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Appendix I: “Transform Your School” (TYS) School-Wide Student Discipline, Motivation, Character Building and Peer Mediation Program


Transformative Management can leave the walls of the individual classroom and be used school-wide. This program is entitled “Transform Your School” or TYS. It is aligned with the ASSC school climate assessment and improvement framework and the SCAI and the principles from the book Transformative Classroom Management. The program provides a comprehensive program for behavioral improvement that includes discipline, motivation, character development, and peer mediation/conflict resolution. It is designed for schools at the K-8 level.


Features of the Program:

·         Combines student behavior, character building and peer mediation/conflict resolution into one comprehensive school-wide program

·         Promotes long-term motivational and behavioral improvement

·         Promotes school pride, positive climate, and sense of school community

·         Encourages whole-staff coherence and school-wide continuity of behavioral expectations

·         Integrates expectations across the classroom, PE, special subjects, playground, lunchroom, and other school functions

·         Builds students’ internal locus of control and “success psychology” contributes to students’ academic achievement and social growth


Contrast to other School-Wide Discipline Programs:

·         No use of bribes and limited use of extrinsic rewards

·         No use of public shame or comparison.

·         Minimal cost to maintain

·         Shifts focus from the negative to the positive

·         Peer mediators are leaders rather than junior police


System Themes

The key to the program is that it takes a positive approach at building a concrete, specific, and personal understanding of quality behavior. It features a few strategic behavioral themes. These themes can be modified to suit the needs of a particular school but typically include most of the following concepts:

    • Cooperation
    • Effort/Trying
    • Respect/Sportsmanship
    • Attention/Listening
    • Responsibility
    • Positive Attitude


Within the TYS program these themes are taught, modeled, assessed, and reinforced throughout the students’ experience across the school. Recommended applications of the themes include the following:

  • Incorporated school-wide as part of a “theme of the month” focus.
  • Incorporated within the class to promote higher levels of performance and improved behavior quality.
  • Positive recognition of high quality behavior is recognized with the use of cards (e.g., “cougar cards” or the nickname/mascot of your school) as well as other forms of positive recognition.
  • Reinforced on the playground to encourage high quality behavior and related concepts across different school environments.
  • Incorporated in PE and other special subjects to reinforce both character and behavioral expectations and provide continuity.
  • Conflict resolution is facilitated by trained student peer CRLs (conflict resolution leaders).


Classroom Level Features:

  • System with rubric for assessing behavior and/or participation
  • Lesson plans for different character areas and conflict resolution
  • Build concepts into lessons and discussions by monthly theme
  • Facilitative teacher role (positive recognitions and reinforce or concepts rather than giver of punishment or shame)


Playground Level:

  • Playground staff gives positive recognition and cards (e.g., “cougar cards”)
  • Use loss of time as a negative consequence
  • No shame, no negative use of the system, and no public recognition of undesirable behavior.


PE, Special Subjects and Out-of-Classroom Interactions:

  • Participation rubric becomes the primary focus of assessment
  • Use of themes in projects games and activities
  • “Catch a student being good” capacity for all adults on campus


Conflict Resolution/Peer Mediation:

  • Incorporates principles of nationally-recognized CRETE program
  • Student peer conflict resolution leaders on-duty at recess
  • Conflict resolution lessons taught in classes
  • School-wide expectation that students possess the capacity to solve their own problems and learn from their conflict.



Three levels of Program Application


The TYS Program is designed to meet the needs of schools at all levels of functioning:

  1. Stage 1. Schools that see student behavior as a weakness and have a need for a coherent system to improve it.
  2. Stage 2. Schools that want to become more consistent with their expectations across domains of the school.
  3. Stage 3. Schools that want to move toward 1-Style classrooms for students who think more self-responsibly and who want to shift toward a community-type school climate


Resources to support the TYS Program:

  • Workshops and Readings
    • Transformative Classroom Management (TCM)
    • Conflict resolution training for students and teachers
    • How to create classroom behavioral assessment systems including sound rubrics (Chapter 20)
    • Healthy Use of Rewards (Chapter 6) and how to use cards effectively
    • The Fundamentals of Building a Success Psychology in the School (Chapter 7).


What Training is Needed to Implement the TYS Program?

