“HELP ME BEHAVE”: Going Beyond Traditional School Discipline Plans


[semester equivalent = 2.00 credits]



Lori Gibson



Traditional discipline plans usually frustrate chronically disruptive students and can be overkill for well-adjusted kids. Dr. Ross Greene’s “Plan B” is a better approach for dealing with disruptive behavior. It assumes that even disruptive students want to succeed in school, but that they have obstacles in their lives that prevent them from being successful. “Plan B” encourages educators to discover why a student is struggling with challenging behaviors and provides effective tools so to help the student address and overcome the obstacles and become a successful, empowered student.   

This independent study course is appropriate for Pre-K through grade 12 teachers, administrators, support staff and parents. 

LEARNING OUTCOMES: Upon completion of this course, participants will have:

  1. The conceptual framework for understanding the factors that “set the stage” for challenging behavior in students that is based on Dr. Ross Greene’s work.
  2. Identified the nine typical ways that educators and parents explain student behavior that usually do not make the problems any better and can actually make them worse.
  3. Knowledge of the “unsolved problems” and “lagging skills” that potentially underlie the challenging behaviors of students.
  4. Specific proactive strategies that teachers and parents can use to solve the problems and teach the skills to their challenging students.
  5. Specific proactive strategies that teachers and parents can use to approach students who are in the middle of challenging behaviors.
  6. Learned how to effectively collaborate with colleagues and administrators to confront and change the “status quo” and truly address the needs of these challenging students.

Completion of all specified assignments is required for issuance of hours or credit. The Heritage Institute does not award partial credit.

The use of artificial intelligence is not permitted. Assignment responses found to be generated by AI will not be accepted.

Completing the basic assignments (Section A. Information Acquisition) for this course automatically earns participants their choice of CEUs (Continuing Education Units), Washington State Clock Hours, Oregon PDUs, or Pennsylvania ACT 48 Hours. The Heritage Institute offers CEUs and is an approved provider of Washington State Clock Hours, Oregon PDUs, and Pennsylvania ACT 48 Hours.



Continuing Education Quarter credits are awarded by Antioch University Seattle (AUS). AUS requires 75% or better for credit at the 400 level and 85% or better to issue credit at the 500 level. These criteria refer both to the amount and quality of work submitted.

  1. Completion of Information Acquisition assignments 30%
  2. Completion of Learning Application assignments 40%
  3. Completion of Integration Paper assignment 30%


CREDIT/NO CREDIT (No Letter Grades or Numeric Equivalents on Transcripts)
Antioch University Seattle (AUS) Continuing Education Quarter credit is offered on a Credit/No Credit basis; neither letter grades nor numeric equivalents are on a transcript. 400 level credit is equal to a "C" or better, 500 level credit is equal to a "B" or better. This information is on the back of the transcript.

AUS Continuing Education quarter credits may or may not be accepted into degree programs. Prior to registering, determine with your district personnel, department head, or state education office the acceptability of these credits for your purpose.



The required text is Lost At School: Why Our Kids with Behavioral Challenges Are Falling Through the Cracks and How We Can Help Them by Ross Greene, 2014: Scribner Books.  New York, NY. 336 pages. ISBN 978-1501101496. 

None. All reading is online.


Text: Lost At School: Why Our Kids with Behavioral Challenges Are Falling Through the Cracks and How We Can Help Them is approximately $11 for the required text at Amazon.



Assignments done in a course forum will show responses from all educators who have or are taking the course independently. Feel free to read and respond to others' comments. 
Group participants can only view and respond to their group members in the Forum. 

Assignment #1: Introduction

Please read Chapter 1: School of Hard Knocks in the course text and then introduce yourself in 250- 500 words responding to the following questions:

  • Why did you choose this course?
  • Please reflect on Dr. Greene’s foundational belief that students can have a kind of behavioral learning disability or developmental delay.
  • Do you agree or disagree that students may have difficulty mastering the skills to become adept at handling life’s social, emotional and behavioral challenges?
  • Please explain your answer.

