E + R = O: Culture Change Program at Port Clinton City Schools

BY JOHN SCHAFFNER

What the heck is E+R=O? It is the foundation formula implementing “Culture Change” in the Port Clinton City School System.

Warren Buffet, the billionaire, once said this about his organization. “Culture eats Strategy for lunch!” For the last two years plus, Port Clinton Schools have been following the lead of Tim Kight, whose work was featured in former Ohio State Football Coach Urban Meyer’s book “Above the Line.” According to School Superintendent Pat Adkins, “The impact has been incredible.”

So what, you ask? And what is this new buzzword “culture” anyway? “Culture is what we believe, how we behave and the experiences we create for others,” says Adkins. “The school district has identified three core beliefs. They are: Together … Relentless Pursuit of Growth … and ‘Own It!’ These tie into “R-Factor” training in our attempt to achieve the best academic and developmental outcomes.”

The Port Clinton School District is in Phase III of E+R=O implementation and training.
It started with a core group of board members, administrators and teachers. Phase II involved the entire teaching staff, along with non-certified employees. Now, they have moved on to the students at all levels.

E+R=O stands for “Event + Response = Outcome. Students are now learning what all the school employees have already learned. That is: you may not be able to control events in their lives.

They can, however, control their response to an event understanding that their response will go a long way in determining the outcome. There are “above the line” responses which are discipline driven. The responses generally lead to a better outcome or “Below the Line” responses (impulsive/resistant) that lead to negative outcomes.

During the first week of school last August, each building held sessions to reinforce the Beliefs, Behaviors and Outcomes principles (BBO). Each month, the school buildings continue the training with monthly themes, which are outlined in the school district calendar.

“It doesn’t work all the time,” says Adkins, “but we can already see results.” The goal now is continued implementation of the “R-Factor” training at all levels and evaluating all of it for incremental improvements.

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