A Potentially Dangerous Situation in a High School

Below is an exchange that a friend of mine shared about a potentially dangerous situation that was resolved without incident.

Greetings Bob

I wanted to share correspondence (between an administrator and me) in reference to an incident that happened years ago in Minnesota.

A student came to me saying that a student, known to me, had a handgun on campus.  Jim, the administrator, and I acted immediately to find the student, search his locker and personal belongings and locate the (loaded) handgun.  The student who contacted me felt secure and confident enough in our relationship to know that it was safe to do so and that I would act without involving her.

It is critical that students feel comfortable talking to their administration, faculty and staff if they sense something is happening or about to happen in a school.  It is equally critical that administration, faculty and staff act decisively.

Relationship, relationship, relationship!   William Glasser, M.D. – Glasser Quality Schools


From: Al
Sent: Thursday, February 15, 2018
To: Jim
Subject: Weapons in School

Following each and every school shooting, I am reminded that the very best intervention starts with students feeling comfortable talking with staff/faculty about potential problems.  You and I know something about that; acting quietly and efficiently to solve a potentially serious problem before it started.  Who knows where the situation with the loaded weapon at HP Senior High might have gone had it not been for the team work displayed – and most important, the student’s feeling comfortable talking to a trusted staff member.  No doubt you pass along to your staff and faculty that relationships with their students should be developed so trust and confidentially are engendered.


From: Jim
Sent: Friday, February 16, 2018
To:  Al
Subject: Re: weapons in school

I think about that day also… We were able to deescalate only because we worked together… So good to hear from you!


Kindergarten Teacher’s Amazing Results with a Plus/Delta!

Here is a perfect example that children are often smarter than they are given credit for.  The principal sent out a question/topic about the use of Quality Tools in the school.  Here is Ms. Emerson’s response.

Responses to the topic:  “Our Learning”….what is the teacher doing well/what are we enjoying & what do we need or what can the teacher do to better help us?”


  • Discussed staff meeting and how we all talked about ways we can help students better and how it is important for teachers to ask their classes that question.
  • Brought up the question to my class: “1.  what are ways that I teach you that you like or that is really working for you, and 2. what are ways I could help you better?”
  • Grouped students in Think-Pair-Share…(made sure to place students that are more verbal and had high levels of understanding with students who might have a difficult time with the concept). Gave students 5 minutes to discuss with their partner. (For some reason they whispered to each other! I thought that was pretty funny.)
  • Regrouped and told students that all answers were safe and that it was ok to say what they really felt. I wanted them to be sure they understood that since they had initially been whispering.
  • Discussed meaning of plus and delta.
  • Took responses
  • Reread plus/delta to class once it was finished. Whole class discussed.
  • Students wrote in their journals the most important points to them and used the symbols for plus and delta as well.

Tomorrow we will discuss one of the points and address the concern as well as celebrate the +. Each day we will select a delta and discuss and address. My class was amazing during this activity.  Ms. Assad was there and we both were pretty floored! It was truly enjoyable to do and really was an eye-opener for me.  It also brought on a whole new level of trust with my class…truly changing the mood in the room and there was an energy that was just so positive afterwards. The students realized they had ‘voice’- for them, having that at age 5 is a pretty big deal.


Annie Emerson
Pinewoods Elementary

No Wonder Teaching is Difficult!

World renowned quality guru, W. Edwards Deming used to ask the question, “Who receives directly the product or service that you provide?”  In education, the answer is the student.  He would then reply, “That is your customer“.

What are the implications of “students as customers?”

Dr. Glasser, in his book The Quality School, also identified students as workers because they are given assignments and activities and are expected to “work on them” and produce learning results.

While this is a common view of most educators, what are the implications of focusing on students as workers?

About 10 years ago, I realized that the student is also the primary product of the school or educational system.

What, if any, impact does looking at the student as the product have for educators?

The complication increases because all three labels are correct.  I have challenged thousands of educators to come up with any other group of people that are the customer, the worker and the product in the same system.  No one can identify the three roles anywhere, other than education.

It seems that it would serve educators to remind themselves to answer these questions:

  1. When is the student the customer?
  2. What does that mean to the instructional process?
  3. How should student workers be instructed, evaluated, and provided feedback?
  4. How do you measure and/or what is the measure of student/product success?
  5. What value is there in answering these questions and  keeping all three of these roles in mind?

Please post your comments!

Closing The Achievement Gap: “But, the Lowest 25% Get All the Attention”

The School District of Lee County Florida received a Closing the Achievement Gap Grant from the National Education Association Foundation.  When we show reading and math achievement gap information in our Choosing Excellence training, we get comments from teachers such as, “Now the lower 25% will get all of the attention.  What about the other 75%?”

A family analogy best explains the expectations.  If there are four children in the family and one is struggling, yes the parent should devote more time and support to that child to help him catch up.   At the same time, few parents would say that the other three children are no longer important.  They deserve time and attention as well.

The struggling child may need more time, they may also just need different time and attention, or they may need some differentiated instruction..  Continuing to teach a student that has shown they are not learning it the way many others do is a waste of time.

Time is a precious resource.  Different teaching and assessment strategies must be employed.  It is also imperative to include the student in any discussions and plans about his success.  Without some buy-in for the student, there is little chance of success.  Within a supportive environment, data can also play an important role in helping the student understand his strengths and weaknesses and develop strategies to address those weaknesses.

Contrary to what some believe, there are very few students that do not want to be successful.  There are quite a few that need more knowledge and skill to catch up.  There are also many that are afraid to work and find out that they may not learn as much as you and they would like.  They are battling insecurities about their ability to succeed.

