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PBS Makes a Difference: One Family’s Story. Sandy Roethler • PBS Forum • October 2008. Professional and Personal Role in PBS. I was: Executive Director serving parents of children with emotional impairments Co-Principal Investigator of federal children’s mental health grant

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pbs makes a difference one family s story

PBS Makes a Difference: One Family’s Story

Sandy Roethler • PBS Forum • October 2008

professional and personal role in pbs
Professional and Personal Role in PBS

I was:

  • Executive Director serving parents of children with emotional impairments
  • Co-Principal Investigator of federal children’s mental health grant
  • Member of PBS advisory teams
  • Mother of a child in a PBS School
scott s path my path
Scott’s Path, My Path
  • Permission
  • Whose story?
  • Shifting perspective
who was my child
Who was My Child?
  • Smart, funny, creative, affectionate, warm
  • Hated himself/depressed/talked about dying
  • Was “Top of the Triangle”
  • Special education for emotional impairment
  • I knew he wasn’t that kid
who was i
Who was I?
  • An Accomplice
  • A Task Master
  • Non-empathetic
  • Cognitive dissonance
my mission improving schools
My Mission:Improving Schools
  • I took my job to improve schools
  • My first PBS training – epiphany
  • Work thoughts –how can my workplace/our community support PBS?
  • Personal thoughts – How can this benefit my child?
old school vs pbs school
Old School vs PBS School
  • Changed schools in 6th grade
  • School refusal/home school
  • Attended intensive PBS training & met principal
  • Allows us to compare
  • Benefits for Scott and for the family
success for scott
SUCCESS! for Scott
  • Better behavior
  • Better grades
  • Improved reading skills
  • He saw his “true self”
success for parents
SUCCESS! for Parents

No more:

  • Negativity from others
  • Guilt, avoiding or explaining
  • Calls home or work loss

More time:

  • Praising and seeing strengths
  • Bragging and being proud!
behavior benefits to him me
Non-PBS School:

Calls every week, multiple calls in a day

I’m at Work

Negative spills over to home

Double punishment



PBS School:

6 calls all year – and 3 were calls to brag

Warm fuzzies with school

No work interruptions

Made me feel proud of my child

Behavior Benefits – to Him & Me
behavior benefits
Non-PBS School:

Sent home early/suspensions

Stormed out of classroom

Slept 2 hours/day

Fought over/ refused to do homework

PBS School:

Problems solved in school

Removed himself briefly, was flexible

Fully engaged

Reminded Dad about homework

Behavior Benefits
but what about his grades
Non-PBS School:

Reading at below grade level (less than 5th)

3 F’s and a C

Couldn’t remember times table – far behind

PBS School:

Reading above grade level (7.8)

Made A Honor Roll

Only ½ year behind in math

But What About His Grades?
what s the difference
What’s the Difference?

It’s Not about Us:

  • We’re the Same Parents
    • Communicating with school in the same way
    • Parenting the same way
    • School was difficult before
    • If it were about us, we would have seen results at the old school
non believers
  • Some people do not want to believe:
    • “You don’t have the same kinds of kids we do”

(right, the ones at Scott’s school had more barriers)

    • “You are different from other parents we have at our school”
what s the difference16
What’s the Difference?
  • He had great teachers at his old school
  • He has the same IEP
  • Nothing else in child’s environment changed (no deaths, didn’t move, still married…)
  • We even STOPPED getting mental health support after changing schools

… The only difference is PBS

what worked
What Worked?
  • He ran his meeting/owned the plan
  • The team treated him like an equal partner
  • They negotiated a system for behavior support
  • Principal connected him with a social network from the start
  • School included the family
  • School called to brag about him
what else worked
What Else Worked?
  • He could leave class when he needed to and talk about what was going on
  • He was praised for handling his anger well
  • He had a mentor
  • He knew the adults were trying to understand and help, not “get him in trouble”
  • Other kids’ behavior was better (universal)
what about next year
What about Next Year?

Positive effects carried into 7th & 8th grade

  • Few Supports
  • Excellent grades
  • Loved school
  • Lots of friends
  • Happy, regular kid
  • New principal didn’t recognize old kid
  • “Bottom of the Triangle”
  • PBS can show great outcomes – at school, at home & in the community
  • Outcomes can last multiple years
  • I retired in July b/c my mission is being achieved … thanks to YOU!