“You cannot burn out until you’ve caught on fire.”

Jon Heymann was born in poverty, trafficked as a child slave overseas, and adopted as a young boy into an American family. From those humble beginnings, Heymann rose to become a Pastor, a Counselor, a College Instructor, a CEO of a multi-million dollar non-profit, and a published author.

Heymann has a professional background spanning 35 years that ranges from private ministry to public penitentiaries and is now the President of Heymann Consultants.  He recently created Elevate Jacksonville, and prior to this, was the CEO of the Jacksonville Children’s Commission providing  $38 million dollars to support numerous child-serving non-profits.  He holds a Masters’s Degree in Education from the University of Florida and has completed Graduate work in Psychology, and Doctoral work at the University of North Florida.



Author of “Agonizing Peace,  Powering Through Traumatic Experiences”

Available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble stores.

If you’re not sure where God is during the tough times, or whether He even cares, you’re not alone. Are you lacking peace in your life while you walk through a traumatic experience? You’re not alone. Discover the path to regain and retain real peace with God, with others, and with yourself amid tragedy. Powering through difficult times is tough, but not impossible. If we knew everything about God, he wouldn’t be much of a god, but we know enough about him to trust him, to know that he loves us, to reduce our anxieties, and regain our peace.

“Agonizing Peace” provides excellent insight into real-world challenges and real-time answers in the midst of our traumatic experiences.

Click to Watch the Book Launch Video


The approach is simple – combine the best of a motivational speech with the audience participation of a seminar, providing the tools necessary for participants to walk away empowered and ready to reach new heights professionally and personally.

Mr. Heymann has spoken to over 300,000 people and has a professional background spanning 35 years that ranges from private ministry to public service in both the profit and non-profit world. Jon has provided keynote speeches to numerous national conventions, men’s retreats, businesses, schools, churches, colleges, and civic groups. He believes that our grandest hour has yet to be lived, and our greatest accomplishments have yet to be achieved by those who dare to be great.

  • “Seven habits of HARDLY effective people”
  • “Top-of Your Game to the Top-of Your Mountain”
  • “Grass-Stained Leadership”
  • “Lessons from:
    • A Basketball
    • A dogsled
    • A Peruvian mountaintop
  • “From incremental change to massive positive difference”
  • “A business culture of adjectives not nouns”


From large to small; from start-ups to veterans; from factory floors to executive suites, no matter what size your budget is, we are here to catapult you to new levels of success.  

This includes one-to-one coaching of CEO’s, top brass, and individual leaders, as well as strategic business planning. We will individualize our coaching approach and provide you with practical, usable, and measurable solutions for both personal leadership development and business growth.

20% of new businesses fail in the first year and a far larger percentage in the first five years. But even those that have been around for decades experience dips in their performance.

Athletes, no matter what their skill level, from childhood soccer to pro-football athletes, all need a coach, someone who drives them to excellence, no matter how good they already are.

Every business leader, like every athlete, can be better. 

Let us help.

  • One on One or Group Coaching
  • CORE Competencies (Creative, Organized, Resilient, Enthusiastic)
  • Leadership:  Situational, Servant, Value-Added
  • TOYG (Top of Your Game) to TOYM (Top of Your Mountain)
  • 50/30/20/10 Rule of Management
  • Creating a “Resilient” culture
  • Skill-based Staffing
  • Leadership and Power
  • Recapturing your New Believer Fever
  • Creating ‘Culture’, but what kind? A family? A Team? A little bit of both?

We are proud to expand our services by partnering with Cuthbertson & Associates supporting your Accounting, Audit, and Finance team.

Coaching and public speaking are our ways of passing on our knowledge and expertise to benefit other businesses and give back to the community. With professional advice ranging from strategic planning to problem-solving, Heymann Consulting will empower your team with the pivotal knowledge they need to lead your business to new heights of success.

You started your business (or joined its leadership team) because you undoubtedly wanted to say something, do something and be something.  The future should not be feared.  Being timid is destructive to your psyche, and to the culture of your team members. Rather, see yourself akin to a basketball – when you get pushed down, you bounce back up, and when you get pushed down harder, you bounce back higher.



