Change is constant, but change is not sustainable without intention.
Change is constant. It’s an age-old adage. People can change in desired ways, but change is not sustainable without intention. It is this intention or direction that gives us agency over change in our lives. Intentional Change Theory (ICT) provides us with a platform for achieving desired, sustainable change and is the basis for our work with our students at Focus Collegiate.
Emerging findings in neuroscience underscore that working collaboratively in supportive trust-based, resonant relationships activates parts of the brain associated with openness to new ideas and social orientation to others. Similarly, positive coaching emphasizing strengths stimulates important neural circuits and stress-reduction systems in the body thus encouraging students to envision and pursue a desired future for themselves. By giving credence to the student’s dream, Focus Collegiate helps them begin to recognize and schedule the changes and incremental steps that will bring them closer to its achievement.
We believe the ability for our students to create and articulate a vision for their future, develop a plan to work towards that vision, and exhibit the openness and flexibility to practice new behaviors is central to success in college and in life.
This is Our Approach
Our approach improves communication, increases curiosity, and creates the motivation that accelerates change. Our support is orchestrated in the following cycles of discovery as illustrated in the ICT*:
In guided dialogue with their Collegiate Life Coordinator, students unveil their true ambitions. This ideal becomes the driver.
We use a series of assessments and student insights to help determine the student’s abilities, strengths, and areas of development. This reality informs the amount and type of support each student receives. Increasing self-awareness is critical in framing the Learning Agenda.
The discrepancy between the student’s personal reality and personal vision brings to light actionable steps that become the foundation of each student’s learning agenda. Skill building, amount of support, and static activities (such as class attendance and regular meetings and appointments) come together to suggest an outline for the student’s daily calendar.
Experimentation & Practice
Developing new behaviors, thoughts, or perceptions takes time and practice. Through calendar creation, digital reminders, conversation, and reiteration, our coaches help students become accountable to their own plans based on their own personal vision. Our intention is to help students hold themselves accountable to the schedule that they created for themselves.
This is what we do. Neuroscience research is clear that without this, students will experience significant barriers to openness, change, and productivity. We support the development of the trusting relationships that make each step of the process possible.
* Originally named the Self-Directed Learning Model, the ICT has been developed over the last 40 years and validated through longitudinal studies on individual change in theory, application, and neuroscience. The theory was synthesized in 2006 by Richard Boyatizs at Case Western Reserve University and has been the subject of, and cited by, hundreds of research studies and scholarly articles.
Putting it all together
At the start of each semester, we revisit our assessments and student’s vision, making whatever adjustments that might be necessary to help the student continue moving forward. These periodic reviews present another opportunity to emphasize and build upon areas of success.
Our students benefit from regular and frequent contact with our professional team each week in both structured and unstructured ways. Our team is full-time, fully accessible, and completely dedicated. Our students benefit from low student-to-staff ratios that emphasize resonant relationships.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the law that provides students with IEPs, no longer applies to students once they graduate from high school.
Colleges vary greatly in their disability determinations and are often far more restrictive than high schools in granting accommodations.National Center for Learning Disabilities