills the very next day.

Your influence and impact with your students is priceless.  Don’t settle for quick, cheap and easy!  Learn more.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Back To Work!!!

Next week I will be presenting a workshop at the annual National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC) in Indianapolis.  The theme of the conference is "Leading the Way" and I will be encouraging participants to be bold and to try something different.  My presentation will focus on empowering youth to Lead the Way to improve conditions and address school culture and risky teen behavior. 

I am an advocate for putting youth in the driver's seat instead of the back seat.  Adults can navigate and help steer through rough patches in the road,  however the majority of the driving should be done by the next generation of decision-makers.  Examples of this type of movement that we hav been involved in include: 
(1.) youth in Montana reclaimed an area around the high school football field where adults drank while watching the football games,
(2.) students at a Pennsylvania high school successfully negotiated for a "Homework Free Wednesday" once per month at a school who was addressing a serious stress problem,
(3.) Texas students took charge of creating new traditions to replace previously banned activities and events by changing student behavior and increasing personal responsibility and
(4.) a Massachusetts "Take it Back Night" was led by youth who challenged adults in the community to face a generational problem of alcohol and heroin abuse.

Young people across the country represent an often untapped power.  Youth can provide a resource for change when we enlist them in seeking solutions through authentic work, to address any number of issues facing our schools and communities. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

After Memorial Day, Jan and I decided to get a little rest and relaxation in beautiful Rocky Mountain National Park, just an hour from our front door.  Because the snow melt is filling the rivers and streams, everything is in bloom, including the groves of Aspen trees which are green now and will turn a brilliant gold in the fall.  The story of the Aspen is one that has always fascinated me due to the fact that a grove or colony of Aspen, acres wide, comes from one seedling.  The colony shares a common root system and, while individual trees can live to be 150 years old, a grove of Aspen in Utah is estimated to be 80,000 years old!  As trees age and die off, saplings are constantly replacing them.  Young saplings do best in direct sunlight which means that they typically burst through the soil slightly away from the shade of other Aspen, ensuring that the grove will expand and continue to grow.

The story of the Aspen is a wonderful metaphor for a community, and a school which forms a community in its own right.  While speaking with a small group of teachers a few days ago about our excitement for the Time To Teach! strategy, they lamented the fact that their school currently had a hodgepodge of classroom management styles in place and lacked a common vision to find greater consistency.  Some teachers were apparently implementing certain aspects of Time To Teach!, but were not using it with its intended fidelity and were only experiencing limited success.  Other teachers were not aware of Time To Teach! or any other classroom management system and appeared to be using whatever bits and pieces they had accumulated over the years.  To apply the metaphor of the Aspen, the members of this teaching community lack a common root system, one which is capable of nurturing new growth and the formation of strong teachers, teaching to behavioral expectations, assisting students to become more accountable for their own choices, minimizing classroom disruptions and raising academic performance.    After sharing the Time To Teach! strategy with those teachers, we parted ways with a renewed enthusiasm to reconnect in the fall and begin to work together.

Jan and I wish you a restful and rejuvenated summer as you look forward to a new fall.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Early in my career (Jim), I had the opportunity to work with Foster Cline, M.D.  Dr. Cline was a child and adolescent psychiatrist who specialized in treating unattached children.  He made a statement three decades ago that “many things need to be learned but often aren’t taught.”  As Jan and I received training to become Associates for the Center for Teacher Effectiveness’ “Time to Teach” strategy, these words are as relevant today as they were then.

Educators agree that a growing number of children entering school today are unprepared for many of the expectations of school life.  Researchers at the Center for Teacher Effectiveness have discovered that minor, seemingly innocuous events, constitute the overwhelming majority of distractions that throw teachers off their stride and impact the learning environment.  Rather than lament the lack of early childhood preparation for schools and claim, “ain’t it awful” while pointing fingers, CTE has developed “Teach-To’s”  that allow teachers to establish firm and fair expectations and boundaries for the classroom.  Appropriate school decorum may represent a set of unknowns for many students so it makes perfect sense to teach these expectations and get everyone on the same page.  Teachers who utilize the “Teach-To’s”, along with the other components of Time to Teach report far fewer distractions, an increase in the amount of time devoted to direct instruction and better performance by students.  The “Teach To’s clearly represent the critical vital behaviors that lead to stronger educational and behavioral outcomes everyone is seeking today.  It allows us to address Dr. Cline’s observation by teaching those essential expectations that all students must learn. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Ever attended meetings where the people meet only to plan another meeting?  I came across this poem, again, and thought of all you "Difference-Makers" & "GameChangers" who get frustrated by the red tape and bureaucracy that occurs in the world of education because of the lack of courageous and creative ACTIONS like putting students in charge of solving their own problems and like sending teachers to trainings that they can actually implement on day 1 that makes a difference and like enlisting parents to start their own movement supporting each other as they strive to raise productive and respectful children!!! :

I'm Afraid I Can't Attend the Next Meeting
by Sureva Towler
published in Crazy Woman Creek, Women Rewrite the American West

Because I don't want to
hear any more bold, imaginative new ideas,
revisit the mission statement,
review another set of minutes
be empowered.

