A Compass for Students & Teachers

                                                                                                Greetings from The Hoenderloo Groep teachers and leaders in Holland

   Core Learning Services creates healthy school cultures where 
leaders provide clear direction, 
teachers reclaim their passion, 
families participate in learning, and 
everyone works together so students can thrive.

Your Compass for Success programs include:      

The Compass Course

Professional Development & Credits for Teachers

The Compass Anti-Bullying Program

SOS: Switch Off Stress

The Compass Course

The Compass Course is a 5-step character and life skills development program that teaches students the 5 Elements of Success (see above image). It has been used for years in middle and high-schools where it has been shown to: 
  • increase standardized test scores
  • reduce stress
  • improve classroom behavior and participation
  • increase attendance (to meet AYP goals)
  • improve school culture.

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.

To date we have trained hundreds of teachers to teach The Compass Course...and the Compass Course has been taught in part and in whole to thousands of students in the US, Europe and South America.

Data on Efficacy of the Compass Course

The Compass Course has demonstrated a measurable impact by improving standard testing scores and school attendance in our teenage 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. Specifically: English MCAS scores improved +6% in year 1 and +16% in year 2; and Math scores improved +5% in year 1 and +27% in year 2).

The below data was gathered in three pilot groups at The Engineering School (TES) in Boston, MA. This gave us near-laboratory conditions to test the effectiveness of The 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 (73) TES Students in three Compass Course advisories (26) All TES Sophomores were in Compass Course advisories

#s who took MCAS English 73 students 26 students in Compass Course 67 students took English exams
Total % students who passed 77% 85% 93%
Total % Advanced/ Proficiency 39% 42% 48%

#s who took MCAS Math 72 students 26 students in Compass Course 63 students took Math exams
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.

Professional Development for Teachers

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.
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.

Testimonials from Teachers and School Leaders:

  • I see a significant difference in the daily behavior, professionalism, and productivity of those who have taken this program and those who have not.

  • I am able to stand back, listen, wait and observe and think, then make corrective actions which have led to a more harmonious classroom atmosphere.

  • It helped me be aware that I control the environment in the classroom and not the students nor other adults.

  • I noticed in others a great weight taken off their shoulders and that without these burdens they are happier and are less prone to be put off-balance.

  • I changed because I can step back and observe the situation before I react. I am much calmer and use anger sparingly, if at all.

  • I try now not to waste my energy on the small stuff and feel more focused.

  • I'm much more positive and can rise above situations.

  • I have found ways to confront another staff person positively - which enabled me to stop hiding in my room and took away my fear.

  • Instead of being distracted by things, I am saving my energy for the students.

  • I became aware of my triggers and how not to get hooked into negative behaviors and thoughts.

  • I am able to speak and think more clearly.

  • I noticed that my classmates in this course now avoid energy-zapping behavior of others and are less judgmental.

  • The course has been a wonderful eye-opener for me. It has allowed me to take time for myself and look at situations more openly, not judging or wanting to change them.

  • I have gone back into the soul of myself--learning to prioritize and not let others draw me into bad situations.

  • People in this course have all grown to be better individuals--controlling their destiny and seeing the good in themselves.


The Compass Anti-Bullying Program

The Compass Anti-Bullying Program targets the root causes of bullying, victimization, by-standing and other destructive behavior. The Compass Anti-Bullying Program is distinct from other approaches in that it addresses the root causes of bullying at all levels while proactively directing students' attention to developing vital skills for their own success in life, relationships, and work.

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.")

SOS: Switch Off Stress - go here to learn more