WBT Pilot Schools: Bronze to Gold

Setting Forth

With joy-filled classrooms in 200 countries, 80,000 Facebook Likes and over 8,000,000 YouTube views, Whole Brain Teaching is one of the world’s most popular instructional systems.  The goal of the Whole Brain Teaching Pilot School initiative is to increase student engagement by using WBT educational strategies.  The free program is a three level game, Bronze, Silver, and Gold, with schools competing against each other for weekly, nationally publicized, rankings. 

WBT Bronze Pilot School

A principal with at least 25% of the staff committed to becoming a WBT Pilot School (a school within a school), registers by emailing NancyStoltenberg@WholeBrainTeaching.com


Every week, to track student engagement, Pilot teachers calculate their Student Engagement Average (SEA: see below).  The principal totals the averages, divides by the number of Pilot teachers. This produces the weekly School SEA.  As this number increases, student disruptions decrease, staff morale rises, test scores improve.  Increasing student engagement is the rising tide that lifts all boats.


All Pilot School teachers begin the online process of becoming WBT Certified Instructors (see Note, at the end of this article). The certification scores of a principal and a lead teacher, Co-Managers, determine the school's public rankings among all WBT Pilot Schools.    Rankings are published weekly on the WBT Pilot Schools Facebook page and elsewhere.


Every Friday by 5 PM PST, principals email ChrisBiffle@WholeBrainTeaching.com,  their school's SEAs and the Co-Managers' test scores.


The principal chooses a Facebook Coordinator who sets up the school’s WBT Pilot School Facebook page.  Short posts (50-100 words) are made to this page every week advertising successes of the program.  Posts can feature photos or videos.  The Facebook page advertises the vitality of the Pilot School's educational system. Parents and community members are frequently invited to Like and comment on the page.  Exemplary schools will be featured in mass media promotions by Whole Brain Teachers of America; our goal is to make great WBT Pilot Schools famous.  A custom WBT Pilot School logo for use on the Facebook banner will be sent to each school.


Improvements and modifications to the Pilot School program will be emailed to principals.

WBT Silver Pilot School

When the Co-Managers complete the five week Bronze quizzes with average scores of 90%, they enter the Silver competition.


Every week, the Co-Managers videotape a sample, five minute WBT classroom lesson and post it on their WBT Pilot School Facebook page.  Co-Managers post a comment under their video answering three questions;  What were the strengths of the lesson?  What were the weaknesses of the lesson?  How can student engagement be improved in the next video?


The videos are evaluated on a simple Pass/Fail system.  If both Co-Managers post a video with a comment, the team earns 100 points.  If only one posts, their score is 50.  If neither posts, a 0 drops them to the bottom of the weekly rankings.


The Co-Managers guide the rest of the Pilot School staff through the Bronze level.  As new teachers enter Silver, they post  five minute video lessons on their WBT Pilot School Facebook page.


The principal emails ChrisBiffle@WholeBrainTeaching.com, with Silver score updates and the school’s SEA.


As Silver videos are produced, the best should be evaluated by pairs of teachers using the 100 point rubric here.  Videos that the teachers score 80 points or higher are emailed to the WBT Pilot School Czar, AndreDeshotel@WholeBrainTeaching.com.  When Andre and Chris score two of an instructor’s videos with 90+, the teacher enters the Gold level.

WBT Gold Pilot School

To pass Gold, the educator produces a 15-20 minute Exemplary Video.  Drafts of this video are sent to Andre.  When the video earns an average score of 95+ by a team of WBT Executive Board members, it is is posted on our YouTube channel to a worldwide audience.  The instructor is now eligible to conduct trainings under the guidance of a WBT Executive Board member.

WBT Model School

When there is one Gold Certified WBT Instructor at every grade level, the school becomes a Whole Brain Teaching Model School … and, with WBT trained  students advancing grade to grade, enters Teaching Heaven.

Student Engagement Average

Classes and schools change and improve, but at the pace of a glacier.  You, and your colleagues, need a way to convince yourself that you’re getting somewhere!

The beauty of the WBT Pilot Schools program is that it is surprisingly simple, requires no more than a quarter of a staff's instructors (a school within a school), and will remarkably improve student engagement.

To start, once a week, every teacher in the program goes through their rolls and, privately, scores the engagement of their pupils.  (Secondary educators assess an average class, neither their best nor worst.)

--  Alphas:  These model students consistently look at the one who is speaking, follow directions quickly, raise their hand for permission to speak, stay on task, give you their best effort.  Give each Alpha a 4.
--  Go-Alongs:  These kids frequently follow the lead of the Alphas.  They usually look  at  the  one  who is speaking, follow directions quickly, raise their hand for permission to speak, stay on task, give you their best effort. Give each Go-Along a 3.
--  Fence Sitters: One day a Fence Sitter is with you every step of the way, next day he's flinging erasers


across the room.  Fence Sitters inconsistently look at the one who is speaking, follow directions quickly, raise their hand for permission to speak, stay on task, or give you their best effort.  Score each Fence Sitter a 2.   

