Hidden Causes of Academic/Behavior Problems

Margaret A. Searle


Marilyn L. Swartz

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Margaret Searle and Marilyn Swartz presents:

Getting to the Hidden Causes of Academic and Behavior Problems

Do you need a process to strengthen your RTI/MTSS problem-solving efforts? The hardest part of problem-solving is identifying a student’s specific need and designing an action plan that swiftly addresses the problem. This session, based upon the new ASCD book Solving Academic and Behavior Problems: A Strengths-Based Guide for Teachers and Teams, will demonstrate the process and provide the tools to do just that.

Participants will:

  • Learn to hold a diagnostic conversation for tier 2 and 3 students using the Five Whys process.
  • Learn the Appreciative Inquiry way of solving problems.
  • Receive tools that help students and teachers pinpoint strengths and opportunities for growth.

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Margaret A. Searle

Margaret Searle is the founder of Searle Enterprises, a consultant group working in the areas of collaboration, problem-solving, and innovative teaching techniques. She regularly presents at conferences nationally and works with individual school districts to develop and implement continuous improvement plans. She has taught in all grades from kindergarten through 8th grade. Her background also includes serving as a Title I director, a middle school principal, an elementary principal, and aK-12 supervisor. She served as president of the Ohio Association of Elementary School Administrators and was as an education advisor to President George H. W. Bush.

Searle is the author of the Ohio Department of Education's Standards-Based Instruction for All Learners: A Treasure Chest for Principal-led Building Teams (2004), a how-to book on differentiation, inclusion, and collaborative problem-solving. Her second book, What To Do When You Don't Know What To Do: Building a Pyramid of Interventions (2007), describes a step-by-step method for diagnosing causes of troublesome issues and provides guidelines for actively involving parents and students in problem-solving. Her third book, Response to Intervention: What Every School Leader Needs To Know About RT! (2010) and the companion DVD on secondary school RTI interventions are practical guides for teachers and administrators who want to build a culture of data-driven decision making supported by research-based interventions. Causes and Cures in the Classroom: Getting to the Root of Academic and Behavior Problems (2013) reveals new neurological research about how underdeveloped executive function skills can cause poor behavior and achievement and gives specific strategies for addressing these problems. Searle's most recent book, Teacher Teamwork: How Do We Make It Work? shows how to build productive teams and intentionally create an environment of professional engagement in your school.

Marilyn L. Swartz

Marilyn is a national and international presenter and consultant. She has completed doctoral studies in leadership and professional development and a master’s degree in curriculum instruction. Her expertise in solving academic and behavior problems stems from many years of teaching special education and general education students at multiple grade levels. She has been a curriculum director, a consultant for a Special Education Regional Resource Center and a school improvement consultant.

Today, Marilyn is a consultant with Searle Enterprises working on RTI/MTSS implementation. Other areas of expertise include executive function, co-teaching, differentiated instruction and teacher collaboration. She also trains mentors for the Ohio Department of Education Resident Educator Program.

Swartz is the co-author with Margaret Searle of Teacher Teamwork: How Do We Make It Work? (2015) published by ASCD shows how to make productive teams and intentionally create an environment of professional engagement in your school. Marilyn’s most recent ASCD book co-authored with Margaret Searle is Solving Academic and Behavior Problems: A Strengths-Based Guide for Teachers and Teams (2020) which provides a systems approach to problem-solving based on the appreciative inquiry model.