Our approach is simple:

Combine the best of a motivational seminar with the audience participation of a workshop, providing the tools necessary for participants to walk away empowered and ready to reach new heights professionally and personally.

We love to work with experts in their field, who recognize that a coach will expedite their success, and push them to their peak performance.  

Our approach provides a “fresh pair of eyes” that observes you, your leadership style, your team/ staff, and your business culture.

We are not here to provide a “cookie cutter” approach, but rather we personalize our coaching methodology to fit your needs, your culture, and your vision, catapulting you to a higher level of effectiveness.  It’s simple: 


First, we Co-analyze – working together, we use metrics and data to see where you are and how you got here. We review your history, your victories and the bumps in the road to success.

Then we Co-plan – using my PEACE process, we will dig deep into what you presently have and what you don’t have, and come up with a PEACE Plan – Preserve; Eliminate; Avoid; Create, and finally Excellence.  Let’s map your future, and then stick to it.

And last, we Co-execute the plan.—what are the deliverables and the timelines to working the PEACE Plan; who is responsible; and how will we measure progress and success.

We will conduct an initial consult, at no cost, to determine your need and to map a plan going forward. Will you need one-on-one coaching for you and/or others? Or perhaps small group coaching on a specific skill? Or maybe a larger meeting with more team members to discuss “culture” and developing high performing teams. Or perhaps a full-fledged SOG (Strategic Operating Guide), which is a very fluid version of a Strategic Plan.

You have a big decision to make – hire a coach, or not. And which one? A coach who has:

  1. An outside, objective perspective on you and your business, and is not afraid to be honest with you.
  2. Successful experience based on real-world accomplishments in their own field, but are not necessarily a better version of you, or an expert in your field.
  3. A proven record of helping others be successful. Check out our “Accolades” link.
  4. A profound respect for your goals and aspirations for the business. A great coach will deal with your skill base, as well as your tactics and strategies to reach your goals.
  5. A great coach is a pushy coach, one that stretches you to your limits, and holds you accountable for your progress. When the coach asks you to do something and you agree, then let them be pushy.
  6. And you really want someone that you like – a lot. If the chemistry isn’t there, then the coaching will fail. Quality is hard to define, but you know it when you see it. Follow your instincts when it comes to chemistry.
  7. Time for ice cream. All fantastic coaches know when it’s time to celebrate – a new customer; expanded business, a profitable contract, increased revenue, cheerful staff, and raving fans.

Our Contract may include:

  • An hourly rate with a minimum number of hours per week, or month. This includes prep time.
  • In-house leadership coach – on retainer providing on site, on-time coaching to anyone in your business or firm.
  • Trainings, seminars on relevant topics to small or large groups, payable by project or by the hour.
  • A time limit. When is the coaching complete, and what dosage should be applied at what time (i.e. 10 hours per week for three months; then 5 hours for 2 months, etc.)

A coach is wildly different from a friend.

  • A Coach will be honest; a friend will tell you that your shoes look good when they are horrid.
  • A Coach will tell you “drop down and give me 20” or “go run 2 stadiums”. They will stretch you to reach your peak performance.
  • A friend will not want you to suffer, but a coach may create some pain. “Pain Creates Change”.
  • If it’s difficult to find someone outside the office to bounce your ideas off, or talk about your doubts and difficulties, a coach can effectively fill that void.
  • A coach can be the confidant you need with a fresh perspective, a commitment to confidentiality, and a bag full of innovative ideas that perhaps you hadn’t thought of yet.

Heyman Consulting’s focus is to Prepare, Eqiuip, and Accelerate our clients’ personal and professional growth through seminars, coaching and development strategies.  We believe that people are the key to an organization’s competitive advantage. Our mission is to help organizations leverage the full potential of their people and navigate the ever-changing world of work.




Stop shooting our kids.  Not only do our hearts deeply hurt for the victims and their families, but our minds reel in disgust trying to make sense of senseless acts.

