Reclaiming “Unsalvageable” Kids

William Perry & Larry K. Brendtro This story began at Starr Commonwealth, a residential school for troubled youth in Michigan. Larry Brendtro was successor to school’s founder Floyd Starr who was first to express the well-known motto, “There is no such thing as a bad boy.” It was there that Brendtro would meet Bill Perry—co-author[…]

Driving Mom McMillan

Larry K. Brendtro & Mark FreadoEvery child needs at least one adult who is irrationally crazy about him or her. ~Urie BronfenbrennerShe was well past retirement age when she took a job as a house mother in a residential school for troubled boys. Mom McMillan, as she was called, had spent her first career in urban[…]

Schools that Matter

Schools that Matter™ Steve Van Bockern, EdD Let us put our minds together to see what kind of life we can build for our children. ~Lakota leader, Sitting Bull Many of us in the United States wonder what kind of life the new administration will build for our children. During the contentious 2016 Presidential campaign, education[…]

Chicken Alfredo and Other Ingredients for an Effective Service Plan

Thirteen-year-old Jimmy is a small, intelligent, and emotionally immature student in an alternative school program. He was the reason that I was asked to provide consultation to the staff and administrators in the school. With his constant verbal disruptions, threats to other students, and physical acting out, there were concerns that he may not be[…]

Living with Purpose

by Dr. Martin BrokenlegLifelong learning in our hearts occurs through positive and negative experiences. Experiential learning teaches our inner world while intellectual learning, which we call knowledge, teaches our mind. We do not have a good term in English for inner learning. Some societies call this kind of learning capacities, while other societies call it[…]

The Taboo on Touch

Research Jottings by Larry K. Brendtro, PhD We have become strangers to each other, not only avoiding but even warding off all forms of “unnecessary” physical contact, faceless figures in a crowded landscape, lonely and afraid of intimacy.[1] —Ashley Montagu As a teenager, Jabari risked his life, unaccompanied, to escape war-torn Africa to the United[…]

Exploring the Resilient Brain

Research Jottings by Larry K. Brendtro, PhDThe conquest of a new truth is undoubtedly the greatest adventure to which a man can aspire.[1]  ~Santiago Ramón y Cajal (1852-1934)Santiago Ramón y Cajal’s life story is a striking example of resilience.[2] Young Santiago had terrible relations with his father. He was brilliant but rebellious, and constant discipline problems[…]

Exploring Brain-Based Needs

by Larry K. BrendtroThe leading pioneer in research on developmental needs was Abraham Maslow (1908-1970). Ironically, as a youth, he was deprived of positive support from his own parents, peers, and teachers. His father Samuel escaped from an unhappy home in Russia by sailing alone to America when only fourteen. Becoming a barrel maker in[…]