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To: Dr. Sharon Davis, Mrs. Jennifer Colley, Mrs. Sheryl Buck, Mrs. Hughes
From: Charles L. Holden, Jr., Stuart Middle School
Date: November 21, 1999
Subject: Peak Achievement Training Program (Microbreaks)

For many weeks, I was successfully using the Peak Achievement Training Program, using only the microbreak tapes portion of the program. It has been stopped per your request in late October. Since that time, I have had more problems with student behavior in my class, and academic progress has also suffered. I have had to write two referrals to the office for behaviors that could have been managed with the microbreak technique; in contrast, there were no referrals during the approximately six weeks that we used the tape on a regular basis. During the time that the microbreak was used, there was a decrease in the number of sentences that the students had to write for disciplinary reasons; this has increased several fold since I have had to stop using the microbreak technique. The academic atmosphere has been negatively impacted because I have been prevented from coaching individual students to take these microbreaks, let go of their emotions, and return to the task with renewed focus. Students have repeatedly asked if they could take microbreaks in these instances. It has been difficult for me to look away and say, “We’re not doing that anymore,” instead of reinforcing this obviously helpful suggestion. The majority of the students have asked repeatedly, “Why can’t we do the microbreaks? Let’s do them anyway.” I have told them, “If the boss says, ‘No,’ that means we can’t do it,” but I feel like I am violating my commitment to help them when I do so. At least one parent has expressed concern about stopping this program, which she felt was making a positive impact on her child. She regularly uses calming techniques with her foster children because it helps them.

I would like to request that a complete written explanation be provided to me by December 3, 1999, as to why I shouldn’t continue with this program in my classroom. If I haven’t received a written explanation by December 3, 1999, I will assume that you have nothing negative to say about the program, and I will therefore resume full implementation of it. I understand that taking this issue to the School Based Decision Making Committee may be appropriate in the long run, and I am perfectly willing to do so. If you wish for me to go through the SBDM, please let me know which Committee and what individuals I should contact.

If you would like additional information about the tape or the data supporting the effectiveness of this approach, please feel free to contact me. Your help in this matter is greatly appreciated.

Most Very Truly,

Charles Holden
Exceptional Child Education /Learning Behavioral Disorders Teacher
Jefferson County Public Schools
Louisville, Kentucky

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