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School Administration Testimonials

School Administrators consider the big picture, the culture, if you will, of the school. Academic performance is obviously high priority. Thrive101 Transformational Coaching facilitates cultural changes which systemically improve the interpersonal relationships that ultimately impact student engagement and corresponding academic performance. Here are some of the things that school administrators are saying about their experiences with Thrive101 Transformational Coaching in their schools:

Michael Favor, Principal, Robbinsdale Cooper High School

As a principal, this is the best staff development I have taken. It not only helped me professionally to become a better leader, yet personally, it motivated me to have the right mindset to be successful.

-Michael Favor, Principal, Robbinsdale Cooper High School

John Cook, Principal, Robbinsdale Middle School

This training gives participants the tools to help others change self-destructive thought patterns that manifest in poor attitudes, poor work habits, and negative self-esteem. I want to thank all staff who have participated in this training. This is truly time well spent. This training gives tools that can help us build relationships with our students, challenge mind sets that hinder others from reaching their potential, and give kids self-confidence to grow by moving out of their comfort zones.

As part of this training, staff members mentor students using life coaching tools. Last Thursday, I had the opportunity to sit in on a sharing session where teachers/support staff reported out the results of their mentoring relationships. I was amazed to hear that each student who was mentored experienced increased academic achievement and/or a decrease in behaviors that negatively impact academic achievement. I had an epiphany listening to these stories of success: too often the focus is on changing the way our students act. This is only natural because we want our students to be respectful, responsible, and ready to learn. I realized that kids, especially struggling kids, often have deep-rooted negative belief systems that contribute to the behaviors that vex us and keep them caught up in cycles of academic underachievement and poor choices. We have to find ways that challenge and change the way our kids think about themselves, their lives, and their decisions. If we help our kids think differently, then they will act differently. If we can change thinking while continuing to improve instruction we can become one of the few schools in the country that closes the achievement gap while raising the learning of all kids. We are currently transitioning from a rough and tough place to an excellent school.

-John Cook, Principal, Robbinsdale Middle School

Claire Vincent, Assistant Principal, Robbinsdale Middle School

Some interventions to engage learners work OK. Some interventions to engage learners work well. One intervention, Life Coaching, is highly successful! I can't say enough good things about Life Coaching - It works!

-Claire Vincent, Assistant Principal, Robbinsdale Middle School

Patty Johnson, MA, Principal, Hopkins High School

The leadership and academic coaching has been transforming for our school culture amongst our students and our staff members. Our students are feeling supported and are working so hard on their goals. Staff members are learning new ways to really reach out to our students and their families through culturally responsive teaching and learning. It has been wonderful for our school and we look forward to working with Nancy again this upcoming school year!

-Patty Johnson, MA, Principal, Hopkins High School

Adam McDonald, Associate Principal, Hopkins High School

I just had a friendly chat with one of the students with whom you have been working, and she attributes her transformation, from D/F student to an A/B student, to the work she has done with you. The student said: "She (my coach) did not do anything FOR me, but she helped me do something for myself-set goals-and that is what I have been doing, accomplishing those goals. Now, I have good grades and I am on my way." This comment further demonstrates your amazing work in helping our students build a mindset of success. We need to infuse more of your work throughout our entire building, as all students would benefit from this type of support. I would like to work with you this summer as we revisit our building approach to discipline and how we can look at our current system and model and make some changes in how we work with students and families to ensure success in our school.

-Adam McDonald, Associate Principal, Hopkins High School

Shannah Metz, Ecuador Program Director, Global Citizen Year

I want you to know that our Field Staff (Team Leaders and Country Directors) have all expressed their appreciation for your guidance in how best to support Fellows through their individual challenges, to get over their limiting beliefs, and to develop new ways of thinking about themselves and the world. Staff from all three country programs (Brazil, Ecuador, and Senegal) have shared with me that they have taken your suggestions and "expert question asking" advice to the field and have incorporated them into their 1:1 coaching sessions with the Fellows. Some highlights included a Team Leader here in Ecuador, who was admittedly the most skeptical Team Leader on coaching methods: she said it helped her so much to be able to work with her most challenging fellows on remembering why they are here in Ecuador and what they hope to get out of their experiences, in order to reframe the discussions and challenges as opportunities for meeting personal goals. I also know that the Country Director in Brazil used your suggestions on going into conversations with open ended questions in order to give Fellows greater control and ownership over their own answers and conclusions. These are just two of many concrete ways in which your advising has helped our Staff support Fellows in their personal and leadership development.

