"ROTC is a great leadership program and I really like it. In fact, I think I might join the military when I graduate. I miss the PASS program a very great deal. I'm serious when I say that. I wish I could be an eighth grader again so that I could come back to the junior high."
—Former PASS Student
Reflections by Jim Poole
When Eddie was in kindergarten, he was explosive and occasionally violent. He cried in response to academic frustration, particularly with reading assignments. He hit his teacher and other staff members. When he got discouraged, Eddie's response was to run. He ran from his classroom, the cafeteria, and his physical education class. Eddie's classroom teacher grew increasingly frustrated and hopeless. She wanted him out of her classroom.
Eventually, Eddie was assessed by the special education team, who identified him as Emotionally Disturbed. They recommended that Eddie be placed in a self-contained behavior program.
The year after I met Eddie, I implemented PASS in my school. With the building principal's consent, half of the students in my behavior program, including Eddie, began to participate in mainstream classes. I spent time with them monitoring their progress and working with the mainstream teachers to support the success of the program. Eddie's outbursts almost immediately decreased to approximately three or four times a month. His success was mirrored by the other students participating in the inclusion approach. At the end of the semester, the building administrator moved all students in our behavior program to the new system.
Eddie continued his journey in learning new ways to manage his anger. Still, his frustration with academic tasks led to inappropriate temper tantrums. Clearly, he understood the new replacement behaviors and could demonstrate them when not enraged, but he was not motivated to use his newfound skills in the most difficult situations. Searching for a reinforcer powerful enough to motivate, I came up with the idea of allowing my students to serve as "aides" to campus staff when their weekly behavior reached higher levels of mastery. Thus, when Eddie improved his anger management, he was allowed to work with the Physical Education teacher or coach when that teacher had classes with younger children. The improvement in his behavior was amazing! Eddie reduced his frequency of aggressive acting out to near zero.
Eddie continued to demonstrate remarkable resilience and sustained behavior change through elementary and junior high. In high school, he received special education services for his learning disability but proudly exited all services for his behavior.
This is a true story about a child involved in the PASS program. For privacy, the child's name has been changed.