Nevertheless, when it comes to mass murders perpetrated on our school children, the talk of poverty must come to a screeching halt.  This shooting, and quite frankly nearly all the school shootings beginning with Columbine did not – let me repeat that – did not occur in poor neighborhoods.   

So what is going on?  Where are we heading as a culture? Why is there an alarming disregard for human life? The attack on 911 that killed nearly 3000 people in New York City taught us this – some people do not love us. The war in Ukraine has taught us that one nation does not love another nation.

And these horrendous school shootings have taught us that even in America, we do not love each other enough.  Even the recent local shootings that have taken the lives of our young people are a screaming testimony to a vast cultural problem.

Sure, all the experts in mental health are somewhat right as they analyze the psyche of an 18-year-old man that would do such a horrifying thing, killing nearly 20 children and some teachers.

However, the word “psychology” actually comes from two Greek words meaning “a study of the soul”. Not simply a study of the physical brain, but a far deeper study of the mind and soul.

So, are we a culture that has lost our mind? Are we as a culture that has lost our soul? Do all of the social service agencies, including churches understand the importance of dealing with that part of us that cannot be located by a microscope, or studied sufficiently by qualitative or quantitative methodologies.

The soul. Famous experts such as Rollo May, Carl Jung, Viktor Frankl addressed the issue of the soul which goes far deeper than simply discussing what medication would have prevented these evil people from committing these dreadful acts.  Yes, I said “evil”.

And quite frankly, I have heard it from more than a few teachers that the anxiety level in our schools is far higher than it has ever been before. The anxiety level with children who have lost a year or two of socialization, of learning how to share, of learning how to love, of learning how to treat one another properly has been lost. Perhaps a result of COVID and the social separation thereof, but it’s more than that.

This is no small matter.  It is up to parents primarily but let me pause here.  Did you ever notice how much blame “dysfunctional families” get these days?  They’ve become a dumping ground for nearly all the ills of society.  Yet even “dysfunctional family” is an elusive nomenclature, and difficult to define.

When asked, “What a dysfunctional family”, most respond by citing the divorce rate as a classic example.  But this myopic response is too short-sighted to fully explain why some of the finest students in our schools come from divorced parents, and while some of our worst students come from “functional” families, where mom and dad are still together.  Now, please don’t run out and get a divorce thinking that your children will be better off, because divorce does have negative ramifications. 

Hence, our families, our schools and our churches must pay attention to what anxiety does to the soul – what it does to the ability to share, to play safely, to love one another.  There is nothing “soft” about this.  This is a hard aspiration, to alter the soul of a nation by altering the souls of our young people.

This summer is a golden opportunity to focus sincerely, deliberately, and intentionally on our children’s ability to grow a healthy psyche – a healthy soul – capable of loving oneself, and in turn, loving others. 

Our summer camps, our vacation Bible schools, our city parks and community centers should work double time in totally revamping its programs and designing innovative ways of working deep into our children’s ability (or their inability) to be civil and loving.

I was born in Athens, Greece (true story) where I lived in the Athens Childrens Asylum for the first few years, and then sold to abusive people much like the movie “Slumdog Millionaire”. I have no inkling who my real parents are, and have never had a burning desire to find out.  If it weren’t for the people here in the United States who adopted me, loved me, and raised me, I would have never known a “mom” and “dad” nor the blessings of living in the best country in the world. 

But those early childhood years in Greece were filled with trauma, abuse and abandonment, and took quite a toll on my adolescent years.  Besides the repetitive nightmares that lasted for years, I also would not let anyone hug me for three years, because prior to my adoption, when adults touched me, they hurt me.

However, there is a greater lesson to be learned here than simply feeling sorry for me. It remains true for all of us, that life has its ups and downs, its blessings and cursings, its good times and bad times.  Everyone has a story that has been the cause of enormous anguish and pain.  If you don’t, then you haven’t lived long enough. 