I also want to emphasize that, in many ways, your group calls have helped strengthen internal team dynamics among our Staff so that the impact has been two fold - not just on the 92 Fellows, but also on our staff working environments.

All of this is to say that we are very interested in continuing to work with you and explore possibilities of expanding this work for next year.

-Shannah Metz, Ecuador Program Director, Global Citizen Year


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Teacher Testimonials

We conduct staff training workshops that convey the Thrive101 principles and techniques to teachers and other school staff. As part of this training we ask teachers to devise their own plan for applying what they've learned. As the teachers develop their individual action plans and begin using their coaching skills with students, we strive to capture their impressions of the work. Here are some of the things that Teachers are saying about Thrive101 Coaching:

Jan Jodock, M. Ed., School Counselor

Coaching is a great way to make connections with students and empower them to achieve their dreams. The most lasting and meaningful change comes from inside the individual. This is one of the most promising and powerful tools I have seen in 33 years in education!

-Jan Jodock, M. Ed., School Counselor, Hopkins High School

Randy Westerham, B.S., M.A., Physical Education Teacher

Students that were falling through the cracks got an opportunity to control their future. The relationship that I’ve developed with the students will be a lifelong memory. To have made a difference is one of the greatest feelings in the world. To develop goals and to evaluate them is a lifelong skill. It provides empowerment and allows you to build intrinsic motivation.

-Randy Westerham, B.S., M.A., Physical Education Teacher, Hopkins High School

Stephanie Magelky, M.S., Autism Specialist

I’ve seen coaching open up students, make them braver, and realize that they do have the power to be successful in school and life.

-Stephanie Magelky, M.S., Autism Specialist, Hopkins High School

Kara Vipond, B.S., M.A., Special Education Work Coordinator

With a particular student coaching has been really helpful for her to see on paper what she needs to do in order to graduate and go on to beauty school. She likes that someone is checking in with her. Coaching has been a great way for her to see how changing her behavior can affect her future in a positive way.

-Kara Vipond, B.S., M.A., Special Education Work Coordinator, Hopkins High School

Randi Rood, M. Ed., Art Instructor

Kids failing or with low grades have passed and I believe this is due to the personal connection with students, students setting their own goals and creating their next steps-this is very empowering because the students are accountable for their success. This is a paradigm shift to student-driven versus teacher-driven.

-Randi Rood, M. Ed., Art Instructor, Hopkins High School

Randee Gurban B.S., M.A., Adult Options Graduation Incentives Teacher

I think this was a wonderful and a very meaningful training experience. I wish I would have begun using the coaching approach at the beginning of the school year to have the full effect on students.

-Randee Gurban B.S., M.A., Adult Options Graduation Incentives Teacher, Hopkins High School

Karin Johnson, M. Ed., Science Teacher

I use coaching principles with all my students, and almost without exception my students are improving their daily work completion and my relationship with students has improved. Until I tried coaching, I didn’t usually ask about their dreams or goals. WOW! Has that been eye opening! My first impressions of who these students are (or want to be) were often wrong, and I think the kids love opening my eyes!

-Karin Johnson, M. Ed., Science Teacher, Hopkins High School

Jane Kleinman, M.A., Health Science Teacher, Psychology of Motivation teacher

Kids decide what they want to do to be successful in the class. I’m using coaching with my entire class. It has been great to have them learn the coaching process and make connections to it with my curriculum. It has helped to improve attendance for students that need that. It has gotten the students to take responsibility for their own success. I would like to continue and expand on this approach!

-Jane Kleinman, M.A., Health Science Teacher, Psychology of Motivation Teacher, Hopkins High School

Stephanie Pastrana, Student Teacher

Being trained as a coach while I was student teaching was instrumental in the way I approached and worked with my students. Focusing on students and creating that loving environment full of trust, respect, and encouragement allows the inquiry and inspiration to occur in the classroom. Student empowerment is so fulfilling to watch!

