Synergy Transition Consulting
Shelley A.W. Roy
389 15th St. N
Sartell, MN 56377
Creating Dynamic Balance Through Change
to ~ A Connected System (PACS)
What is PACS?
PACS is a professional development series which is
designed to create and foster school communities which are achieving,
caring, and safe. For over 10 years, we have helped school
communities throughout the United States, Canada, from the Arctic
Circle to Australia, and Indonesia to Cheknyia, successfully utilize
these ideas and strategies to raise test score, create caring
cultures, and reduce violence.
Throughout the series we use Perceptual Control Theory* as a
theoretical underpinning to help educators understand how to
interact with students in ways that facilitate students’ internal
motivation. As one teacher from Iowa stated:
“Perceptual Control Theory is the glue that holds together
many strategies that I have used for a long time but did not
understand how or why they were supposed to work. Now I do! (Anita
Vanous, Cedar Falls).
What are the goals of PACS?
||To improve the relationship of the entire
school community; violence prevention, anti-bullying, better
family and school communications.
||To improve the academic success of the students; raise
test scores, increase attendance and enhance academic
||To develop discipline-within students; decrease
discipline referrals, reduce harassment and increase individual
accountability for actions.
What results can you expect?
In schools where PACS has been implemented as an ongoing
professional development program with implementation support we see
discipline referrals decrease by approximately 40% during the first
three years of implementation, and academic performance increases by
We help participants utilize the theory as an underpinning to all
interactions within the school community; staff to staff, staff
with students, student to student and extending to the home and
Is this practical?
We tie theory to practice in what we call “3 x 3 x 3’s”
Areas; achievement, caring and safety
Levels; individual, group and organization
Principles; of PCT:
- We can only control our ourselves
- We are internally motivated
- All living systems seek to maintain dynamic balance
We teach how understanding Perceptual Control Theory (PCT) builds
capacity to learn within each and every learner and create
learning organization. Understanding PCT shifts the way you look
at those you want to change, the change process and our role as
change-agents. This new view of behavior requires discipline
within, self-knowledge and an ability to self-evaluate. All
applications taught throughout these seminars are proven
interventions that help people help themselves.
What makes PACS different?
During the last 15 years staff development in school
districts has been fragmented, unconnected, and often a top
down, one size fits all affair. Our approach in Pathways to A
Connected System is to begin with the individual. We build upon
effective practical experiences of teachers, administrators,
and other staff asking them to review these best practices in
terms of Perceptual Control Theory. We employ the basic
principles of PCT to connect practices in the areas of
achievement, caring and safety. Finally we are committed to the
entire school community learning these ideas to affect and
increase the involvement between school and home; building
capacity within the entire comunity.
What does PCT confirm?
Caring: Make the connection
Teachers, who teach well, naturally connect with students.
They know that the way to teach or reach students is from the
inside-out. That is, students want to connect with adults, and
adults who work with youth know that those youth who change do
so because of a relationship with an adult. This is where we
start: make and maintain the connections with youth. Make the
Achieving: Bump it up
One elementary school in a district where we have worked for
over ten years has as part of their school belief statement “Reaching
Higher”. Their goal is for every student to learn to their
greatest potential. Standardized testing and district
assessment indicate that students are improving their academic
performance. We want students to make profound improvement. We
lead staff members by modeling how to be a learning
organization. We show teachers how to bump it up, i.e. to shift
their thinking and teaching toward values and principles while
using the interests and activities of the student, their
lessons in school and their life beyond school. We model for
teachers so they can model for their students “How can we be the best we can be?”
Safety through Discipline Within: Ask,
Schools want each and every child to be safe physically and,
in order to do so students first need to be safe emotionally.
For psychologically safe schools to exist the entire school
community must shift from coercive discipline to connected
discipline, or what we call Discipline Within. In a nutshell,
this is accomplished through teachers maintaining their
connection with students, self-evaluating (Am I being the kind
of teacher I want to be?) and following this simple, direct
principle: Ask, don’t tell!
We present the following
Make the connection
Ask, don’t tell
Bump it up
Seek the reference
Shift the reference
Affect error: reduce or amplify
Maintain the connection:
The above principles guide the practical classroom
applications we teach. Opportunity to practice these
hands-on applications and interventions are provided
throughout every component of the series. We coach
teachers on how to ‘frontload’ or design classroom
lessons and learning to prevent discipline incidents. We
believe it is critical to: customize implementation, to
work directly with students in classrooms, and to provide
opportunities for one-to-one assistance.
What have past participant
Past participants have stated that learning through
PACS has helped them:
- Increase their effectiveness as an instructional
- Manage their own feelings when in conflict with
other colleagues or students.
- Ask questions to lead students to self-evaluate
- Deal more effectively with the most difficult people
in their lives, both personally and professionally.
- Manage themselves when dealing with angry,
frustrated or hysterical individuals
- Become a leader of character
- Develop specific skills for resolving conflict
- Become more accepting, less critical of self and
- Build internal strength to deal with change and
- Balance their life by learning and teaching the life
balancing skill of self-evaluation
- For more information on Perceptual Control
Theory see training for Applied Control Theory (ACT
1,2,3) or read an excerpt from our book A Connected School, the
chapter on Perceptual Control Theory.
An overview session of 2 ½ hours can be provided as well
as single day sessions.
PACS was designed to be a progressive course
consisting of two four day trainings, two 30 hour
practicums (15 hours of which are face to face) and a
four day certification celebration distributed over 18
months. The first two days can be delivered in isolation,
as can many of the components. However, to gain long term
effective change in behavior the full course is
recommended. This course is excellent when aligned with
other professional development programs. Remember custom
designed training is my specialty.