It is not so much “what” happens to us that should matter, for there are invariably others who have had it worse than us.  In fact, we should not even expend too much energy trying to figure out “why” certain things have occurred in our lives but not in the lives of others. But rather, we should be asking, “So what?”   What have these excruciating traumatic experiences brought to our lives?  Have they served to strengthen us or weaken us?  As one author has stated, only 15% of our life is determined by the actual events that happen to us, while 85% of our life is determined by our reaction to these life events.

If the road of life produces potholes (and usually when we least expect them), then why is it that only some people count their blessings and not their bummers, and that some folk become better and not bitter?  What is it that makes some folk decide to win rather than whine?  Is it sheer determination, is it spirit, is it religion, is it tenacity, is it upbringing, is it opportunity, is it the challenge of adversity?  Or is it a little bit of all these elements that separates the ‘men’ from the ‘boys’ (whoops, is that too sexist for a politically correct article?)

And we all know the accounts of Abraham Lincoln, Booker T Washington, Joni Erikson Tada, Victor Frankl, Corrie Ten Boom and many others (our own relatives, perhaps) who wrestled with severe hardship, misfortune and adversity in their lives.  Yet they did not consider these things as insurmountable obstacles, but rather faced them as difficulties to be conquered. So, were these people so different from us?  Did God endow them with an inner strength that we don’t have?  Of course not. If they could do it, so can we. And so can our children.

Thus, here are two major findings:

1) There are lots of reasons not to smile, but none of them are good!

2) They who cry the loudest are not hurting the worst.  The deepest scars are not always on the outside where people can see them.  In this day and age, while we revere the victim who bears the scars of family and social traumas, we neglect the unsung hero who has decided not to hang out their dirty laundry for a book contract or movie rights. 

But I believe that in our quest to discover and “deal” with childhood traumas, that we have indeed come to act childish;  that is, we are so quick to blame someone else or something else for our lack of strength, our inability to get along with others, our incompetence, our reactive moods, and our lack of quality workmanship. 

For example, do you remember as a child, when our parents would ask, “Why did you hit you brother?” to which we would quickly reply, “Because he hit me first!”  Our reply was a childhood attempt to shift focus and blame away from us, and in fact claim that we had no control over our choices and behavior. In this childish way, we claimed that we were simply reactive creatures and should not be held accountable for our actions.  WE WERE VICTIMS! But we were kids then. 

Children blame, but adults take responsibility, right? So, in many respects, they who cry the loudest are not hurting the worst.

Certainly, all of us can recall a special “someone” in our lives, perhaps a grandmother, or a great-uncle, or a close friend of the family, who went through some trauma, some illness,  some heartbreaking experience, yet did so with grace, poise, and an inner strength that we not only admire, but strive to mimic.  Furthermore, what amazes us the most is not just the severity of their plight, but the strength they displayed while going through this dreadful experience. In truth, their quiet strength is a screaming testimony of the profound wisdom they found in a life full of joy in the midst of incredible distress.

This is the supreme foundation of a life worth living.

Did you ever notice that “dysfunctional families” get blamed for nearly all the ills of society, and for many of the problems that our students are having within the school system.  Yet even the phrase “dysfunctional family” is an elusive nomenclature, and difficult to define.

By the way, did you hear that last summer the first annual conference of Functional Families was convened?  That’s right, an annual conference of FUNCTIONAL FAMILIES!  And guess what?   Both families showed up!  

When I ask people what a dysfunctional family is, most respond by citing the divorce rate as a classic ingredient.  But this myopic response is too short-sighted to fully explain why some of the finest students in our school system come from divorced parents, while on the other hand, some of our worst students come from “functional” families, where mom and dad are still together. 

In fact, many child abusers, and sexual marauders of children are married fathers and mothers.  And conversely, many parents who get a divorce do their children a favor and reduce the level of dysfunction that was occurring while they were married. 

