5 3 1 WHY Resilience Project

“It Is Not the Strongest of the Species that Survives but the Most Adaptable”

Charles Darwin

Objective The 5 3 1 WHY Resilience project was created to address concerns about student wellness. Students’ current environment includes a post-pandemic effect, increased use of drugs/vaping and alcohol, national suicide crisis, and in-school shooting tragedies. With the rise in threats to physical safety, there is an alarming increase in threats from psychological safety. Brain research confirms that when students don’t feel safe, learning decreases. The brain always tracks emotional safety first.

The introduction of key concepts around Resilience using the 5 3 1 Resilience plan and providing access to the WHY Institute’s operating system we sought to fortify and enhance student resilience and self-knowledge. A pre-test, as well as a post-test, was given for the areas of social self-efficacy, academic self-efficacy, emotional self-efficacy, and Civic engagement.

John Hatties’ research shows that student agency and efficacy have four times the effect than the other learning interventions. Eduardo Briceño’s new book, The Performance Paradox, coming out in September 2023 shifts the focus from performance only (test scores) to creating a positive learning environment first which will generate performance gains.

Instruments and Instruction The 5 3 1 Resilience plan includes a focus on personal relationships with an inner circle of five friends, community involvement with three communities, and exploration of a core belief.  The WHY operating system [WHY.os] uses a proprietary algorithm to determine a person’s WHY, their answer for why they do what they do.

Additionally, the HOW [how they bring their ‘WHY’ to life] and WHAT [what they ultimately bring to the table and the individual/collaborative gifts] comprise the three elements of the WHY operating system.

Both frameworks were explored twice following the students’ completion of the WHY.os algorithm. Dr Jordan introduced the WHY.os framework and met with each student individually to review their results. During the second day of WHY instruction, Dr Sommers met with the students as a group to review the Class’s WHY.os results.

Dr Jordan explained the 5 3 1 Resilience plan with the students as a group during the initial day of instruction. They explored key foundational concepts of the inner circle, community involvement, and a core belief. In the second day of instruction, Ms. Ganion, the teacher of the pilot group, returned to these concepts and delved into each student’s individual responses.

The 5 3 1 WHY Resilience project concluded with a podcast interview of individual students.

The following questions were explored.

  • Whose Resilience do you admire?
  • How have you helped someone build Resilience?
  • Now that you know your WHY HOW & WHAT – how would you like to be managed / lead / approached / taught?
  • Imagine a project that incorporates your WHY HOW & WHAT. Describe and explain your project.

The project’s capstone class was a discussion of the podcast interviews lead by Ms. Ganion.

The project took place during the first quarter of 2023 at Burnsville High School in Minneapolis Minnesota. The students were in grades 9 – 11. We repeated the project in the second quarter.

Results Our hypothesis is that exposure to concepts around resilience combined with the WHY operating system provides two actionable frameworks that introduce tools and perspectives which bolster and enhance student well-being.

The results are encouraging. Both projects measured an eight percent increase in student agency and efficacy.  These results are promising and we are planning to repeat the 531 WHY Resilience program to gather more data to verify and validate our findings. The overview details of both projects are on the following page.

Next Steps The project includes six days of class time. Ideally, it is completed in less than a month. We currently have openings to replicate this study for collaborating school partners during the 2023-24 school year.

Dr. Sommers learningomnivores.com sommersb4@gmail.com

William A. Sommers, PhD, of Austin, Texas, continues to be a learner, teacher, principal, author, leadership coach, and consultant. Bill has come out of retirement multiple times to put theory into practice as a principal. He is currently a high school principal in Burnsville, Minnesota.

Bill has been a consultant for Leadership Coaching, Cognitive Coaching, Adaptive Schools, Brain Research, Poverty, Habits of Mind, and Conflict Management, He was also on the board of trustees of the National Staff Development Council (now called Learning Forward) for five years and served as president in 2006.

Bill is a certified Stakeholder Centered Coach, certified as WHY Institute consultant, as well as  Leveraging Polarities.  Dr. Sommers is the former Executive Director for Secondary Curriculum and Professional Learning for Minneapolis Public Schools and has been a school administrator for over 35 years. He has been a Senior Fellow for the Urban Leadership Academy at the University of Minnesota and has served as an adjunct faculty member at Texas State University, Hamline University, University of St. Thomas, St. Mary’s University, Union Institute, and Capella University. Bill has been a program director for an adolescent chemical dependency treatment center and on the advisory board of a halfway house for 20 years.

Bill has authored and coauthored over ten books, including:

  • Compliance Cop to Culture Coach (2023)
  • Creating Talent Density: Accelerating Adult Learning (2021)
  • Responding to Resistance: 30 Ways to Manage Conflict in Schools (2019)
  • 9 Professional Conversations to Change Schools: A Dashboard of Options (2018)
  • Living on a Tightrope: A Survival Handbook for Principals
  • Being a Successful Principal: How to Ride the Wave of Change Without Drowning;
  • Reflective Practice to Improve Schools (now in the third edition as Reflective Practice for Renewing Schools)
  • A Trainer’s Companion: Stories to cause inspiration & reflection
  • Energizing Staff Development Using Video Clips
  • Leading Professional Learning Communities
  • Guiding Professional Learning Communities
  • Principal’s Field Manual
  • Habits of Mind Teacher’s Companion (in the second edition).

Bill has also coauthored chapters in several other books. In January 2016, Bill and his colleague Skip Olsen launched the website learningomnivores.com, which includes educational posts, new rules, and book reviews.

Bill is a practitioner who integrates theory into leading and facilitating schools. Dr. Sommers continues to coach school leaders, as he has done for over 30 years.

Dr. Jordan www.hashtagresilience.com Jordan@hashtagresilience.com

Dr. Jordan founded and leads The Resilience Initiative which promotes resilience around the world and is known for his awareness-raising headstand. He works with teams to drive superior connection, understanding, and production. Team events utilize the WHY Operating System. This algorithm guides identification of individual and group zones of genius and how to leverage them.

As an author, his work includes Mine, Ours, and Yours: A Father’s Journey through the Life and Death of a Child, a book that explores tragic despair and unearths hopeful resilience. Published in 2021, Resilience: How the COVID-19 Pandemic Made Us Wiser and Stronger is a collection of essays from global leaders who provide thoughtful and powerful insight into how adverse conditions do indeed drive us to become wiser and stronger. The 5 3 1 Resilience plan focuses on our inner circle, community involvement, and core belief, and is the cornerstone of his speaking, facilitation, and coaching.

As a lifelong educator, he has developed and lead programs in team-building, technology, and wellness. He engages with organizations of all types and especially values working with schools and nonprofits.

Writing efforts revolve around team resilience and success. His podcast #Resilience explores how knowing your WHY fortifies your resilience. Online classes Ten 10 Finance and 5 3 1 Resilience extend his curriculum by using Udemy.

Dr. Jordan is happily married with two children and three dogs in Asheville, North Carolina. He is an active community leader within Rotary and My Daddy Taught Me That, and is involved in global and local fitness programs like Kenzai and Hot Yoga Asheville.

We are grateful to Emma Ganion and David Palmer for piloting this project