-Stephanie Pastrana, Student Teacher, MAI Program, St. Mary's University

Terry Chamberlin, M.A., Art Instructor and Department Chair

It seems the kids I have coached are much more open and receptive with this method rather than showing resistance. I can tell they know I care about them, even if they don’t follow through perfectly, the responsibility is now upon the student, not me.

-Terry Chamberlin, M.A., Art Instructor and Department Chair, Hopkins High School

Tim Owen, B.A., World Language Teacher

Coaching class has led to a dramatic and beautiful shift in my relationship to struggling students, and in their relationship with my class. The coaching approach has been pivotal in shifting and reframing my interaction with struggling students. It takes the negative emotion out of things and reminds both the student and myself what ultimately our goal is.

-Tim Owen, B.A., World Language Teacher, Hopkins High School


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Peer Leadership Coach Testimonials

When kids learn the Thrive101 Coaching principles, they learn useful interpersonal relationship skills. When they practice these skills with others, they not only hone their skills as they help others make progress toward goals, they also pass along the coaching mindset by their example. As this mindset ripples outward to others, interpersonal relationships deepen and the spirit of cooperation becomes more natural. Imagine, if you will, a High School student coaching a 6th grader. A 6th grade student really looks up to their coach ("WOW! A high school kid is investing time to help ME achieve MY goals!"), and at the same time the coach recognizes his/her own value as a leader, as a role model, as someone that is looked up to ("The kids I'm coaching get so excited when we meet! And, he/she is making progess toward goals!"). Both are changed by the relationship. Here are some of the things that kids are saying about their experience and training as Thrive101 Peer Coaches:

Frankie, Peer Leadership Coach

I want to thank you for everything you taught me. You are an amazing woman who taught me how to develop my communications skills in order to help other individuals reach their goals. I need to confess, at the beginning of this project I didn't think this would work. It was very complex to create a dialog between a middle school kid who was intimidated by a high school student. However, after a few weeks, I saw a drastic increase in my coachee's grades that really motivated me to continue in the group. As well I feel I have a big responsibility; as a role model not only at school, at my house and everywhere. Peer Coaching has changed my perspectives about my personal challenges and the human sense; the love for the things I do.

Thanks for letting me be part of this project, which has been a very satisfying experience. I have an enormous satisfaction because I am helping other students to reach their goals. As a student I know how difficult and frustrating it is to accomplish your personal and academic goals. For this reason I want to acknowledge your hard work and your big contribution to the Peer Coaching group.

I admire you for your professionalism, the enthusiasm and the love with which you do your work.

-Frankie, Peer Leadership Coach

Tiaj,  Peer Leadership Coach

I am currently a student at (my high school) and I am a part of the Peer Coaching program. This opportunity is such a BIG life changing opportunity. I recommend this to anyone who wants to step outside of their comfort zone but does not know how to. This program is just amazing, no words can come to mind of how this can help me and other students. Through this program, I've learned to become more postive knowing that there are others looking up to me. Imagine how it would feel like to have someone look up to you, watching your every move, and dreaming to become someone like you. I've really enjoyed this experience and I'm hoping that anyone with this training would enjoy it as much as I have. Such a life changing opportunity, why wouldn't anyone take it?

-Tiaj, Peer Leadership Coach

Zachary, Peer Leadership Coach

When I first joined the peer coach training, I did it because it was free and during my study hall. To be honest, I didn't expect much, but after the first few days of training, it made so much sense! After learning many interesting things, I had the opportunity to test my new found skills. The results were astonishing! When I got the hang of it, I was surprised how well the different techniques worked such as reflecting back and flipping a negative comment to a positive one. The best part about coaching is that it applies to so many different areas of social interaction. Arguments and misunderstanding, especially in politics, could be resolved with this tool. Furthermore, not only does coaching help others move forward, it also helped me understand myself as well as the person I was coaching. This is an all around fantastic program! A special thanks to the Gary S. Stevens Foundation, and to my two coaches/teachers, Nancy and Joy, that made this a possibility.

-Zachary, Peer Leadership Coach

Troy, Peer Leadership Coach

Peer Leadership coaching is basically bringing out the best in people, focusing on people, and helping them with their issues in a positive way. Every school should have this!