Now, please don’t run out and get a divorce thinking that your children will be better off.  To the contrary, marital breakups have an incredible impact upon children, and are certainly an element of dysfunction.  However, what must be noted here is that a truly “dysfunctional” family goes far beyond whether dad and mom are still together, and has a whole lot to do with how parents treat their kids, no matter what state the marriage is in.  If parents properly raise their children to deal with life’s ups and downs (including divorce) with grace and strength, then they have raised their kids to be courageous, caring, and civilized.  These kids possess the social skills to become a smashing success, no matter what their parents’ marital status is, or what their SOCIO-ECONOMIC level may be.

Which brings us to another misnomer that illustrates how we are bombarded by intellectual indoctrination, compelled to believe the popular notions that are force fed to us through the media, seminars, and periodicals.  For example, we are told that children from “low socio-economic” environments are less likely to succeed in school than those from “high socio-economic” conditions. 

That may sound well and good, until you ask the pundits for a clear definition of LOW and HIGH “socio-economic” conditions.  And guess what you hear?  The same gibberish that you hear about “dysfunctional” families: no clear definition, a lot of abstracts without anything tangible, accompanied by a whole lot of blame, finger-pointing and horrible war stories of children who come from “low socio-economic” situations and “dysfunctional” families.  But still, no clear definitions.

Now, if we have been foolish enough to swallow this notion that children from LOW socio-economic levels are doomed to repeat the cycle, then what are we to say to them?   And if we say it too loudly, won’t the children hear us?  And if they hear us, won’t they be inclined to believe the same hogwash that passes off as research?  And if they believe that their chances of success will suffer because of their low socio-economic situation, then won’t they be likely to achieve what they have come to believe, and therefore prove the shallow research correct?  Frightening cycle, isn’t it?

Herein lies the malady.  I’m not sure who coined the term “SOCIO-ECONOMIC” but the modern usage of it usually infers the “economic” portion of the term, and negates the “socio” part, which refers to social skills.  In other words, most references to “low socio-economic” conditions shortsightedly focuses on a certain income level, a POVERTY Line, which neglects to address the SOCIO or social skills of people. 

Let me explain.  For thirteen years I watched a group of professionals (IBM employees) that had respectable jobs, and would be considered in the high socio-economic strata, yet who for many, were ill-prepared for the economic slowdown in the computer industry during the late 1980s.  While they were high-income, they were socially unprepared, and hence, found themselves either without a job, or having to move to another state, or take a demotion.

On the other hand, history is replete with accounts of people who lived in LOW “economic” circumstances (poverty), but who were able to socially adapt to a changing culture and do what was necessary to become a smashing success.

Years ago, I worked with youth during the “coffee house” movement in Bud Lake, NJ.   This was a low-income, high crime, high drug abuse community (drug addicts, users, suppliers, and sellers).   We renovated a barn for them to drop in, strum on their guitars, sit around and have “rap” sessions, drink sodas, and smoke cigarettes, the legal kind.  I thought I understood their need to escape, and their temptation to make some easy money.

Then I attended graduate school in Rhode Island, and began working with young people in the wealthy, upscale resort and Navy Base Island of Newport.  I soon discovered that jet-set teens involved with expensive designer drugs were expressing the same needs to escape, and the same temptation to make easy money that the kids in New Jersey had.

Then I landed in prison here in Florida, not as an inmate, but as a substance abuse therapist in a Close Security prison.  Through the intensive work with the inmates, I saw firsthand the power of the human spirit, and discovered that if anyone wants to change their lives badly enough, they will find a way to do it.  Yes, even hardened criminals. Pain creates change.

But the reason that many people do not change, is that they simply do not want to, regardless of their socio-economic conditions.

Therefore, at all socio-economic levels, and in any family situation, there remains an undeniable certainty that human nature, left unchecked and undisciplined, will gravitate to evils it can afford, or will acquire money it did not earn.

Yet, without blaming the rest of the world for our plight in life, we possess the ability to make a decent life and a respectable living.  If we chose to, we can make a living and make a difference at the same time. 

Erma Bombeck said it beautifully:  “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade!”

Nonprofits are the heart and soul of a city.  Without them, we would never know what is occurring in the neediest communities – the communities that most people reading this do not walk in, shop in, play in, or worship in.

