Tolson Elementary Elementary School puts an emphasis on positive reinforcement with its students by using notes of praise. Teachers are punished for not treating students with respect based on the adopted "Rules of Engagement," which are simple rules for how children and adults should treat one another.
In 2000, when Principal Maria Figueroa came to the Tucson Unified School District, she spent most of her day on student discipline. Many pupils were medicated for attention disorders. She discovered Howard Glasser, a Tucson therapist who co-authored "Transforming The Difficult Child: The Nurtured Heart Approach", and then adopted his program.
Features of the program include:
1) Teaching adults how to build up children using oral and written praises.
2) Have high Expectations of the kids.
3) Show children how to interact with classmates and adults.
4) The program is strict and adhered to by all, even teachers!
Now, nearly seven years after Tolson started using the Nurtured Heart Approach, the school staff is on the cover of Glasser's latest book, written with Illinois therapist Tom Grove, called "The Inner Wealth Initiative: The Nurtured Heart Approach for Educators."
The emphasis is on seeking out character to build an "inner wealth" of self-esteem, and positive reinforcement of good behavior and performance.
This quote from one student is most telling:
"Teachers don't treat us bad," said fourth-grader Nick Gaitan, 10. "They don't yell at us and they give us lots of praise notes for things like perfect attendance, good citizenship, finishing our math or reading quietly. My mom likes it when I get them."Most stunning is that Glasser created the approach to deal with children who had attention deficit hyperactivity and attention deficit disorders without using medication. When kids are medicated, they are at the mercy of the drugs, he said. "And the worst-case scenario is the kid starts believing in the drug, not in himself." He knows what he's talking about: He was one of those kids.
And it all but wiped out the use of medication for "attention deficit" (ADHD, ADD) disorders in Tolson students!
The school has seen a complete turn around.
Educators nationwide ought to sit up and take notice!