  • Whole school development and decision making related to essential terms and elements of the system
  • Support staff use of recognition cards
  • Teacher workshops related to:
    • Basics of TCM
    • Use of Behavioral Rubrics in the Classroom
    • additional workshops are available
  • Peer Mediator Training in Conflict resolution


Advanced Training in the Following:

    • Building School-Wide Community
    • Creating a Success Psychology in the Classroom
    • Working with Challenging Students



ASSC also applies the School Climate Assessment Instrument (SCAI), a mechanism for a school-wide improvement rationale for the use of the “Transform Your School” (TYS) School-Wide Behavioral Improvement Program


The goal of the Transform Your School (TYS) Program is meaningful behavior change and sustainability. Can one really say a behavioral improvement system has been successful if it simply bribes and shames students into acting in a way that we want, in the short term? For a system to be truly effective it must work in the long term to change the behavioral culture at the school in and out of the classroom. An effective system must work to teach new skills and make high quality behavior more desirable and satisfying for students. Moreover, it must make teachers’ lives easier. The TYS program endeavors to do this.


To better make sense of the difference between the TYS system and others it is useful to examine it more closely in a few key areas: motivation, core concepts, changing undesirable behavior, and long term effects.



Motivation within the TYS Program

The goals of the TYS system are an increase in motivation to behave in positive healthy ways, with more motivation coming from intrinsic sources. The means for this is strategies to meet students’ basic needs and recognition for displaying high quality behavior. Each student has five basic needs (Appendix A): power, freedom, belonging/love, competence, and fun. The system promotes the satisfaction of these basic needs as well as the behaviors that will help students attain what it takes to meet them throughout their lives.


In contrast to other systems of behavior, the TYS system uses positive recognitions to support behavior change and growth rather than bribes for desirable behavior. While the TYS system uses cards to symbolically recognize high quality behavior, the use of the cards varies dramatically from other systems. In many behavioral systems students are given cards as extrinsic rewards to be later turned in for prizes relative to the number of cards obtained. The TYS system simply uses the recognition of the behavior as the reward. What is in it for the student? It depends on the way the school wants to manage this, but it includes the satisfaction of being recognized, the ability to tell parents and teachers of the recognition, and a concrete and material reminder of a behavior that was valuable in and of itself.


Appendix B contrasts the healthy use of extrinsic rewards to the less healthy form defined by bribes and tokens. The problem with the approach to motivation in other systems is that it is based on getting students excited about turning in their tokens for a prize, as a result, inevitably over time the prize becomes the purpose for the action. As time goes on the prizes lose their impact and the familiar conditioned behavioral patterns return. Now students are demanding more prizes because they have gotten addicted to extrinsic rewards for doing something healthy. In the students’ minds these systems built on bribes send the message: “You would only want to make a high quality effort, treat others well, or act responsibly because adults will give you something.” In stark contrast, TYS motivational philosophy changes behavior in a sustained way because it is driven by intrinsic sources -- it is meeting basic needs.


The Core Concepts of the TYS System

At the heart of the TYS system are core principles. These principles are agreed to by the faculty and staff and can range from five to twelve concepts. These core concepts typically include values such as effort, positive attitude, respect, responsibility, listening, and being prepared. Successful character-building efforts make these abstract concepts both concrete as well as personally meaningful. In the TYS system, the school’s core concepts are taught and reinforced across the various aspects of the students’ school day and even brought home. When these concepts are made concrete and meaningful students recognize that they are the pathway to a more satisfying experience at school. When they are recognized for demonstrating them, they learn that the school genuinely values them when they are doing their best and is not simply concerned about test scores and the students who misbehave.


Chapter 20 outlines these core concepts.



Creating Rubrics and Making the Core Concepts Clear

  • The core concepts in TCM should be very clear and consistently applied across the school. A useful practice for doing this is to create very detailed rubrics for behavior (Chapter 20). These rubrics can be used in the regular classroom, PE, art, music assemblies, fieldtrips, and on the playground. They provide a language for reinforcing behavior and a clear set of criteria for assessment. In contrast to behavioral systems that are based on recognizing negative behavior, the TYS focuses on what is desired, not on what is not desired.


Dealing with Misbehavior

In the TYS system, there is no use of public recognition for behavior that is unhealthy, or undesirable. If a student’s behavior violates classroom, school, or playground rules, the student deserves to be given a consequence. We recommend the use of withdrawal of privileges or opportunities to participate as the primary form of consequence in most cases. School beautification, helping the teachers, doing tasks for the office, and other service related activities should be left for students who have earned the right to contribute as a reward. Opportunity is what one gets when one makes an effort and acts responsibly, and inactivity is given when one shows that one is not ready to handle responsibility.


We also encourage behavioral contracts and individualized support for students who are struggling to make healthy behavioral choices. Working with Challenging Students is outlined in Chapter 14.