Because I'm tired of partnerships, coalitions and collaboration,
assessing resources
strategic planning
checking the e-mail.

Because I don't need another
bigger-than-life item on my resume,
a membership card,
tax exemption.

Because I want to
effect change rather than discuss it,
have a bake sale instead of doing lunch,
do something, anything,
have another meeting.

Listen up sister.
It's time to toss the Day-Timer,
get off the Internet and into the streets.
Because meetings may be cool,
that ain't where it's at.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Jim & Jan are now Time To Teach Associates!

Here we are with Rick Dahlgren, President and CEO of the Center for Teacher Effectiveness, Time To Teach.  Jim and I are now Time To Teach Associates and stand ready to assist you with your professional development and teacher training plans.  Time To Teach is a APPLICATION based strategy that is proven to restore lost time to teachers and students in a way that is simple, fair and mutually respectful.  You can do this and it is a real difference maker and gamechanger!  For more information, please contact us at or

Saturday, April 21, 2012

What Does That Even Mean?

We often think and talk in terms of outcomes.  For example, we make statements like, "You need to graduate" or "Our students need to attend school more often".  Jim and I have become very sensitive to all the education disscussions and town hall style meetings that seem to permeate the news programs, where they seem to only restate the problems. 

We continually train faculty/staff/administrators, parents and the students themselves to talk in terms of "Vital Behaviors"...actual steps it takes to get to the outcomes you want!  One school whose graduation rates were unacceptable, came up with a 5-prong plan developed by the students and adopted by the superintendent.   A parent group kept meeting with the goal of improving student attendance.  We worked with them through town hall style meetings, key informant interviews, community walkabouts and formal surveys.  Additionally, we worked extensively with the students themselves regarding positive deviance...the reasons why the students with perfect or near-perfect attendance came to school and we also asked for the steps they took to make sure they did attend.  Amazing results occurred.  Students, parents and teachers were armed and empowered with actual steps to take, all working together in a synchronized effort that the students themselves created and supported!

Let me continue to encourage us all that every time we hear a problem statement and a desired outcome, to automatically think of Vital Behaviors that could be implemented that would lead to improvement.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


COURSE OVERVIEW: Engaging students as Agents of Change, capable of influencing the climate of a school, may be the best kept secret in the world of school improvement.  Consider this:

·         Students make up roughly 90% of individuals on a typical high school campus, yet rarely speak in a collective voice regarding issues of school life

·         Students comprise one of three major stakeholder groups vested in the culture of a school (staff/faculty and parents making up the other two groups) but don’t have a seat at the table to  have input into critical decisions

·         Most adults work easily with the traditional leaders of a school but are looking for the skills to work with “difficult populations” who, in reality, may be the students whose gifts and talents are underutilized, resulting in feelings of disenfranchisement and disconnectedness.

Strengthening student engagement in school is a core area identified through research and by state and federal authorities that shows evidence of supporting school success.  Research into the field of influence and persuasion tells us of the power that exists within our social networks and that influencers among us are constantly observing our actions and persuading others to either join or resist these efforts-whether we like it or not.  They further go on to encourage us to embrace and enlist this influence rather than lament or deny it.  This may never be more accurate than in the halls of a school where highly networked and influential students have the power to support or doom an adult decision or practice with a subtle sigh, scoff, snicker, raised eyebrows, or, worse yet, a lightning quick expression with the click of a few keys. 

This one day staff development course will teach a model designed to:

1.       Help participants appreciate the realities of influence and technology

2.       Discuss and demonstrate the advantages of including 90% of the people on campus in planning and decision-making

3.       Discover the difference between a leader and an influencer and gain access into the power they hold

4.       Learn techniques to harness this influence and move forward for the good of all

Monday, April 9, 2012

Talk to the Machine???

