Solution Thinking for Excellence

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Several Rockford schools have implemented a program called "Solution Thinking for Excellence.” On Wednesday, those using the program shared its benefits with other elementary schools’ principals.

Supporters say the program is an exceptional motivational tool.

"You direct them, but they have ownership. It's their self-talk that molds who they are."

Dr. Ed sharp is the co-creator of "Solution Thinking for Excellence," a program that motivates students to be exceptional through a simple three-step affirmation/visualization process where students say it, see it and feel it.

"The definition of excellence has to be defined in an interactive program with the teacher and the student," says Sharp.

Eight Rockford schools have already implemented the program.. Washington school Principal Pam Hilgert says solution thinking teaches children what it is to be excellent, and then allows them to attain those goals.

"It's affirmation; instead of setting up a room full of rules they're given phrases like, "excellent students do their homework." It's things they can aim for instead of rules they need to follow," says Hilgert.

Elementary school principals were being trained in the program, a method that's been shown to reduce discipline problems, increase scholastic achievements and build confidence.

"We should be exceptional in everything we do. This program really fits well with my overall philosophy of rebuilding the human heart in the city," says Rockford Mayor Larry

"It builds self-esteem and pride. I see changes in these students. We're not forcing them, they're choosing to change, and that's very exciting," says Hilgert.

Here's an interesting statistic, Lathrop Elementary just completed its third year of the program. In the 2004-2005 school year there were 30 discipline write-ups; that's down from as many as 300 in years past!

Dr. Ed Sharp and Shep Blumenthal created the program about 10 years ago.