The task of educating all students is becoming more and more complicated. Anxiety and depression in children and teens are present much more frequently, and often undiagnosed. The suicide rate for teens is on the rise. Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) and their negative impact are being recognized in more and more students. Poverty is not just found in the urban schools, but is now prevalent in most suburban and rural schools as well. So many teachers and administrators are stressed out due to higher demands and insufficient resources.

The codes of conduct and punitive discipline systems that most schools have traditionally used, are not effective for ALL students, which leaves a percentage of behaviorally challenging students for teachers and administrators to deal with. Behaviorally-based approaches such as Classroom DOJO, traffic lights, and even Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports (PBIS) work for some students, but for our most challenging students, these approaches often have a negative impact on behavior.

As a result of over ten years of working with challenging students and studying the policies, procedures and systems that schools have in place to “manage” behavior, I developed The Collaborative Classroom approach to discipline. This is a whole school approach, and involves a systematic progression of professional development for educators, beginning with the whole school culture and climate and moving all the way to specific research-based classroom practices.

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The Collaborative Classroom Approach is based on the following assumptions:

  • Student connectedness to at least one adult in the school is critical

  • A child must feel emotionally safe in their learning environment in order to learn

  • All challenging behavior has been TRIGGERED in some way

  • All challenging behavior has a ROOT CAUSE related to cognitive skill deficits

  • Working with students COLLABORATIVELY solves problems and simultaneously builds their skills and strengthens your relationship.