Assignment #2: Kids Do Well ...

Please read Chapter 2: Kids Do Well If They Can from the course text and reflect on the following assignment focus in a 250 – 500 word paper:
  • Describe and reflect on the difference between the two prominent philosophies about kids and their behaviors:  “Kids do well if they want to” vs. “Kids do well if they can.”
  • Be sure to incorporate your thinking in regards to the nine typical ways that educators and parents explain challenging student behavior.

Assignment #3: Collaborative Problem Solving Model

Please read Chapter 3: Lesson Plans from the course text and write a 250 – 500 word paper addressing Dr. Greene’s options for dealing with unmet expectations. Please include the following:

  • In a brief overview please describe Plan A, Plan B and Plan C (also referred to as the CPS - Collaborative Problem Solving model).
  • Include the purpose and the possible outcomes/consequences for each of the plans.
  • Reflect on your classroom discipline plan as well as your school discipline plan and determine whether Plan A, Plan B or Plan C fits most closely with your current classroom and school’s approaches.
  • Please indicate which plan is the closest fit to your classroom plan and your school’s discipline plan and briefly explain your thinking.

Send to instructor: Subject line to read ‘Help Me #3’.

Assignment #4: Let’s Get It Started

Please read Chapter 4: Let’s Get It Started from the course text. The purpose of this assignment is to increase your understanding of how to use Plan B: Collaborative & Proactive Solutions (CPS) model.  In a 250 – 500 word paper please include the following: 

  • Identify and describe the 3 steps that make up Plan B. 
  • Please delineate the purpose of each step as well as some of the particular “ingredients” under each step as discussed in the chapter.

Assignment #5: Significant Elements

Please read the final two sections of the book’s case study on Joey in Chapter 5 (pgs. 137-154) and Chapter 6 (pgs. 173-186). In 250 – 500 words:

  • Summarize “Joey’s story” from Chapters 1-6.
  • Be sure your summary identifies and reflects on the significant elements (philosophy, strategies, etc.) of the course as described in the case study.

Assignment #6: Meeting of the Minds

Please read Chapter 7: Meeting of the Minds and Chapter 8: School of Thought, which deal with how to collaborate effectively in order to create positive changes in school-wide systems to address the needs of students with behavioral challenges. In a 250 - 500 word paper, address the following:

  • Identify and describe 2-3 of the strategies that you believe would be most important to use in your particular work situation to promote school-wide system change.



In this section, you will apply your learning to your professional situation. This course assumes that most participants are classroom teachers who have access to students. If you do not have a classroom available to you, please contact the instructor for course modifications. Assignments done in a course forum will show responses from all educators who have or are taking the course independently. ​Feel free to read and respond to others' comments. Group participants can only view and respond to their group members in the Forum. 


Assignment #7: Key Components

Chapter 4 deals more in depth with Plan B: The CPS model, highlighting the key components and the thinking behind each component. Write a 250-500 word paper that addresses the following:

  • Identify the goal of the Empathy Step and describe each of the 8 drilling strategies.
  • Be sure to address why this step is critical to successfully using the CPS model with students who have behavioral issues.
  • Reflect on your own classroom and school-wide approach to working with these students and identify which, if any, of the drilling strategies that are currently being used and discuss how they are working with your challenging students.
  • If you are not using any of these strategies currently, discuss which you might like to incorporate into your work with students an explain why.

Send to instructor: Subject line to read ‘Help Me #7’.

Assignment #8: Case Studies

Read the rest of Chapter 5 (pgs. 120-137) as it discusses specific case studies of Plan B: The CPS model. Do the following:

  • Choose a student who is not currently meeting your expectations and is causing significant disruption to the learning of other students.
  • Complete the Assessment of Lagging Skills and Unsolved Problems (ALSUP) from page 288 in the course text for this student.
  • In a 250 - 500 word paper discuss and reflect on what you learned about this student’s abilities and needs from doing the assessment.
  • If you have the ability to scan the ALSUP also send it with your assignment.
  • Be sure to omit the student’s name from any course work you send in.

