Educators must make a commitment to approach challenges in a positive way, by helping students find their passion as they prepare for a world vastly different than the one we faced. We cannot change the students who come into our schools; rather, we must change our approach to working with them. We must commit to proactively serving students by anticipating their needs.
We can predict that students will experience frustration, confusion, and perhaps failure in the absence of clearly articulated routines, structures, and expectations for their learning environment. Over the years, as we have worked with many staffs in a number of school districts, our repertoire of strategies for improving student behavior and overall educational effectiveness has evolved. While there can be no complete, exhaustive list of strategies for making a difference with students, we hope that those presented in our book will help you and your school community get to a place where staff, students, and community members can answer “Yes!” to the following ten questions (Hierck, 2009a):
1. Does everyone in our school agree on why we are here?
2. Does everyone really believe we can make a difference for all kids?
3. In terms of making a difference, do we have a common school-wide vision?
4. Are clear and specific school-wide systems in place to make our vision a reality?
5. Are classroom plans in place that match the school-wide systems?
6. Are individual student support options in place?
7. Do procedures in the office support the school, classroom, and individual plans?
8. Does every adult talk about these plans openly, regularly, and systematically?
9. Do we know, with measurable evidence, that the plans are making a difference?
10. If our plans are not making a difference, are we willing to try something new?
I hope you'll enjoy the book and look forward to any feedback you might want to share.