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Glasser Quality Schools

Glasser Model

GVA is the only school in the Stanislaus County area based on the research of Dr. William Glasser, providing parents and children with expanded choices in the types of educational opportunities that are available within the public school system, creating new professional opportunities for teachers, and encouraging the use of different and innovative teaching methods.

A Glasser Quality School has two tenets that define it as such: Choice Theory and the Competency Based Classroom. Choice theory is a theory of internal behavioral control that stresses 7 positive and connecting habits (caring, contributing, befriending, listening, encouraging, trusting and supporting) while teaching students to avoid harmful habits (judging, nagging, rewarding to control, criticizing, blaming, complaining and punishing). William Glasser, M.D. aptly describes the application of Choice Theory in a school setting in his seminal book, The Quality School.

Choice Theory is the basis for determining the model of interaction between all members of the school community. Choice Theory helps us define our interactions (including times of instruction, student discipline, training) as relationship based, contrasted to external control or coercion. It will allow us to provide a non-threatening, safe school where the students feel loved and cared for, creating an optimal environment where learning can take place. This environment, coupled with GVS, allows us to meet the goal of a Competency Based Classroom ("CBC"). A CBC, in essence, expects all students to do quality work, demonstrating competency in their learning. In a CBC, the students enjoy measurable continuous improvement through concurrent and self-evaluation. The students can show and explain where their learning matches up to the State Standards and staff has moved from student work that is just “good enough” to “quality work” that meets and exceeds the standards. School becomes a joyful place to be where fun becomes the genuine reward for learning.

The motto of Great Valley Academy is that children will be safe, loved and learning. Emotionally secure people learn best.

The work of William Glasser, M.D. as described in his book The Quality School underpins the social-emotional aspects of our model. Recent neurobiological findings support the tenets of Choice Theory as articulated by Dr. Glasser. In The Quality School, Dr. Glasser asserts that relevant and meaningful information should be taught in school in a non-threatening environment that emphasizes relationships. Current thinking in neurophysiology supports this stance. It appears that memory is a function of breadth of synaptic distribution and a function of frequency of stimulation of networks of synaptic associations. Connection or relevance to other “meaningful” experiences is therefore a key to memory and learning. As networks of “linked” synapses are reinforced fewer stimuli tend to activate whole networks. This is the reason certain sensations bring to memory whole floods of rich memories. One attends to that which is relevant and relevance is a function of worldview. One's worldview is largely a function of culture and thus a strong well-defined character education curriculum is the third foundation of our model.


Choice theory, with the Seven Caring Habits, replaces external control psychology and the Seven Deadly Habits. External control, the present psychology of almost all people in the world, is destructive to relationships. When used, it will destroy the ability of one or both to find satisfaction in that relationship and will result in a disconnection from each other. 

Seven Caring Habits Seven Deadly Habits
Supporting Criticizing
Encouraging Blaming
Listening Complaining
Accepting Nagging
Trusting Threatening
Respecting Punishing
Negotiating differences Bribing, rewarding to control