The “Strengther” movement is Taking Off

Many of you have not been on the HUB for several days. 

A lot has been happening.  Many great ideas to create successful opportunities for all students. 

We know you have wonderful ideas to share. So, when you have a chance, come back to HUB, share your best thinking, and start collaborating. 

Tell your colleagues and friends about the HUB and expand the Strength-Based Justice Circle.  Connect the HUB to your own social network. 

The “Strengther” movement is taking off. 

Educate – Organize – Mobilize.  Remember, it’s all about relationships.

Strength-Based Justice Summit: Participants Get to Work

“I’ve been to lots of CTA workshops but this is the best ever!” “I never knew CTA was interested in my teaching.” “As a new teacher, I see CTA as the organization that truly cares about my students.”

These and other comments were continually heard during the April 20 -21, 2018, CTA-IFT Strength-Based Justice Summit.  It was clearly, Strength-Based Teacher Driven Change in action.

Strength-Based Teacher Driven Change is both a philosophy and practice.  And if you deconstruct it, you start with teacher strengths, positive experiences, and the wisdom of works best in the “teaching and learning” process.  This strength-based knowledge drives teachers, the teaching profession, and public education.

In other words, our strengths present opportunities to envision new realities for public education and if we educate, organize, and mobilize we can design strategies to make our dreams come true. 

CTA members attending the Moreno Valley Think Tank Strength-Based Justice Summit did just that;  it was truly “Strength-Based Teacher Driven Change.”  Over 50 CTA members focused on “Creating Successful Opportunities for ALL Students.”

The result was the design and development of “Action Planning Strength-Based Stories” to make their dream of a “Culture of Success” for ALL students a reality.  You can see their work on the IFT HUB.

These “Strengthers” are putting their great ideas into action.  They are leading the charge to bring “Strength-Based Justice” to public education.

If you are ready to join and collaborate to create successful opportunities for all students go to the and register and login.  Go to the community link and join the conversation.

College of Strengths

Tompkins Cortland Community College is committed to helping each student at the College explore the unique talents and abilities that make student success possible.

The College uses Gallup’s CliftonStrengths for Students program to help discover their specific strengths, and can also help students learn how to apply those strengths to their academic, social, and professional lives.    

Continue reading.

Youth Court Dispositions – Strength-Based Justice bias #youthcourt

Background – San Bernardino High has implemented a site-based youth court this year, with disappointing application. We have not had very many cases due to poor understanding of the students who will do well in the model, following up on dispositions (what the students must do to clear their injury to the school), and calendaring times to hold youth court at a time accessible to all involved. We have been holding hearings for fights and are expanding to include attendance violations.

Strength-based premise – Students serve as jury members during hearings (and the respondent eventually joins the jury for future hearings). They do a great job of identifying the problem, and where students’ attitudes, choices, and actions should be. But they struggle with assigning dispositions that will assist the responding student in improving over the long term. The targets that we have developed in the IFT SBJ summit at table 6 along with the tools we were introduced to can serve as a guide for the jurors. Respondents with attendance issues are advertising to the school community that they are falling through the cracks. We seek to reconnect them to the campus and persuade them to become positive contributors to the school community.

Specifically, respondents could be recommended to work directly with their counselor (or pathway lead) to the strengths inventory with Thrively. The juror could then recommend that the student develop THEIR OWN 5-10 hour service project that contributes to the school facility, or to human beings at the school, that relies on their strengths. Other dispositions could include working on campus to further the SBJ values found in our Provocative Proposition. Students have 30 school days to complete their disposition. Our proposition states:

Every member of Utopia Unified is committed to preparing students to live self-determined, positive, free lives by empowering them with robust academic skills, impactful experiences, and risk-taking opportunities within a culture of safety, willingness, and positivity.

We value healthy relationships, collaboration, recognition, empathy, choice and adding value to others in our community.

To grow our team, students in the Law and Society pathway, as well as the teachers affiliated with the pathway will be trained (or even develop) on questions asking that elucidates the students’ deficits, reasons for their behavior, as well as strengths that may be used during the disposition. Additionally, we will train two staff-member judges who can be available during the week.

The structure is established for fights, and is in process for ditching. On Monday, and throughout the next month and summer recess, we will develop the full structure and communication strategy for shifting all dispositions to the SBJ approach, in line with our Provocative Proposition.

Intended outcomes are to connect students to the campus and the entirety of the resources offered, and to improve student willingness to take advantage of the services, clubs, sports, etc.

I am in charge and will have it ready to go on the first day back to school in August 2018.

We will network during scheduled professional development time and after school.

Parents are strongly encouraged to attend the youth court hearing with their student. The parents are also asked questions and given opportunities to describe for the jury members their perspective about what happened, and how to best use this opportunity for their student.


Day 2: IFT

I am excited to have returned to the IFT for day 2! We began the day by talking about the seven factors for creating a culture of success which began a conversation about how we can create opportunities for students based on these seven factors.  The conversation ran deep which gave me valuable information on how to improve my own teaching approach.

We developed provocative propositions for the future of education and specifically our classrooms.  These are tailored to students themselves. We conducted a gallery walk in which we read each teams’ provocative statements and reflected upon what the common themes were.  The common themes centered around empathy, inclusion, student- centered learning.


Provocative Propositions

Wow!  How powerful the schools we dream about, and can make a reality today in our own classrooms, schools, and districts.

What is your action plan story?

What is your action plan story?

What is the alternative reality for you as an educator? Is it an adventure, a mystery or a horror story with multiple characters?

Your strength-based action planning narrative is only the preface, as the story will write itself as each day in your career unfolds.

Create your strength-based outline while driving home. Start creating on Monday.

On the strength-based HUB, make your own provocative proposition a reality through intensive action planning. Involve your students! Write a grant! Make sure your day job is not a day job, but your strength-based reality!


Pay It Forward

Pay It Forward

At a traditional staff development, a teacher might attend, learn and take away. At a strength-based summit, teachers discover what is working in education, dream an educational system that is best for children, design innovative approaches and deliver what is best. Professionals who work alongside other strength-based professionals can appreciate where they are from, who they are and what is to come. At a strength-based summit, teachers do not “get” they “give.” Their best and brightest students have shaped them into the professional they are–they impart the knowledge to other teachers. When we approach education with a strength-based framework where everyone’s talents and strengths are first and foremost, we can pay it forward liberally and land in great places.

Seven Factors for Creating a Culture of Success

Lots of awesome conversation floating around at Table 3!

We were all able to come up with examples of what we’re already doing in our classrooms that are also examples of the seven factors.  We provide work that is student centered, purposeful, and relevant.  We build relationships with our students, their parents, and between our students.  We help our students visualize their future, and we work with our colleagues to help our students achieve success.

I’m excited to see where today’s conversations take us!