Youth Change Workshops’


Innovative Professional Development


Improves Students’  Academic Performance



student behavior problems

You may have been wondering about the philosophy, research and motivation behind Youth Change’s popular professional development training workshop, Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Youth. Youth Change’s teacher training course is just so different and so much more “real-world,” comprehensive, and practical than other courses.

The Breakthrough Strategies professional development workshop is a true departure from other teacher and counselor trainings. It is refreshingly different from other behavior and classroom management professional development workshops.

education speakerIn 2011, SpeakerWiki and SpeakerMix ranked Youth Change Workshops in the Top 10 nationally for providing presentations to elementary and high school teachers, as well as principals and other educational administrative staff. But, read on to see for yourself why Youth Change Workshops is ranked so highly around the country.

Here are your answers presented in Q and A format. After the Q and A, you will also find links to some of the hundreds of evaluations and letters written to us by schools, school districts, education service centers, education conference sponsors, institute coordinators, and universities who share their reactions to our innovative professional development seminars.

You will also find helpful links to more details on our course content, arranging an on-site presentation, college credit and professional development clock hours options.

You can also call us at 1.800.545.5736, or email with questions, or if you would like us to send you more detailed or more scholarly materials.

workshop on troubled youthQ: How can school professional development training help our teachers succeed in the race to the top for student achievement?

A:  The focus of most teacher training breaks down to 80% on curriculum, and a mere 20% focused on human factors– things like attitude, motivation, compliance and behavior. No teacher has ever had a day dominated by content problems. Most teachers’ days are dominated by “human factor” problems– students’ bad attitudes, poor motivation, work refusal, inappropriate classroom behavior, and non-compliance.

Teachers can feel utterly unequipped to tackle the problems that dominate their classroom. Youth Change’s innovative, leading-edge professional development actually shows teachers how to manage these problems. This practical training course gets teachers back in charge of their classrooms, and reduces lost instruction time dramatically.

This professional development inservice is truly different because it actually prepares teachers with the step-by-step details they need on how to prevent and manage the actual, real-world problems they encounter each day. This staff development inservice gets teachers back to teaching– instead of losing an estimated 20 minutes per hour of valuable instruction time as may be the case right now.

Not surprisingly, getting back that lost 20 minutes that was being wasted on behavior management, can yield rapid improvement in student performance and achievement. Looking for innovation in education? Looking to improve student performance? This training is your fast track to take your students to the top.

Q: What’s is the premise behind your school professional development training and resources?

A: Did you ever notice that children are not systematically trained to be students? There is no written-down curriculum that specifies how and when we teach children to be motivated, accept assignments, manage their homework, sit at a desk, participate in a class discussion, arrive on time, and treat the teacher with respect.

Years ago families reliably taught these skills, which we call School Skills Training. Now, many children and youth do not learn School Skills. As a result, they don’t look, act or sound like students.

Teachers end up working with unmotivated, uninterested, badly behaved youngsters. A typical teacher wastes about half his or her instruction time on on-demand behavior management. Instead of talking about math or history, teachers spend half their instruction time saying “Stop that,” “Don’t hit,” and “Stay in your chair!” Then we wonder why achievement and performance race to the bottom.

teacher workshopYouth Change’s professional development seminars actually show educators how to systematically train children to become motivated, committed, on-time students who routinely use appropriate classroom behavior. We call it School Skills Training.

It gives teachers back about 20 minutes per 50 minute class hour. Don’t have the time for School Skills Training? Then you will work with untrained, unmotivated children– and that’s like throwing the child in the water and not teaching them how to swim.

Children can not perform behaviors they have never been taught– whether it’s how to sit at a desk or swim in a pool. Before you expect skills, you have to first teach those skills.

Until you train children to be students, they may perform exactly like people who have been tossed in the water and not taught how to swim: they may quickly sink to the bottom. School Skills Training can help more of your students stay afloat.

Q: School Skills Training makes a lot of sense but is there research?

A: While we can supply you with some exciting documentation that School Skills Training can transform classroom management problems into better performance and improved achievement, here is the bottom line during our recessionary times: Teachers are being asked to more with less.

Perhaps the time has come to turn away from the theoretical and ideological to more common sense, no-cost, ready-to-use approaches developed and refined “in the trenches” by actual teachers and counselors.

