Becoming a Glasser Quality School

What is a Glasser Quality School?

It is a school that has adopted an educational philosophy and practice based on Choice Theory Psychology. This believes that methods based on coercion (or “external control”) do not work and are in fact incompatible with procedures that do lead to real educational change and personal growth. People grow best in a need-satisfying environment and this has major implications both for the relationships in a school and for the quality of the work students engage in.

What are the normal steps for a particular school to work towards becoming a Glasser Quality School?

A brief summary of the process to become a Glasser Quality School is described below.  For full details see the William Glasser International GQS Process in Action Document.

FAMILIARISATION The Principal’s role is vital in the implementation process. Before any formal training is begun, the Principal raises teacher, student and parent awareness of choice theory and reality therapy through readings and discussions of Dr. Glasser’s two books, Choice Theory: A New Psychology of Personal Freedom, and Every Student Can Succeed.

COMMITMENT The school community of staff, parents and students make a firm commitment to move to a Glasser Quality School.

TRAINING OF STAFF The Principal or School District offers formal training in choice theory and reality therapy to move more easily from coercive practices to those of lead management so that the learning environment is conducive to quality work. Schools are encouraged to maintain programs such as Cooperative Learning that are consistent with Dr. Glasser’s ideas.


Students, teachers and even parents are taught choice theory to reach a common ground in establishing a supportive, caring environment and in building healthy relationships that contribute to school success.

BECOMING AN OFFICIAL GLASSER QUALITY SCHOOL For any school to become a Glasser Quality School, it is necessary that at least a core group of staff complete the Institute Certification process through an Advanced Practicum, and hopefully, a Certification Week. A “core” group is defined by each school in consultation with the Institute instructor. It is also necessary to meet six special criteria as defined by the William Glasser Institute.

CONSTANT PURSUIT OF QUALITY The Quality School will engage in constant self-evaluation of its progress. The school community will be in constant dialogue within itself to maintain the need-satisfying environment that is a Quality School. This will also mean an ongoing process of professional development and updating of skills.

What training is recommended for Glasser Quality School staff?

The structure is similar to that of Reality Therapy training but differs in that it is designed to suit a school schedule.  The outline given below is a pilot programme being developed by WGII and may be subject to change in the future.

Basic Introductory Course – Thiis is a five day course intended for a whole staff.  It helps all staff members become acquainted with the core ideas of Choice Theory and how these apply to education.

Basic Practicum – This on-site intervention usually takes the form of a WGI Supervisor visiting the school on six different days and being available to school staff for general consultation and to deal with specific topics.  Each participating staff member is asked to complete several projects and readings.

Advanced Course – This is a two-day course for the staff aimed at taking stock of progress and addressing specific needs.

Advanced Practicum – Similar to Basic Practicum but dealing with more advanced topics. More projects and readings are part of this.

Certification – This is the final stage of training and staff are invited to show what they have learned and to give a short presentation on some aspect of their work.

What are the criteria that need to be achieved to be a Glasser Quality School?

  1. Relationships are based upon trust and respect, and all discipline problems, not incidents, have been eliminated.
  2. Total Learning Competency is stressed and an evaluation that is below competence or what is now a “B” has been eliminated. All schooling as defined by Dr. William Glasser has been replaced by useful education.
  3. All students do some Quality Work each year that is significantly beyond competence. All such work receives an “A” grade or higher, such as an “A+”.
  4. Students and staff are taught to use Choice Theory in their lives and in their work in school. Parents are encouraged to participate in study groups to become familiar with the ideas of Dr. William Glasser.
  5. Students do better on state proficiency tests and college entrance examinations. The importance of these tests is emphasized in the school.
  6. Staff, students, parents and administrators view the school as a joyful place.

What are key concepts that drive the daily work of a Glasser Quality School?

These vary from school to school. For example, Murray High School refer often to the “RAMPS” agreement that students and staff sign at the beginning of the year. Here is another formulation of key concepts summarised as “CREAM”:

Competence: the idea that work is only graded as competent or not ready yet. There is no failure, no sense of being stuck at an inferior grade.

Relationship: This is central to all communication: staff-student, staff-staff, student-student.  It relies on kindness and respect.

Excellence: All students are asked to do some Quality Work each year.

Attendance: Coming to school and being on time is something students are asked to commit to.

Mediation: where there are issues to be sorted out in any relationships the two sides are encouraged to get together to sort it out.

What are the benefits of being a Glasser Quality School?

  • Priority is given to goals of holistic education
  • Approach is pro-active rather than reactive
  • A more need-satisfying educational environment for students
  • Greater job satisfaction for all staff
  • Higher levels of academic achievement
  • Training in respect for others and for individual differences
  • Training in problem-solving skills such as mediation
  • Growth in self-esteem
  • Strong sense of personal responsibility
  • Development of positive attitudes towards learning
  • Development of good citizenship skills
  • Greater personal mental well-being
  • Greater Parent/school co-operation and understanding
  • Greater understanding of basic human psychology
  • Greater identification of young people with adult society; less alienation
  • Absence of discipline problems
  • Absence of negativity
  • Very high attendance
  • Lower staff turnover
  • Happiness is centre-stage

If I want to learn more about the Glasser Quality School what could I read?

The Following books by William Glasser MD:

Every Student Can Succeed – Probably the best short introduction

Choice Theory – Important to understand the underlying theory

The Quality School (2nd Ed) – Spells out more detail about the theory and practice of a Quality School

Other materials:

Glasser Quality Schools In Action – A double DVD record of a one-day workshop in Dublin by Charlotte Wellen and students from the Murray High School.

These books and materials are usually available from The William Glasser Institute Ireland’s Online Shop.

If I or my school is interested in exploring the idea who can we contact?

Initially it is best to contact the William Glasser Institute in your own country if possible.

William Glasser International

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