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PCCYFS 2012 Annual Spring Conference The Pursuit of Positive Outcomes and the Obstacles to Change Presented by Joe Lavoritano, Martha Tavantzis & James.

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Presentation on theme: "PCCYFS 2012 Annual Spring Conference The Pursuit of Positive Outcomes and the Obstacles to Change Presented by Joe Lavoritano, Martha Tavantzis & James."— Presentation transcript:

1 PCCYFS 2012 Annual Spring Conference The Pursuit of Positive Outcomes and the Obstacles to Change Presented by Joe Lavoritano, Martha Tavantzis & James Black

2 PCCYFS 2012 Annual Spring Conference 2 Basic Premises The basis for positive outcomes is constant innovation Data gathering and evaluation is the cornerstone of innovation There are many natural obstacles to innovation making innovation rare

3 PCCYFS 2012 Annual Spring Conference 3 Saint Gabriel’s System Multi-component system of care Residential Treatment Facility (200-bed) in Audubon, PA (suburb of Philadelphia) Three day-treatment programs located in and around Philadelphia Reintegration Program for youth returning to the community post residential placement Several community-based outpatient mental health programs

4 PCCYFS 2012 Annual Spring Conference 4 Saint Gabriel’s Hall Eleven residential units, 16 beds in each Short-term, farm-based program (24 beds) for first-time delinquents All youth are followed for up to 6 months post-discharge by SGS Reintegration Program.

5 PCCYFS 2012 Annual Spring Conference 5 To not constantly innovate is a matter of social injustice

6 PCCYFS 2012 Annual Spring Conference 6 As Professionals… Are we not called to innovate? Are we not called to create positive outcomes? If not us, then who? What is just?

7 PCCYFS 2012 Annual Spring Conference 7 We Believe… Innovation should be a part of a professional’s DNA

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11 PCCYFS 2012 Annual Spring Conference 11 Before De La Salle’s Innovations and After Before 1680 Teaching was mainly individual Literacy began with Latin Teachers were not trained Teaching writing was controlled by a guild By 1792 Simultaneous method of teaching was used Teaching was entirely in French Teachers were trained and supervised A particular style of handwriting was taught

12 PCCYFS 2012 Annual Spring Conference 12 Before De La Salle’s Innovations and After Before 1680 The poor and the better off were seated separately Corporal punishment was widely used Teachers were not highly regarded and had to be paid After 1792 Pupils took their places according to their scores on the last monthly test Corporal punishment was forbidden by the Brothers’ Rule of 1717 The brotherhood had been formally approved by Pope Benedict the XIII

13 PCCYFS 2012 Annual Spring Conference 13 Before De La Salle’s Innovations and After Before 1860 Progress was haphazard and uncertain Attendance was haphazard and not controlled After 1792 Monthly test were held and results communicated to parents Attendance was carefully monitored so that students did not fall behind

14 PCCYFS 2012 Annual Spring Conference 14 De La Salle Standardized and Put into Practice Many Methods Considered Standard Today Instructing an entire class of pupils simultaneously Use of the vernacular in the classroom Pioneered teacher training colleges Grouping students according to achievement (Source: SJBDLS, His Life and Spirituality, Saint Mary’s Press)

15 PCCYFS 2012 Annual Spring Conference 15 But to focus on them as an excuse is conveniently non- productive We are not saying that there are not real obstacles to what we do. (There are!)

16 PCCYFS 2012 Annual Spring Conference 16 Real Obstacles in Our Work at SGS Youth come from neighborhoods in generational poverty and are subject to chronic trauma Males do not have fully developed brains until their mid-20s; mid-teens have brains that overestimate reward and underestimate risk and negative consequences These two factors combine to make fertile ground for delinquent behaviors

17 PCCYFS 2012 Annual Spring Conference 17 What Are Your Real Obstacles to Achieving Better Outcomes?

18 PCCYFS 2012 Annual Spring Conference 18 Number of SGS Graduates by Fiscal Year

19 PCCYFS 2012 Annual Spring Conference 19 Innovations Sanctuary grant Software for rapid accrual of credit Night school Population shift to older youth Year-round school day CTE—more investment by kids

20 PCCYFS 2012 Annual Spring Conference 20 We believe that the only way forward is through innovation, and the only way to innovate is to follow the data.

