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Programs for Teachers, Parents, and Young People

Toward Higher Ground
Explore the research-based program that represents the foundation of Jim's character-development efforts, designed to help educators build students' character while improving academic achievement

Standing Out from the Crowd
Join the rapidly growing number of educators and coaches who have brought this program to young people, equipping them to take control of their choices toward pursuing success in class, in competition (for athletes), and in their personal lives

Character-Based Discipline
Jim likes to say, "Our approach to discipline will differ dramatically depending on whether we set out to control behavior or build character." Learn more about programs designed specifically for parents or educators

Character Program Web Sites
Check here for other character-development programs' web sites

Success Built Around Your Circumstances

Although I am happy to say that more programs and resources exist today than ever before, the potential of programs to empower educators and parents to make a real difference with young people comes down to more than just understanding principles of motivation and discipline, teaching decision-making techniques, and showcasing inspirational words or slogans. The difference now, as it has always been really, comes down to the relationship between each young person and the teacher or parent who is trying to reach him or her.

Along the left you'll find links to three programs. My workshops, keynote speeches, and presentations are always rated superior and individuals consistently comment that they are not only inspired by my words and message, but also surprised by how well prepared they feel to put what they’ve learned to work (see the Testimonials link for sample comments). Follow the links for more detailed information or read the brief introductions to each link below.

Toward Higher Ground is the program that has helped me establish my reputation in character development. What began as a desire to reach my own students as I taught high school English and coached track and field has grown over the past 22 years into a multifaceted program that I customize and deliver in a variety of formats to help as many educators as possible. The staple of the program is a full-day workshop that helps educators build a successful program by looking at the unique circumstances they face, finding out what research has to say about success, then planning, implementing, and evaluating their efforts in a comprehensive program that includes a year of free personal follow-up support. The program is also available as a half-day workshop, a web-based professional development course, or as a one-hour keynote address.

Standing Out from the Crowd is my most recent program addition. Targeted versions help teachers reach students, coaches reach athletes, and employers get the most out of their employees. The 45-minute presentation grabs students', athletes', or employees' attention, motivating them to

  • Let go of circumstances they cannot control;
  • Poise themselves to pounce when opportunities arise; and
  • Make choices that lead to success in the classroom (for students), in the competitive arena (athletes), and on the job (employees). Participants also discover ways to live their lives at home and in their communities with dignity and face adversity with poise.

Character-Based Discipline is a one-hour session or half-day workshop designed around my belief that our approach to discipline will differ dramatically depending on whether we set out to control behavior or build character. These workshops, which are available customized either for parents or teachers, help participants discover ways to reach young people who don't seem to respond to traditional methods of discipline, for whom no degree of punishment or reward seems enough to motivate a behavior change. The program focuses on strategies for making young people responsible for their own decisions and is especially helpful for new teachers and either parents of very young children or those who are working with children who seem to be struggling.