School Skills Training has been thoroughly road-tested and carefully honed to work with contemporary students over two decades. A no-cost approach like School Skills Training may be especially important during difficult financial times because it can get the job done without burdening your budget or staff.

Training your children and teens to become motivated, committed, involved, punctual, well-behaved students makes so much sense, and has little downside. What could be the downside of training kids to be students? There is none because you are not taking time away from instruction. The typical teacher already loses 20 minutes per 50 minute period. School Skills Training gives back those lost 20 minutes. School Skills Training doesn’t take away anything except the wasted time spent on on-demand behavior management.

Q: How is your school professional development training offered, and how do schools and teachers pay for it? Are Title 1 or Safe and Drug Free funds ever used?

A:  Our staff professional development workshops can come to your school, district, or conference. We also host general session workshops around the U.S. We offer anyone with a lousy budget a financial aid work-study stipend for general session workshops. A quick call to 1.800.545.5736 is all it takes to grab a stipend slot.

For on-site presentations, many schools use Title 1, Safe and Drug Schools funds, but our professional development also fits many other categories as well. Since your staff are going to name the exact student problems they wish to cover in the workshop, each session is tailored to fit. That allows us to precisely target key populations for you, including disadvantaged students, drug-affected youth, violent teens, special ed students and at-risk youth.

Plus, we can assist you to write grants for funding; we do not charge for that type of assistance. We may also be able to suggest specific grants and grant areas you may have overlooked.

Because the need for innovation in K-12 education is so keen at this moment, we will also do our best to ensure that our professional development workshops fit your budget. Please note that our professional development offerings are all priced to be affordable even with a bad budget.

We’re here to help. Click here to email. We won’t let dollars stop you from winning the race to successfully educate all students. We can even show you how our professional development workshops make great fund raisers.

Q: How is this type of teacher professional development an innovation in K-12 education?

A: If you think about it, teacher training continues to prepare today’s teachers to work with yesterday’s students. Today’s teachers don’t learn a lot about how to stop student work refusal, how to improve poor attendance, how to stop a fist from flying through the air, or what to do when a student is non-compliant.

Today’s teachers are up to their necks in theory and content– two things that do not help you manage a contemporary classroom full of serious and numerous behavior problems.

To say it bluntly, colleges tend to train teachers to work with Beaver Cleaver but it’s Beavis and Butthead who come in each morning. Our professional development training prepares teachers for the child who actually arrives each day, not the one who hasn’t come in for more than half a century.

It’s way past time to upgrade teacher training to fit contemporary students. Call it innovation, call it common sense, or call it overdue, we can not continue to use yesterday’s methods with today’s students and expect to win the race to the top.

Q: Is School Skills Training just for special ed, Title 1, disadvantaged, and at-risk students, and the teachers that work with those populations?

A: No. While School Skills Training is perfect for youngsters with special concerns and needs, it is also the perfect solution for all students.

Contemporary teachers often have serious classroom management problems with both mainstream and challenged students. Theory-focused, test-obsessed, content-heavy teacher training has left many teachers in an on-going struggle to manage contemporary students with challenges as well as those without special needs.

Instruction can be difficult for teachers who know a lot about testing but not so much about fists that fly through the air, feet that walk out the door, and all the other problems they face each day attempting to provide classroom management. We have spent so much time and energy testing and regulating teachers, and so little time giving them any meaningful, updated training. Teacher training is stuck in the 1950s.

In the U.S., we’re in desperate need of initiatives and programs that make real-world, more effective, updated innovations like School Skills Training the core of teacher training. If we took just 10% of the energy we’ve invested in over-regulating and over-testing teachers, and invested that energy in upgrading teachers’ skills to fit contemporary students, we could transform our schools quite rapidly.

Teachers who are skilled in contemporary classroom management can focus on achievement instead of their classroom management nightmares. The solution to what’s wrong with our schools don’t have to be complex, harsh, jargon-filled, or the latest trend.

The solution to what’s wrong with our schools might just be easily-understood, common-sense, lasting answers like School Skills Training– and it’s an answer that helps both challenged and mainstream students win the race to the top.

Letters and evaluations from past sponsors and participants

College credit and professional development clock hours

Video of Workshop Instructor Ruth Herman Wells, M.S.

Workshop Flyer