21 PCCYFS 2012 Annual Spring Conference 21 Why Is Innovation So Rare? Are we just lazy by nature and happy to accept the status quo as the best we can do?

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23 PCCYFS 2012 Annual Spring Conference 23 What Gets in the Way of Innovation? Presentism Rationalization Cognitive Dissonance

24 PCCYFS 2012 Annual Spring Conference 24 Presentism The concept has been around for centuries, but Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert in his book “Stumbling on Happiness,” describes it this way: “Each of us is trapped in a place, a time or circumstance and our attempts to use our minds to transcend these boundaries are more often than not ineffective” (p.138).

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26 PCCYFS 2012 Annual Spring Conference 26 Because imagination and perception have to run in the same part of the brain. This “time-share” of parts of the brain causes presentism. Imagination cannot easily transcend the boundaries of the present. Why?

27 PCCYFS 2012 Annual Spring Conference 27 (Gilbert, p.131)

28 PCCYFS 2012 Annual Spring Conference 28 We believe we’re thinking outside the box only because we can’t see how big the box really is!

29 PCCYFS 2012 Annual Spring Conference 29 Defense Mechanisms Are Unconscious RATIONALIZATION: “The individual deals with emotional conflicts or internal or external stressors by concealing the true motivation of his or her own thoughts, feelings or actions through the elaboration of reassuring or self-serving but incorrect explanations.” (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders)

30 PCCYFS 2012 Annual Spring Conference 30 Rationalization is considered to be at the “disavowal level” of ego defenses. “This level of defense is characterized by keeping unpleasant or unacceptable stressors, impulses, ideas or responsibility out of awareness with or without a misattribution of these to external causes.” (DSM)

31 PCCYFS 2012 Annual Spring Conference 31 Examples of Rationalization “Kids have immature brains; how can we be expected to influence them to do better?” “We are doing the best we can considering where our youth are coming from.” “We are lucky we can keep a lid on the school!”

32 PCCYFS 2012 Annual Spring Conference 32 MICHAEL: I don't know anyone who could get through the day without two or three juicy rationalizations. They're more important than sex. SAM: Ah, come on. Nothing's more important than sex. MICHAEL: Oh yeah? Ever gone a week without a rationalization?

33 PCCYFS 2012 Annual Spring Conference ?

34 PCCYFS 2012 Annual Spring Conference 34 Innovations Trauma-informed care Trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy CTE—more investment by kids “Predictable unpredictability’ of AWOLS: timing, vigilance, monitoring, policy changes, etc.

35 PCCYFS 2012 Annual Spring Conference 35 Cognitive Dissonance Is defined as an uncomfortable feeling caused by holding conflicting ideas simultaneously. The theory of cognitive dissonance proposes that people have a motivational drive to reduce dissonance. They do this by changing their attitudes, beliefs and actions. Dissonance is also reduced by justifying, blaming and denying.

36 PCCYFS 2012 Annual Spring Conference 36 Cognitive Dissonance Attempts to reduce cognitive dissonance typically follow this pattern: one desires something, finds it unattainable, and reduces one's dissonance by criticizing it. This pattern is known as “adaptive preference formation.”

37 PCCYFS 2012 Annual Spring Conference 37 A classical example of this idea (and the origin of the expression "sour grapes") is expressed in the fable “The Fox and the Grapes” by Aesop (ca. 620–564 BCE). In the story, a fox sees some high-hanging grapes and wishes to eat them. When the fox is unable to think of a way to reach them, he surmises that the grapes are probably not worth eating, as they must not be ripe or that they are sour.

38 PCCYFS 2012 Annual Spring Conference 38 How Have We Diminished Our Goals? “Even if our kids get a diploma, they won’t get a job. What’s the big deal?” “I provide the kids with a safe environment. If they get re-arrested, there’s not much I can do about it.”

39 PCCYFS 2012 Annual Spring Conference 39 So, what do you currently measure, and what outcomes are you getting? Are your outcomes the best you can expect? How do you know? What could be holding you back from achieving even better outcomes?

40 PCCYFS 2012 Annual Spring Conference 40 Burning Platform Story

41 PCCYFS 2012 Annual Spring Conference 41 Cell Phones Please take out your cell phones!

42 PCCYFS 2012 Annual Spring Conference 42 Cell Phones 2008 Apple had a 25% share of $300+ phones % share

43 PCCYFS 2012 Annual Spring Conference 43 How did we get to this point? Why did we fall behind when the world around us evolved?