From the homeless shelters to the afterschool programs, to the myriad of prevention and intervention programs dealing with food scarcity, substance abuse, domestic violence, mental health, child sexual abuse, trafficking, homelessness, and the list goes on.

These non-profits do the research that no one else does.   These non-profits do the work that no one else is equipped to do.

In fact, as it relates to Child Serving nonprofits, they are often the only ones that rescue and rebuild the countless thousands of young lives that would otherwise be lost to the streets, the gangs, the courts, the jails, and the morgues.

Nonetheless, non-profits have been called parasites and leeches of the public coffers, taking needed resources that could otherwise be used for potholes, business incentives, downtown development, as well as the services of our first responders – police, fire, and EMT.

But reality has shown that non-profit staff are often the very first people that come face-to-face with real-time traumatic and sometimes dangerous circumstances involving the kids and adults that they serve, related to domestic discord, mental health emergencies, bullying, school violence, depression, suicide, gangs, guns, etc.

Our non-profits do what no one else does – let me repeat that —  what no one else does – not gov’t, not churches, not first responders, not schools, not colleges.   Non-profits, especially as it relates to children. take a laser-tight focus on the gaps that prevent our children from being EDUCATED, SAFE, and HEALTHY.  They study these gaps; they create efficiencies to plug these gaps; and they create the programs to fill these gaps.

Furthermore, they measure and evaluate the impact of these programs in order to create the greatest Return on Investment (ROI).

But since resources are limited and do not meet all the needs of all the children in all the neighborhoods, nonprofits find themselves in a continual state of “triaging” our communities, identifying the most critical needs that deserve their immediate attention.

Furthermore, non-profits have spent a great deal of time demonstrating how their programs are improving both Crime Prevention and Economic Development. 

“Build no Buildings, only Relationships” – Going forward, child-serving nonprofits should dedicate more of their programs inside the DCPS school buildings.

I made a decision in 1996 while working in Putnam County that I could more effectively serve many more students if I provided the services inside the school buildings.  I’m still convinced that many other non-profits could do the same. This will ensure that more students will be served effectively with a greater “dosage” of services. 

Benefits for both the DCPS and the non-profits.  The DCPS benefits from the added programs and services provided by the non-profits that augment the work of the DCPS at no additional cost to the school system.

For the non-profits, this reduces the burden of capital fund raising. While many nonprofits use donor dollars to build buildings, it should be proposed that they dedicate at least a portion of their staff, resources and programs to the school system by adding their services right inside the school buildings, where the students are.

For example, when I was the CEO of the Jacksonville Children’s Commission, we provided $32 million for afterschool programs, mental health services, mentoring activities, requiring that these programs be provided inside school buildings.  This resulted in serving twice the number of children.

Let’s remain committed to “Making a massive positive difference, For the greatest number of children, In the shortest period of time.”  ‘Nuff said.

We live in tumultuous times, where every major institution is being confronted: family, government, and even those who protect us from our enemies, both foreign and domestic.  And for good reasons.  The breakdown of the family unit, police wrongdoings, and government atrocities have made us doubt the very institutions that buttress our culture.

But this not new.  My teen years (`70s) were peppered with never-ending demonstrations against the Vietnam War, busting through police barricades, and disparaging all authority in general.  Bumper stickers ranged from “Make Love, Not War” to “Honk if you Love Jesus”.  One of the best was, “If you hate the police, next time you’re in trouble, call a hippie”.

Indeed, there are outliers in any profession who do appalling and disgraceful things that thoroughly tarnishes their profession and leaves a stain of disdain. This is equally true for teachers, police, politicians, preachers, coaches, priests, doctors, youth workers, you name it.

But these are the exceptions, not the rule. And these outliers should not define our culture, because on the whole, America has birthed the most effective, proactive, and compassionate public service sector in the world.  Stellar examples include our firefighters, police, EMTs, NGOs, and the myriad of food, clothing, and relief organizations.  Also, our churches and faith-based organizations give billions of dollars in relief aid, both at home and abroad. And let’s not forget the tough work that nonprofits do for the destitute, exploited and neglected members of our local communities.