Assignment #9: Gained Knowledge

Using the knowledge you gained in Assignment #8, implement Plan B with your student. Write a 500 -750 word paper detailing your experience, and be sure to include:

  • A summary of what occurred in each of the three steps
  • A reflection of what you learned from your first attempt at Plan B and changes you will make the next time you implement Plan B with this or another student.
  • Use Chapter 5 as your resource for the reflection portion of your assignment.
  • Optional: You may use the Problem Solving Plan to guide your work (pg. 289).

Assignment #10: Lesson Plan

Assignment #10:   (Required for 400 and 500 Level)

Assignment #10-A:

  • Adapt a lesson to reflect what you’ve learned in this course.
  • Implement your lesson with students in your classroom.
  • Write a 250-500 word commentary on what worked well and what could be improved.
  • Include any student feedback on your lesson.
  • Share what you’ve learned with other teachers taking our courses by also contributing your Lesson to The Heritage Institute Lesson Library here. (
  • Sample Lesson Plan Template:
  • Send your modified lesson and your commentary via email to your instructor.


Assignment #10-B:

Use this option if you do not have a classroom available.

  • Adapt a lesson to reflect what you’ve learned in this course. (Do not implement it.)
  • Share what you’ve learned with other teachers taking our courses by contributing your Lesson to The Heritage Institute Lesson Library here.  (
  • Write a 500+ word article concerning any noteworthy success you’ve had as a teacher with one or more students.
  • Please refer to the guidelines on our blog What Works: Teaching at its Best,, prior to writing your article.
  • When you submit your article to your instructor, please also email a copy to Renee Leon,, THI blog curator and media specialist.
  • Indicate whether or not you are OK with having your article considered for publishing on our website.  
  • Submit your modified lesson along with your article via email to your instructor.  

Assignment #11: (500 Level ONLY)

In addition to the 400 level assignments, complete one (1) of the following:
Option A)
Interview another educator about the class you are taking.  Talk to them regarding their perspective and thoughts on the topic you are studying. To document completion of this assignment, include the following:
  • The date of the conversation
  • The role of the person with whom you spoke (colleague, supervisor, friend, etc.)
  • Why you chose this person
  • Write a500 – 750 word summary highlighting key insights
Send to instructor: Subject line to read ‘Help Me #11-A’.
Option B)
In Chapters 8 and 9 Dr. Greene addresses the key components and challenges of transforming a school’s discipline policy. This assignment can be used as a way of starting that collaboration process with your building administrator(s).  Develop a plan for discussing the key elements from the course including the following:
  • The foundational belief that “Kids do well if they can.”
  • The basics of Plan B: Collaborative & Proactive Solutions (CPS) model
  • Other content as you deem appropriate in your given situation.
You may choose how you begin this collaboration with your administrator(s), whether it be in written form (PowerPoint, letter, etc.) or a face-to-face meeting. As evidence of assignment completion submit (a) any written documentation/PowerPoint and a one (1) page reflection of your experience or (b) write a 500 – 750 word paper documenting your interactions and including a reflection of your experience.
Send to instructor: Subject line to read ‘Help Me #11-B’.
Option C)
Another assignment of your own design with prior approval from the instructor.
Send to instructor: Subject line to read ‘Help Me #11-C’.


Assignment #12: (Required for 400 and 500 level)

(Please do not write this paper until you've completed all of your other assignments)

Write a 400-500 word Integration Paper answering these 5 questions:

  1. What did you learn vs. what you expected to learn from this course?
  2. What aspects of the course were most helpful and why?
  3. What further knowledge and skills in this general area do you feel you need?
  4. How, when and where will you use what you have learned?
  5. How and with what other school or community members might you share what you learned?