We conduct trainings on site instead of selling videos and how-to manuals.  In a world where too many times machines replace workers and talents are outsourced to technology, there is a demand for human contact, personal touch and connections and collaborations among professionals.  In fact, economists and marketing specialists remind us that large corporations envy the fact that small businesses can provide "closeness to the customer" that large organizations cannot. 

Maintaining "closeness to the customer" translates into speed:  speed of trust, speed of decision-making, speed of problem solving and speed of course correction where needed.  We feel that we can truly listen and effectively and efficiently become partners who join you in your good work.  We strongly acknowledge and value the giftings and talents of the champions we have the awesome privilege of working with. 

As there are many choices for similar products and services, the difference maker and game changer still lies in connecting with people and in understanding their needs and providing excellent customer service.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Working With "Difficult Populations"

While doing some research, I discovered that a huge emphasis on Staff and Professional Development will require best practices training for working with what is now referred to as "difficult populations."  The problem statement might be summed up like this:

Most adults work easily with the traditional leaders of a school but are looking for the skills to work with “difficult populations”

Working with over 60 schools across 20 states, we have found that a real "GAMECHANGER" can be in understanding the difference between a "leader" and an "influencer".  Adults will quickly seek the input of "traditional" leaders like the Student Council president, the captain of the soccer team, the Lead in the annual musical, etc.  However, there are so many more "influencers" who are GREATLY affecting the culture and climate at any given site.  Instead of lamenting this fact, we empower people to harness that influence and power!  You see, it's possible, that students being identified as "difficult populations", in reality, may be the students whose gifts, talents, opinions and thoughts are underutilized and underincorporated, resulting in feelings of disenfranchisement and disconnectedness.  No doubt that there are those with addiction issues, mental health challenges, and any number of issues affecting their behavior in school who do need additional services.  But we are saying that many young people are thrown into a category and labelled as "difficult" when, in reality, they may have never been given skills, opportunity and recognition they are seeking.

We will be announcing a 1-Day Professional Development training called "Harnessing the Untapped Power Hiding in Plain Sight". 

Want a sneak peek or more information Email me at:

Friday, March 23, 2012

Getting the Results You Hope For? Want Others to Join You in Your Work?

Let me challenge you to:

1.       Think Differently
2.       Act Differently
3.       Achieve Differently

In today’s economy, school budgets are significantly smaller, leading to teacher lay-offs, leading to larger class sizes, leading to increase in teacher workload, leading to teacher frustration and not feeling valued.  So much responsibility is placed upon one segment of the educational system, faculty and staff.  We hear the outcry from teachers asking other stakeholders to share in school improvement and academic achievement, namely the students themselves and their parents! 

If you are a faculty/staff member, you have an ally with us!  It is our sincere belief that often we expect action from people who probably have never been organized, empowered or mobilized to share the work.  We must believe that most people want to do the right thing most of the time.  Maybe the problem isn’t with the desire, but in the design. 

I learned a valuable lesson as a varsity basketball coach.  I whined and complained that the parents never got involved or rarely committed to helping.  A parent said to me, “If you really want us to help, just tell us exactly what you want.”  “Tell us specifically that you want brownies at the gym every Thursday at 3:00.”  Let’s organize, empower and mobilize the students themselves, and yes, even the parents, to become “carriers” of school and community improvement!  Let’s stop assuming that others know what to do and how to do it.  What we can and should do is to provide skills, opportunity and recognition so that others can join us in our work.

Feel free to contact me at

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Does the Concierge Approach Align with the SPF?

As coalitions and agencies write and submit their strategic plans for the upcoming fiscal year, it is important to note that our staff has extensive experience regarding SAMHSA'S Strategic Prevention Framework that grantees must adhere to. The Concierge Approach™ absolutely aligns with SAMHSA’S Strategic Prevention Framework.

The Strategic Prevention Framework steps include:  Assessment, Capacity Building, Planning, Implementation and Evaluation.

The Concierge Approach™ Steps:

Phase 1: Planning & Training (organize& empower)

Phase 2: Data Collection & Information Gathering (assess target audience & target issue)

Phase 3: Campaign Development (create campaign branding & marketing plan)

Phase 4: Campaign Implementation (empower/ mobilize/ call to action)

Phase 5: Review & Evaluate (is anyone better off?)

You will notice that Assessment, Capacity Building and Planning occur throughout Phases 1, 2 and 3 of The Concierge Approach™.

Implementation of the SPF aligns with The Concierge Approach™, Phase 4.

Evaluation occurs in The Concierge Approach™ Phase 5.

We have collaborated with many sites as they write their strategic plans that meet the requirements of the funders and wish you the best as you continue your efforts!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Can Employee Satisfaction Equal Great Customer Service?

