Crucial Skills®

A Blog by Crucial Learning

Crucial Influence

Success Story: Nebo School District Uses Influencer Training to Improve Student Performance

The Challenge
J. Lynn Jones is a VitalSmarts veteran. An elementary school principal for sixteen years, he became a certified trainer in Crucial Conversations and used those tools to help his school boost achievement. When he was promoted to director at the Nebo School District in central Utah, he added a certification in Crucial Confrontations. He taught both courses to most of his 600-person staff and also offered them to other administrators, teachers, and support staff in his district.

But his biggest challenge in his expanded role was a persistent one. He was responsible for special education in the district and focused particularly on the special education teachers in its twenty-seven elementary schools. These are the instructors who give extra help to mainstreamed students with learning disabilities. And they didn’t have a history or culture of being accountable to progress their students.

“We had a number of veteran teachers who never had high expectations, and the kids never performed well. The teachers used the excuse that ‘these kids have disabilities’,” he said. “In the end, we weren’t seeing good instruction and we weren’t seeing good results.”

Of about sixty teachers, Jones was comfortable with only five or six of their results. But because he was not a career special educator, he lacked immediate credibility to shake things up by himself.

About the same time he came to this realization, he added another VitalSmarts certification to his credentials: Influencer Training.

The Results: Read our case study to learn how J. Lynn used Influencer Training to boost literacy rates and double the number of special education students released into the regular school system.

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1 thought

  1. Adrian

    This was a pretty amazing story. I immediately forwarded it on to my child’s middle school Principal (Canyons District). I’ve asked her to share it with her own special ed teachers, her peers (other Principals) and the School District. I never understand why when a school has a success like this, it isn’t an immediate statewide mandate that every other school jump on the same wagon? Can you imagine what a difference it is going to make on all these kids who have been released from the stigma of special ed and now can spend the rest of their school lives in regular classes? That is huge and should be encouraged and duplicated, especially since they were able to do it with relatively little cost or disruption. I’ll be very interested to see what the Principal comes back with.

    Any chance you would be willing to invest the time and resources to send this case study to every school district in the nation? I couldn’t think of a better way to invest your time and money, and if even a fraction of them bear fruit, you would be doing a massively good deed for some kids who could really use a champion in their corner!

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