Instructors will comment on each assignment. If you do not hear from the instructor within a few days of posting your assignment, please get in touch with them immediately.


Lori Gibson, M.A., E.S.A., is a dedicated school counselor with a wealth of experience in the field of education. She holds a Master’s degree in counseling psychology from Gonzaga University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in both education and psychology from Whitworth University. With a career spanning 31 years, Lori has contributed her expertise to various educational institutions, including North Chicago High School in Illinois, Lake Washington School District and Spokane Public Schools, both in Washington state. For the past 21 years, Lori has been an instructor at The Heritage Institute, where she is deeply passionate about empowering fellow educators to excel in their noble work within schools. In today's evolving educational landscape Lori understands the shift on many fronts - including the mandates to integrate technology, embrace neurodiversity, foster social and emotional growth and dig deep to understand the neurological basis for challenging behaviors. Lori recognizes that our students, pre-K to 12th grade face an array of challenges, from learning, social and emotional gaps due to the ripples of the pandemic, family stressors, poverty, the impact of social media and entitlement issues, among others. She firmly believes that educators must be equipped with the latest research and practical strategies to address these multifaceted needs effectively. In her courses, Lori's primary aim is to provide educators with respectful and encouraging guidance to navigate these challenges. Her courses and workshops are designed to empower teachers and administrators with the knowledge and tools necessary to create a supportive and inclusive environment that prioritizes the well-being and development of every student so they can be about the business of learning!


“HELP ME BEHAVE”: Going Beyond Traditional School Discipline Plans

Gibbs, Jeanne, Reaching All by Creating Tribes Learning Communities, Centersource Systems: New Windsor, CA. 2006. 431 pages.
ISBN-10: 0932762417
This is the 30th Anniversary Edition of the classic Tribes Learning communities’ book. This approach presents a process that teaches collaborative skills, works with different learning styles, creates resiliency and supports a positive school community. This book is full of detailed classroom activities that can be used with the described Tribes model or as individual classroom community-builders as you see fit.
Greene, Ross. Lost At School: Why Our Kids with Behavioral Challenges Are Falling Through the Cracks and How We Can Help Them, Scribner Books. New York, NY. 2014. 336 pages. 
ISBN: 978-1501101496
This book is revolutionary in the philosophy, approach and strategies it presents for working with students who have behavioral challenges. It questions the traditional school discipline plans, discussing why they do not work for the students who fail to meet the expectations of the system. The strategies suggested are understandable, logical and compassionate and if followed can lead to effective interventions that can change the trajectory of “at risk” students in our schools.
Holtham, Jeannette. Taking Restorative Justice to Schools: A Doorway to Discipline. Homestead Press: Kalispell, MT. 2009. 90 pages.
ISBN: 978-0982270615
This is a short, practical book on the theory of restorative justice and how it applies at school. This thinking should be a consideration when looking at restructuring a school-wide discipline plan. What makes this book a gem are all of the implementation tools that are part of this resource.
Kriete, Roxanne. The Morning Meeting Book, Third Edition, Center for Responsive Schools, Turner Falls, MA. 2014. 232 pages.
ISBN: 978-1892989604
This book is a “must-have” for all K-8 classroom teachers. It clearly explains the purpose of a morning meeting and gives detailed instructions for conducting one. The investment of time that you give to the morning meeting format will pay off in the dividend of a respectful, safe and caring classroom community.
Tomlinson, Carol Ann. The Differentiated Classroom: Responding to the Needs of All Learners, 2nd Edition, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Alexandria, VA. 2014. 197 pages.
ISBN: 978-1416618607
This is the updated edition of the classic book on classroom differentiation. The author, who is a leading expert on the subject, explains the most effective, classroom-tested approaches for teachers to use in order to meet the instructional needs of each learner regardless of the grade level. There are many examples given of real teachers using the strategies, which make this book an honest and very helpful resource for teachers.