Building Resilient Schools: A Conversation with Brian Pete


As we approach the Conference on Teaching Excellence in Orlando, Florida June 25 to 27, ASCD asked conference presenters to answer questions about their sessions. This Q&A features Brian Pete, an education consultant and author of Everyday Problem-Based Learning: Quick Projects to Build Problem-Solving Fluency. Learn more about CTE 2019 here.

Describe your session and what educators will take away from it.

Brian Pete:
My session will focus on three to five strategies that teachers can use to help students catch up, keep up, and stand up with pride.

How and why did you start working in education?

BP: About 30 years ago, I was promoted to corporate trainer in the restaurant industry and that role sparked a journey that led me to helping teachers reach every child.

What is teaching resilience and how can educators adopt it?

My philosophy about life and teaching is the old three-legged stool theory, where each leg represents a third of what it takes to make it through life and through a school year. Knowledge, heart and faith – we have to know something, we have to feel something, and we have to believe in something. Resilience is a combination of having the skill, the will, and a need to be fulfilled.

Your session description mentions that highly effective teachers coach students in “catching up,” “keeping up,” and “standing up.” What does that mean?

When students who are two to three years behind in their reading or math and go to school and do the work the teachers assigns, they still, at the end of the day, are two to three years behind. So, the question is, if students are behind and everyday they are just “keeping up,” what can be done to get them to “catch up”?

Building on CTE’s theme this year, what does a resilient school look like for you?

I say that a school should be the intellectual and emotional highlight of every child’s day – that they should feel so good in school that they can’t imagine ever missing a day. Learning can be blissful struggle and every child experiences that struggle in some way every day. But too many times it is achieving another level on a video game or memorizing the lyrics of a new hit song. Students have resilience.

Learn more about keeping up, catching up, and standing up at Brian’s sessions on June 25 at 9:45 a.m. and 2 p.m.