Serving Students & Teachers

Changing Schools from the Inside-Out

Schools are under siege and their leaders have a monumental task creating the positive learning environments that make for success at all levels of the organization -- for themselves, their teachers and the students they all serve. 

The Balancing Act's multi-dimensional strategic alignment process allows school leaders to increase buy-in at all levels of the organization to change the school from the inside-out and create a place in which every community member can support each other's well-being and thrive together.

See case studies from schools we have helped to grow...

Profesional Development for Teachers and Leaders

The Balancing Act's Professional Development for Teachers and school administrators is accredited by the Massachusetts DOE for 45 PDPs. CLSI provides teachers and their leaders with a first-hand experience of how to change their lives, relationships and work for the better in CLSI's high-leverage programs.

After teachers and leaders have experienced the program for themselves, they are certified to deliver the program to their K-12 students.
 
See Testimonials from Teachers and School Leaders....

Those professionals who self-select may also be trained further so that the school system can bring CLSI's teacher and student programs in-house in-perpetuity.

 

Student Programs: The Compass Course and the Compass Anti-Bullying Program

CLSI currently offers two primary programs for K-12 students: The Compass Course and The Compass Anti-Bullying Program.
 
The Compass Course

The Compass Course curriculum follows a methodology that was first outlined in The Balancing Act, and that has been used during the past decade with adults in the US and Europe for leadership training and for executive or career coaching. This 5-step process, which is based on the cross-cultural holistic healing model of the center and four directions, helps students and their teachers recognize innate gifts, form strong relationships with teachers and each other, and develop the skills they need to become happy, healthy, caring, and prosperous adults.

Over the past several years, Core Learning Services, Inc has focused on using the Compass Course to close the achievement gap for vulnerable youth. To this end, we worked with urban teenagers who are statistically at high-risk of not completing high school: 90-95% of our students are African-American and Hispanic youth (mostly young men) from poverty-status families. Our primary program, The Compass Course, is designed to relieve some of the extreme social and economic pressures on these teenagers by helping them determine their own life and career direction.

Last year we trained 20 teachers to teach The Compass Course and oversaw the delivery of our year-long advisory program to more than 225 students. Although we are a very young organization, CLSI has already had a measurable impact by improving standard testing scores and school attendance in our teen-age population. Specifically our students had 11% better school attendance than their peers (an early indicator of completing high school), and they were much more likely to pass their MCAS.

In our first year we served three pilot groups at The Engineering School (TES). This gave us near-laboratory conditions to test the effectiveness ofThe Compass Course. As noted in the grid below, our students performed significantly better than their peers. Due to that early success, TES asked CLSI to serve the entire sophomore class this past year. Amazingly, the percentage of students who passed their MCAS increased even more in our second year at TES!

  Year 1 Year 1 Year 2
Category Total TES sophomores TES Students in three Compass Course advisories TES Sophomores; all in Compass Course advisories
English      
#s who took MCAS English 73 students 26 students 67 students
Total % students who passed 77% 85% 93%
Total % Advanced/ Proficiency 39% 42% 48%
Math      
#s who took MCAS Math 72 students 26 students 63 students
Total % students who passed 60% 65% 87%
Total % Advanced/ Proficiency 35% 38% 33%

(Note: Our other school, Community Academy in Roxbury, showed similar improvement trends but because these students enroll throughout the year - after being expelled from other schools - the constantly changing population does not allow for reliable data for our "before/after" comparisons.)

We believe that these remarkable test scores are largely the result of our teens developing more self-esteem, impulse control, mental clarity, positive attitude, motivation and focus. Other notable outcomes of The Compass Course include students developing a stronger sense of personal awareness and a feeling of belonging to a school community (both are violence-prevention indicators). Teachers reported improved class participation and better behavior. They also cited increased job satisfaction and an ability to interact better with their students (staff retention indicators). Administrators reported that a more cohesive school culture had formed as a result of our initiative.

CLSI is currently exploring new initiatives within The Compass Course program for leadership development, financial literacy, preventative mental health care, violence reduction, anti-bullying, parental involvement, and "green jobs" training.

The Compass Anti-Bullying Program

The Compass Anti-Bullying Program is distinct from other anti-bullying approaches in that it is:

  • A pragmatic, step-by-step, comprehensive program that is delivered over time to achieve lasting behavioral change.
  • Set within a larger, positive context of increasing participants' sense of well-being by directing their attention to developing important skills for life/work success.
  • Designed to implement behavioral change at three levels: the bully, the bullied, and the community (other students, teachers, parents, neighborhoods)
  • Distinguished by an evidence-based approach that provides measurable feedback.

Specifically, The Compass Anti-Bullying Program reduces bullying by:

  • Discovering and remedying bullying behavior at its root cause for each individual;
  • Providing psychological, emotional, and physical protection for those who are bullied;
  • Practicing specific practical tools to decrease bullying behavior and its impact;
  • Recognizing the fluid character of bullying behavior; defining what bullying is/is not;
  • Educating teachers so they can create a classroom environment where differences are prized so everyone feels safe, welcomed, and included;
  • Developing leadership in teachers and students so they can claim their personal, professional, and social responsibility for the good of themselves and others;
  • Creating a stronger community culture - school, home, neighborhood, society - where the roots of bullying are healed by connection and belonging.

The Compass Anti-Bullying Program is a highly-experiential program that is delivered over time to permit all participants to practice new life skills and develop new, more functional habits that endure. We have found that when CLSI trains teachers and administrators to deliver this program to their students, it assures inculcation in the school culture, increases teacher morale, allows for localization of the curriculum, and contains over-all program costs for schools. This approach also helps reduce bullying by teachers (research indicates that teachers can abuse their power positions to belittle or intimidate students, or can abdicate responsibility by standing by when bullying occurs around them.)

Research indicates that bullying is a much more complicated phenomenon than originally understood, and that there are many possible roots for bullying behavior. This program targets different kinds of bullying and their deleterious effects - while simultaneously helping participants move forward by making positive, lasting changes in their lives and their school community.

Both The Compass Course and The Compass Anti-Bullying Program are designed for a "round-table" classroom environment where teachers facilitate discussion so each student can feel safe, fully participate, and be heard uncritically by their peers. This kind of setting encourages honest conversation within a cross-cultural community (which prior students and teachers have referred to as "my school family.")

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