Competition can be great within companies as they compete for the same markets offering similar products.  The real “gamechanger” may be GREAT (not just good) customer service!  Many believe that employees who are bonded and attached to their company may be the best kept secret in improving customer service.  Being bonded and attached is not enough, I would argue.  Utilizing Hawkins and Catalano’s “Social Development Strategy”, your employees need skills, opportunity and recognition.  When you provide skills, opportunity and recognition appropriately, with fidelity and with cultural competency, a natural outcome might just be improved employee satisfaction and greater customer service to consumers of your products. 
Is there a process that can be implemented?  Consider organizing, empowering and mobilizing your existing workforce to be the very carriers of the behaviors your company desires. 
  1. Data Collection and Needs Assessment
  2. Strategic Planning and Implementation
  3. Evaluation and Sustainability.
Valuing your employees can lead to a natural outcome of employee satisfaction.  Then, employee satisfaction can lead to great customer service which, in turn, could lead to capturing a greater share of the market in a competitive world of similar products and services.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Youth Listen To Youth

While researching some material for a new book, I was reviewing the writings of Nancy Tobler, PhD.  I had become a big fan when I was the Student Assistance Coordinator for our local school district.  She had made a tremendous contribution to the field of prevention with the completion of her meta-analysis of 120 prevention programs available for children and adolescents.  I relied on her findings when making curricular and programming decisions for our students and prevention specialists and much of her writing contributes to what many people refer to as research-based or evidence-based material.

The following statement caught my eye and was new to me; “During adolescence, establishing relationships with peers takes priority over those with adults.  Groups offer support and define reality for adolescents and furnish an excellent opportunity to challenge the almost universal tendency of adolescents to overestimate the extent of drug use among their peers.” 
These two sentences capture the essence of what our student-implemented campaigns are intended to accomplish.  Through custom designed surveys and focus group interactions, the data we collect confirms what Dr. Tobler stated; that teens consistently overestimate the extent of negative behavior of their peers.  When such a misperception exists, teens are more at risk to engage in similar behavior or attitudes because of a second universal tendency, that of wanting to belong and fit in.  When these youth become the collective voice exclaiming that most teen behavior is actually healthier than they presume and market this reality in an edgy and youth-centric fashion, meaningful things can happen.  Youth listen to youth as Dr. Tobler points out. We need to capitalize on this reality. 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Managing Environmental Strategies Vs. One-Time Events

It’s no secret that funding is awarded to coalitions whose strategic plans include implementation of environmental strategies.  Evidence shows that environmental strategies implemented over time produce measurable results.  However, we have heard from many who wonder if implementation has to be so complicated.  Absolutely not!  The manageability secret lies in the design of your campaign and is directly related to the level of engagement of your coalition members and key stakeholders.

Level 1:  Newly formed or newly funded coalitions might want to begin their efforts at the “Readiness Assessment and Capacity Building” level.  Specific components that are of greatest benefit to them as we work together are:

·         Exploring the “Essential Steps to a Successful Campaign”

·         Rating the strength of each of the essential steps

·         Determining strategies to build capacity where needed

·         Gaining buy-in from additional key stakeholders

·         Creating timelines, assigning tasks, developing roles, responsibilities and next steps

Level 2:  Coalitions that have made the decision to implement a social norms campaign and have all the essential components in place are ready to begin the training and implementation phase.  At this level, communities partner with us to:

·         Receive training of all coalition members, key stakeholders and interested community members

·         Secure buy-in and community support

·         Assign roles and responsibilities and create timelines

·         Assess current data and gather additional local, relevant data specific to the campaign

·         Supply input into message development, branding of the campaign and marketing design

·         Students and other target audiences are recruited and trained, campaign is rolled out, implemented and plans for sustainability are built

Level 3:   When a community feels stuck and frustrated because their social norms campaigns did not achieve the results they had hoped for hope to assess successes and challenges and make course corrections that bring success and maximizes the investment in time, treasures and talents that they have already made.  There are a number of reasons why communities find themselves at this level of disappointment.  For these coalitions, the following boosters have proven helpful:

·         Review, evaluate areas of effectiveness, troubleshoot and plan for course correction

·         Recruit new members and key stakeholders

·         Reenergize target audience

·         Refresh campaign branding and design

·         Improve connection between messaging and activities and events that support the message

·         Retrain key stakeholders
We hope that you remain excited about implementing the Social Norms strategy to address your target issue.  Don’t hesitate to contact us to collaborate on the design of your campaign to make implementation manageable.