America does this far better than any other country. And while we come to the aid of other countries in their tumultuous disasters, it is a rare occasion when another country comes to our aid during any of our numerous natural disasters.

And on a personal note, it was the work of a faith-based nonprofit here in America that wrought my adoption from a child trafficking slave-labor asylum in Greece.

Yes, we live in tumultuous times, but “America, the Beautiful” still exists.

A television interviewer asked 17 and 18 year old drop outs if they knew anyone who had ever graduated from college.  85% said no.  Hmmm.

This was a peculiar response since they had spent numerous years in school being taught by teachers who all had college degrees.  Apparently, these students didn’t really know their teachers very well.

John Lennon penned these words in his song, “Imagine”:  “Imagine all the people, living life in peace … you may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.”  Quite frankly, our schools need more dreamers, not the kind that sit in class and sleep all day, but the kind that “imagine” noble goals and lofty heights that we have not yet reached within the schools of America.  We need teachers, students, parents, and communities that have a wild imagination.

Imagine if it were completely obvious that our main educational purpose is a moral one of producing caring people, while maintaining a relentless drive for academic excellence.

Imagine addressing what we esteem highly, no longer avoiding values as if they were a plague, since schools are asked to be a home, a church, and a community to many kids.

Imagine students conceiving of their roles as scholars and critics, as makers and appraisers of the future.

Imagine students visualizing a world within their power to alter.

Imagine our community religious leaders being heavily involved in the lives of their students on the school campuses.

Imagine realtors citing the excellent, bright, and outstanding teachers and students when they advertise their properties for sale.

Imagine that there were no outstanding teachers, since that is actually an indictment on all the others.

Imagine citizens expressing their anger by addressing the political side of their school community, conducting themselves politely, and not letting their anger overwhelm them.

Imagine dealing with hot issues like local real estate taxes, sex education, violence and drugs, realizing that these can become soul-searching ventures and mind stretching endeavors.

Imagine applying anger in a purposeful way, yielding a more caring, civilized community, resulting in stronger friendships, and more admirable relationships amongst students, staff, and parents. 

Imagine caring about the needed change within our schools, and developing a shared vision of where we want to go, thus providing the impetus to struggle through the obstacles and jump the hurdles which the change resistors will throw in front of us. 

Imagine addressing multicultural curricula without the chic terminology or popular buzzwords, resulting in a true eradication of the divisive exclusionary spirit.

Imagine a school system which catapults true scholarship to the forefront of academic achievement.

Imagine schools which reward excellence at every level, ensuring a place for every child and emerging adult in the economic and social world.

Imagine everything that we teach, we practice.

Imagine students experiencing an enlivened curriculum that encourages their full involvement, a program tailored to scratch where they are itching (educationally, that is!).

Imagine that what becomes typical in a school is what is decidedly untypical, a place where students and teachers actually look forward to each school day.

Imagine what it would be like if the unusually wonderful became the usual.

“…… You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.” 

“Sticks and Stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.”  Absolutely wrong!  Names do hurt, and they hurt deeply.

How about the name “Drop Out”?  Dropping out of school is something a student does; it’s an action a student takes; it’s a VERB!  No one is born a dropout.  So, when did “Drop-out” become a noun, a label we place on a child, a name we call a student?  And why is this important? 

When we attach a label to a child, there is a greater likelihood that this child will live up (or down) to the expectations of this label. The problem with the label “Drop-out” is that it has become more than just a verb-phrase describing what a child DOES.  On the contrary, “Drop-out” has now become a noun that labels what a child IS! — and this should trouble us!

Therefore, the label “Drop-out” (or “Potential Drop-out” or even “At-Risk”) should not be given to any student that is still attending school and sitting in our classrooms.

Common sense has taught us that nearly all children rise no higher than the expectations placed on them by significant adults (parents, teachers, pastors, etc).  Unquestionably, there are exceptions to this rule, but most kids fit this description.  One comedian quipped sarcastically that he was 5 years old before he found out that his name wasn’t “Shut-up!” 