-Troy, Peer Leadership Coach

Khamla, Peer Leadership Coach

Coaching is an amazing program. It really helps each individual student get to what they want; to motivate each student to strive for their goals and dreams. Most importantly each student will learn coaching capabilities and help other students.

-Khamla Peer Leadership Coach

Melana Peer Leadership Coach

If you want something you’ve never had, you need to do something you’ve never done. This is the story of my life-I’ve never had good grades and it always seemed like something I would never get-until I changed my habits and I did something I’ve never done with the coaching process.

-Melana, Peer Leadership Coach

Tashawn, Peer Leadership Coach

What I’ve taken from Peer Leadership Coaching is that we have greatness inside ourselves and so do others.

-Tashawn, Peer Leadership Coach

Julia, Peer Leadership Coach

During my peer coaching training at (my high school), I was able to gain the skills to effectively mentor and build relationships with my peers. The training taught me how to talk to my peers about their values and strengths as well as how to support them in overcoming challenges or obstacles in their lives. As a current student at the University of Minnesota, I continue to benefit from this peer coaching training and use it in my new job as a program assistant for the CLA First-Year Experience, a required course for all freshman students in the College of Liberal Arts aimed at helping high school students with their transition to college. I am grateful for the peer coaching training I received during my time at (my high school) as it gave me the tools to successfully mentor my peers and an understanding of life-coaching that I am able to continue to use in college.

-Julia, Peer Leadership Coach

Tim Peer Leadership Coach

Peer Coaching has been an amazing opportunity for me. The training has taught me to take risks, act on my values, and embrace, not fear, failure. The training has also given me an opportunity to be in an environment where I feel comfortable sharing my values and fears. I truly hope this program expands at (my high school).

-Tim, Peer Leadership Coach

Megan, Peer Leadership Coach

Coaching really helps me to realize my potential and gives me the motivation to reach my goals.

-Megan, Peer Leadership Coach

Leslea, Peer Leadership Coach

I’ve become a much better listener and I feel like this will help me in many parts of my life.

-Leslea, Peer Leadership Coach

Julia, Peer Leadership Coach

On my first day of peer coaching training, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. A teacher had recommended that I consider completing the training and a few students had reassured me that the training was well worth it. Still, when I arrived for the first training session, I did not yet even understand what exactly peer coaching entailed. In my head, I pictured a soccer coach yelling directions to players and telling them which plays to execute. I soon learned, however, that peer coaching is very different than "coaching" in the traditional sense. Peer coaching instead consists of helping the coachee find their own right answer by asking them thought-provoking answers and listening closely to the coachee rather than simply telling them what to do. Through my own peer coaching training, I soon learned how to talk to students about their goals, dreams, and values in a meaningful way. At the same time, I learned how to support students in making action plans and overcoming challenges in order to accomplish what they wanted. During the course of my training, I had the opportunity to play the role of both the coachee and the coach. Being able to play the role of the coachee and the coach was especially useful because I was able to further uncover my own values and goals through the coaching process. At the same time, I was able to experience the power of coaching first hand as I had the opportunity to discuss important issues with a coach who really listened to what I was saying. After completing my coaching training, I also had the opportunity to coach a middle school student at the (nearby apartment complex) various times throughout my senior year. This was a great opportunity for me to test my coaching skills as I helped my student work through issues of organization that she felt were holding her back from reaching her maximum potential in school. It was a great experience to be able to mentor a younger student and it was awesome to see the energy and excitement that my student had about working to achieve her goal. Through my experience at (nearby apartment complex) as well as at (my high school), I have gained valuable peer leadership coaching skills which I continue to use in college and hope to use in my future career.

-Julia, Peer Leadership Coach

Austin, Peer Leadership Coach

With this training, not only have my own goals started to thrive, but my peers, family, and even teachers that I’ve coached have started to thrive and reach their goals!

-Austin, Peer Leadership Coach

(Editorial note: I'm told by a teacher that one day she was struggling with a particularly challenging issue. Austin noticed her struggle, and spontaneously used the coaching techniques that he has learned to support his teacher as she worked on a plan to solve the challenge she was facing! Austin clearly incorporated many of the key coaching principles from his peer coach training. His deep listening skills allowed him to notice that his teacher was facing a challenge. Remaining nonjudgmental and curious, Austin facilitated while his teacher analyzed the nature of the challenge. Austin supported her while she devised her own solution. This is a wonderful example of how coaching works, and it further demonstrates the beauty of cooperative teacher-student relationships. Thank you Austin, for teaching us all!)