44 PCCYFS 2012 Annual Spring Conference 44 NOKIA’s CEO’s Answer: “We haven’t been delivering innovation fast enough.”

45 PCCYFS 2012 Annual Spring Conference 45 Reason for Discharge (% Age)

46 PCCYFS 2012 Annual Spring Conference 46 Innovations At Brother Rousseau, we are adding another social worker. At DelSit, we have added one AmeriCorps volunteer and one Lasallian volunteer who will provide more frequent relational supervision. At DelVoc, we funded a summer internship and will be funding a winter internship to supplement a jobs training grant that we received.

47 PCCYFS 2012 Annual Spring Conference 47 Number of SGS Graduates by Fiscal Year

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49 PCCYFS 2012 Annual Spring Conference 49 Reaction by the Organization: Barriers to Change Disbelief: “It’s a fluke!” Denial: “We are OK!” Displacement: “It’s not our fault!”

50 PCCYFS 2012 Annual Spring Conference 50 Reaction in the Community: Youth having a difficult time with self- regulation/emotional managements Staff having a difficult time managing youth: parallel processes Leadership pulled to use old methods to get back on track: e.g., evaluating each individual incident without defining the themes/big picture

51 PCCYFS 2012 Annual Spring Conference 51 The Sanctuary Model: We Needed to Use the Tools We started asking ourselves: “What is happening?” Began using Staff Meetings, Town Halls, Red Flags

52 PCCYFS 2012 Annual Spring Conference 52 The Sanctuary Model: We Needed to Use the Tools Began to use S.E.L.F. as the Framework to discuss issues: What are the safety issues? Where are/who is struggling with emotional management? What losses are we experiencing? What are our hope and challenges for the future?

53 PCCYFS 2012 Annual Spring Conference 53 What’s Changed? We now have the trauma-informed framework to process issues and solve problems.

54 PCCYFS 2012 Annual Spring Conference 54 What We Discovered When We Asked Ourselves “What Happened?” Difficulty with a judge: loss of confidence Key staff person fired: Loss of trust Loss of talented veteran teachers: several retired Many brand new teachers Went to full-day summer school: traditional summer programming changed Closed CBDS/opened new fraternity

55 PCCYFS 2012 Annual Spring Conference 55 What We Discovered When We Asked Ourselves “What Happened?” Core team stopped meeting in late Summer and did not meet in the Fall Forced to change our calendar; fewer home visits (in conflict with our mission) Forced to change traditions; no more off-campus trips for youth/incentive loss Clinic and youth care staffing down: people stretched Youth challenging staff in ways never done before; increased “gang-like “ connections, bold behavior, K2

56 PCCYFS 2012 Annual Spring Conference 56 What Actions Are We Taking To Prevent AWOLS and Engage Youth? Increase overall physical safety Increased cameras and lights in the parking lots Tightened up movement in the building Conducted fraternity searches Brought in more staff temporarily to help with challenging youth in the school area

57 PCCYFS 2012 Annual Spring Conference 57 Increased Emotional Safety Work at preventing AWOLS Clinical therapists work to explore “push and pulls” to possible AWOL

58 PCCYFS 2012 Annual Spring Conference 58 Other Strategies All departments and all levels of the organization meeting together to work on specific issues identified in the Team Meetings Work with other Sanctuary-certified agencies to honestly discuss AWOL challenges Share and develop best-practice standards to address prevention, management and post-AWOL debriefing

59 PCCYFS 2012 Annual Spring Conference 59 Has it Worked? In process now…we’ll see what is helpful Looking at solutions through a Trauma- Informed lens Sanctuary does not tell you how to solve your problems…it provides a model to work through issues We will evaluate through data to see if we are on the right track

60 PCCYFS 2012 Annual Spring Conference 60 As professionals, we believe we are compelled to innovate. Innovation does not come naturally— actually accepting current outcomes as the best we can do is natural. Collecting data and mulling over what it is indicating will encourage you to try new things and spur innovation. Innovation is the just thing to do. Takeaways

61 PCCYFS 2012 Annual Spring Conference 61 Innovation is the just thing to do! TAKEAWAYS


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