If we expect kids to drop-out because educrats (educational bureaucrats) have convinced us that 30% of children from low socio-economic conditions do in fact drop out, then we will establish our expectations accordingly, assign destructive labels to these students, and assume that they are more likely to drop out.  And guess what? When they do, in fact drop out, the educrats have proven their self-prophesying image, and cry out for increased funding for “Drop Out Prevention” programs. 

However, when we tell students what most educators truly believe in their hearts — that every single child is incredibly resilient and capable of  rising far above their surroundings and circumstances — then these same kids will LEAP, not limp, over the hurdles that lie before them.  History is replete with living examples of courage in the midst of adversity.

Therefore, let’s tell our kids that “dropping-out” is something you do, not something you are, and “at-risk” is a behavior, not a label.  Furthermore,  let’s eradicate this destructive term from our educational vocabulary. Let’s return “drop-out” to its natural habitat as a verb and let’s replace it with a more accurate, positive label.  

Canada came in first and the USA was the sixth best country to live in according to U.S News and World Report.  Education was a major factor.

Our education paradigms must come to a screeching halt.  First, education is a privilege, not just a right.  Second, we must believe that our students are a bright as the brightest in the world, and should be educated as such, rather than coddling the troublemakers, cozying up to the politicians, and feeding our students a measly meal of mediocrity. 

Nearly half of Americans are Functionally illiterate while the United States ranks #1 in TV watching and eating junk food.  Violence in Schools is at an all-time high.  Chewing gum and talking in class used to be a serious problem, but now students and teachers alike are worried about being robbed, beaten, shot or stabbed.  Things ain’t like they used to be.

These days, we hear an incredible amount of chatter about “rights” and hardly a word about “responsibilities.”   Yet “rights” and “responsibilities” go together like love and marriage, like a horse and carriage – you can’t have one without the other (sounds like a Broadway musical). 

Here’s a list of educational “rights” and educational “responsibilities.”  This list is global in nature and is not intended to point fingers at any single school, or teacher.

Rights and Responsibilities:

We have a responsibility to teach our students by our example that Average is no longer good enough!  The worst addiction in America is the addiction to mediocrity.

Students have a right to learn in a healthy, safe, educational atmosphere that reduces the epidemic, random destruction of people and property.

We have a responsibility to guarantee that we have enforceable discipline policies which protect our teachers, school staff, and students from the unnecessary violence in our classrooms, hallways, locker rooms and parking lots. 

 Students have a right to an education that is more than custodial, where well educated teachers have been called upon to function as Social workers and Correctional Officers, capacities which they never trained for, nor had any desire to go into as a career. 

Teachers have the right to teach a class of 30 well-behaved respectful students, rather than a class of only 20 students with four troublemakers!  Let’s be clear, there is a vast difference between students who HAVE a problem, and students who ARE the problem. Those who ARE the problem (disrespectful, disruptive, and destructive) are thwarting those who HAVE a problem (i.e. Learning Disabilities, emotional impediments, etc).  

Students have a right to see enthusiasm and excellence modeled in front of them. Attitude is caught, not taught.  From the School Board to the front-line receptionist, we teach our students best by example. 

We have a responsibility to stop saying “I’m burned out” as an excuse to do less and less while asking for more and more money.   Besides, you can’t really “burn out” until you have caught on fire.

We have a responsibility to hire not only qualified teachers, but quality teachers, who possess the qualities that we want our children to emulate.  Admit it, there is no such thing as “valueless” education.  Every teacher is a walking, breathing value system..

The students have a right to an exciting education, not simply because of technology or sports, but instead because their teachers are highly charged, properly trained, and well-paid, in that order!!

Teachers have the right to be labeled and rewarded according to their achievement, such as “Master Teacher or Senior Teacher or Associate Teacher or Assistant Teacher”.

We have a responsibility to hire staff who see their task as a “calling”.  A calling will create a successful career, but a career will not always inspire a sense of calling. 

And the whole community has a right to watch our students challenge our paradigms, blaze new trails, and rock our world.


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