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Parent Testimonials

We hear lots of comments from parents of kids that have experienced 1-on-1 coaching from our Thrive101 lead coaches, parents of kids who have experienced coaching conversations with teachers that employ Thrive101 techniques, and parents who have attended our "Coachable Moments-Bringing out the Best in your Teen" workshops. Here are some of the things they are saying:

  • I’m listening more to my daughter since taking the parent workshop series. The workshop provided an opportunity to reflect and practice the skills and using them now with my daughter and things are changing.
  • I am the mother of a senior in high school who started to have serious behavior and academic challenges around seventh grade. My daughter has academic potential, but she sabotaged her performance in school with her risky behaviors, etc. I responded as any parent with trying to help her. I took her to mental health counseling, pediatricians and I even received weekly help and I still did not see any changes.
    Then one day a friend contacted me and said that she thought that I should try a Leadership, Life and Academic coach. My daughter met with her each week and it changed my daughter in a dramatic way. She started to go to class, take a little bit more interest in doing well in school and she for the first time started to believe that she had a future. I am still on a daily basis challenged by this child but she now is able to make many good decisions. She has applied to college and been accepted and works at a part-time job. I would never have believed this was possible without the coaching that she received.
    I am just grateful that I found Nancy and I know my daughter feels the same way.
  • Wonderful tools! Most relationships can improve with these skills.
  • This workshop helped me to become a better listener and not to be so judgmental with my teen.
  • This helped me pay more attention to the non-verbal body language and listening for passion.
  • This helped me to give more credit to my teen, seeing him/her as creative, resourceful and whole.
  • I learned how to “ask” instead of “tell” using the powerful questioning strategies with my teen.
  • Wow, I learned how much there is to learn!
  • I learned to “flip it” with my teen to focus their brain on solutions and it worked well!
  • This was very good about giving suggestions about how to go through a coaching conversation and not try to “fix” the problem for my teen.
  • Great on all levels! So helpful-Thank you!
  • This workshop series helped me to see things differently and have new insights.
  • Good material, good tools and good practice.
  • I took away using acknowledgements as opportunities to point out positive values in my teen.
  • Great content that is well presented.
  • Thank you for helping us focus on becoming better parents, so that we can be our best, to help our kids be the best they can be!
  • Interesting and valuable information.

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Student Testimonials

Testimonials from School Administrators, Teachers, and Parents may seem compelling indeed, but, after all, this work is all about the kids. So, let's hear about it from them! Here are some of the things that kids are saying that Thrive101 has meant to them:

  • Before coaching, my schedule was pretty much: get home, sit on the computer for who-knows how long, and go to sleep. Coaching has cleared things up for me and made me want to do more. It’s helped me realize where I want to be in life. I’m doing my homework now, I’m studying, I’m playing music, as well as I am sleeping more, which helps me stay aware, awake, and focused. I definitely recommend this for anyone who is struggling. It’s really been helpful for me.
  • “Having respect” and “family” are two important values to me. My family is proud of me, and this is a big change (on a scale of 1-10, it’s a 10!) because before, my Dad would get complaints-“your kid missed class”, “he was suspended again”… At my last conference, my Dad was real proud because all my teachers said good things about me (except one teacher, right now that’s still a little problem). My goal is to have all A’s. I’d like to tell teachers to really listen to students more deeply, because you never know if problems at school are because the student could have problems at home.
  • In the beginning, I felt like there was a closed door … a big barrier; now I see a whole different world, a new side of things that I did not realize were possible … things are open; I had not thought I would be able to go to college between coaching and the role model of my cousin who just graduated, I know I can.
  • I’m more organized and I’m not lazy anymore. I’m more active in what I do. I ask more questions and I’m not afraid because I’m not the only one who has struggles in life and I know if I get the help that I need I’ll be able to get my goals done. I have straight B’s right now, and that is a big change because before it was…pretty bad. If I keep doing what I’m doing, next year it will be all A’s!