Like in a family, the teacher needs to look for ways to help the child succeed and let that success feed on itself.

*****Choosing Excellence is a blending of the Glasser Quality School and the Malcolm Baldrige (Sterling) Quality Models.  It was designed by Bob Hoglund and Cindy McClung.

Grant Partners:

National Education Association Foundation

The Foundation for Lee County Public Schools

Teachers Association of Lee County

The School District of Lee County

Bob Hoglund, Inc.

Education Tip #2: A Conversation and a Picture = Changed Behavior!

Monica Baker, a 2nd Grade Teacher, had a student that could be easily distracted and disruptive.   She decided it was important to have conference with him.

Ms. Baker:  Do you like to do well in school?

Student:  Yes.

Ms. Baker:  Can you tell me why it’s important to do well?

Student:  Because my mom is proud of me.

Ms. Baker:  Is that important to you?

Student:  Yes, I like it when she’s proud of me.

Ms. Baker:  How could you remember that you AND your mom want you to do well?

Student:  I could put a picture of her on my desk.

Ms. Baker:  How would that help you?

Student:  I could look at her and remember.

The simple plan has worked.   Sometimes Ms. Baker just walks past and taps the picture to remind him to refocus.

The strategy worked so well that approximately 8 other students have done the same thing.

“Behavior has decreased and learning increased.”  Ms. Baker


Education Tip #1: Class Self-Evaluation (Reflection) = NO Referrals All Year!

This year, towards the end of each quarter, I had the students in three of my classes complete a quick exit slip on what they thought their behavior code should be on their report card.

First, we went over what the different behaviors look like (satisfactory, needs improvement, or unsatisfactory). Then, they did their reflection. It was amazing to see how reflective and honest students can be. I was also shocked at how critical and harsh they were on themselves. It also was proof that self-evaluation and asking students to be responsible, can have a purpose and be meaningful without taking a lot of time.

Behavior improved and when students would become disruptive, all I had to do was ask, “Are your choices reflecting your behavior and comment codes?”

With less than 10 days of school to go, I haven’t written any referrals this year.

– Mrs. Gumm 7th Grade Reading, The School District of Lee County (FL)

Congratulations to the 2014 Golden Apple Recipients AND Finalists!

The School District of Lee County (FL) is the 34th largest school district in the U.S.  Each summer I have the privilege and honor of co-leading a week-long CHOOSING EXCELLENCE™ training for the Golden Apples and Teachers of Distinction.  Choosing Excellence is a blending of the Glasser Quality School and the Baldrige Quality Models.  It is a week of HARD WORK and PLAY!  Marshall Bower, President of the Foundation for Lee County Public Schools ALWAYS recognizes the importance of teachers and of education!  WE provide the learning and Marshall provides the pampering and fun at South Seas Resort on Captiva.


2014 Golden Apple Recepients

Closing the Gaps through Choosing Excellence and Teacher Effectiveness

Closing the Gaps through Choosing Excellence initiative in Lee County, Florida is a unique blend of the Glasser Quality School and the Baldrige Quality Models.   This initiative is part of a National Education Association Foundation grant, which involves ten schools; four elementary (PK- 5), one K-8, two middle (6-8), and three high schools (9-12). Training is delivered via an 18-hour participatory workshop. Implementation is tracked through a self-report survey that is sent to participants three months after the training, and is also tracked through classroom walkthrough data. Eight to ten schools will be added to the grant in 2014-15 as the next step in expanding the model throughout the district.

Choosing Excellence™ topics include building relationships with students and colleagues, developing SMART goals, the PDSA process, the Questioning Process, and Lead Management. Emphasis is placed on using data to make informed instructional decisions, including the analysis of student data for setting individual, class, school, district, and State School Grade goals. Time to practice these skills is built into the training

Teacher effectiveness results show that all ten schools exceeded the District in percentage of effective or highly effective as measured by VAM (Value Added Measure) scores.

Highly Effective


Needs Improvement


Challenger Middle





East Lee County High





Fort Myers High





Fort Myers Middle





Manatee Elementary





Mariner High





Patriot Elementary





Pinewoods Elementary





Tropic Isles Elementary















Implementation is tracked through a self-report survey that is sent to participants three months after the training, and is also tracked through classroom walkthrough data. Results related to teacher effectiveness are measured by an analysis of teacher evaluation data. The district’s teacher evaluation is based on the Danielson model and includes a Value Added Measure. Evaluation results for teachers who have implemented the training will be compared to those who have not implemented the training.

All ten grant schools exceeded to total Highly Effective and Effective average totals.


Choosing Excellence™                                                                                                                                                 © 2014 Bob Hoglund, Inc.  Robert G. Hoglund/Cindy McClung


Collegium Results

Collegium for the Advancement of Education

Teachers who rank highly in the Golden Apple selection process are invited to participate in Collegium for the Advancement of Education, a week long professional development seminar in June at South Seas Resort on Captiva Island.

The training focus for this year’s Collegium is Choosing Excellence, a continuous improvement based program which provides strategies for increasing student achievement by helping students to self-evaluate and make responsible choices. This training integrates the Quality School philosophy of Dr. William Glasser with the Sterling Quality model used by The School District of Lee County. Participants will learn to use Dr. Glasser’s ideas as the basis for developing ways to examine data, set and monitor goals, and integrate quality tools into the classroom. By Choosing Excellence, our students will be well prepared to make positive contributions to our workforce and to our community.

The culminating event of Collegium is the end of the week project. Educators form groups and present a humorous skit that incorporates the concepts of the training. The projects are evaluated by the trainers and Foundation Board Members.

Pre and post tests are given during Collegium to measure results as well as provide feedback.

2014 Results