 --  Challenging Kids:  A genuinely challenging student rarely, if ever, looks at the one who is speaking,  follows directions quickly or anything else you wish them to do.  Give each Challenging Kid a 1.

 --  Amazers:  Amazers are kids who scream, roll on the floor, trash the classroom, are a continuous threat to classroom safety.  Sadly, many teachers believe the number of Amazers in our schools is increasing.  Give each Amazer a 0.

 -- Newbies:  Mark new pupils as Fence Sitters (2s), until you can accurately assess them.

 -- Tweeners: if you are in doubt about whether to give a student a higher or lower score, go with the lower score.  This will keep you from inflating, exaggerating, the engagement of your kids.  A kid in-between scores we call a Tweener.  Tweeners are excellent candidates for improvement.


Add up all the scores and divide by the number of students.  This creates your Student Engagement Average (SEA).  For example, if the total points of all your 30 kids is 90, then your SEA is 3.0  (90/30).  Perform this calculation weekly.


To ensure objectivity, don't look at scores from previous weeks ... use "blind" scoring.  The engagement of your students improves … but often at a rate that is too slow to notice.


Calculating WBT Pilot School's improvement is simple ... add up the class averages of participating teachers and divide by the number of classes.  Thus, if the total of all class averages is 15 and there are 5 teachers involved, the group's average is 3.00 (15/3).

In place of test scores, federal and state data, numbers required by the district, focus on your group's engagement average.  One number, easy to understand, becomes the primary index of educational health.  Once more:  improve the WBT Pilot School's engagement average and disruptions decline, teacher morale ascends, and test scores rise.  Improving student engagement is the rising tide that lifts all boats.

Improving Engagement

Of the thousands of paragraphs on this website, this one is the most important.  Don't try to increase the engagement of your students by increasing the engagement of your whole class.  Pick three to five pupils a week and give them individual improvement goals.   Tweeners and Alphas are a good group of students to begin with; our Rule 1, Follow directions quickly, is a useful initial goal.  Take the kids aside a few times a week, coach them on the behavior you want them to improve; meet with them at the end of the week and tell them how they did.  Change the members of this group as needed.  (Calculate your SEA weekly and watch your average rise.)  There are only two reasons this approach can fail.  First, you set a goal that was too high for a student to reach.  Second, you didn't supply adequate coaching.  So, you are the problem ... not your challenging kids!  WORK WITH A FEW KIDS; SET CLEAR, REACHABLE GOALS; COACH MORE EFFECTIVELY.  Never forget that sentence. In fact, those are the words carved above the golden gateway into Teaching Heaven.



Simplicity: The entire Whole Brain Teaching Pilot School program is on this page.
Investment: Whatever anyone thinks of our plan, our price, free, can't be beat.
Practicality: Far better to work with a few students weekly, than trying to solve all educational problems daily.
Expandability: A WBT Pilot School can begin with a few teachers (25% of the staff) or include the entire school.
Simplified Data: A few minutes per week provides a single number, the average of classroom averages, representing the Pilot School's educational vitality.
Morale: Teachers will be encouraged by seeing the progress they make … and easily understand how to quicken learning's pace (better coaching or simpler behavior goals).
Universality: Every instructor, even if they are not using WBT!, can use the Student Engagement Average with the common goal of improving student engagement.


1. Every teacher in the Pilot calculates their Student Engagement Average weekly.
2. To insure objectivity, instructors use "blind" scoring. Each week's SEA is calculated without looking at previous scores.
3. Every teacher picks about five kids, often including Tweeners, and creates a one item improvement plan for each. The more difficult the student is to engage, the simpler their improvement goal.
4. Noting whether they need to polish their coaching or revise improvement goals, teachers rearrange their groups of selected students weekly.
5. The WBT Pilot School's engagement score is calculated by taking the average of all individual classroom averages.

--- A school's ranking among all WBT Pilot Schools will be determined by weekly competitions coordinated by Chris Biffle and publicized on the WBT Pilot School Facebook page.

The Destination

Achieving the lofty goal of becoming a Whole Brain Teaching Model School entitles you to enter portals of Teaching Heaven. This exalted status requires an abundance of hankies ... staff and kids will sob tears of joy.

Note: Here are the steps for Pilot School instructors to begin the WBT Certification course:
1. Go to Schoology.com
2. Click “Sign Up” at the top
3. Choose “Student”
4. Enter the code CGJGC-63KB2
5. Enter your information, include your school name before your last name ex: Amanda Weaver from Rhoads Elementary, would register as Amanda Rhoads-Weaver.
6. Be sure to enter your school as "Whole Brain Teaching", not the name of your school.
7. Once logged in, click “Courses” at the top and choose the WBT Bronze Certification course. Starting with Beginner and going on to the Intermediate, Advanced, Legendary and Semi-Divine, complete one Bronze Challenge each week.
In competition with other Pilot Schools, a school's weekly ranking will be determined by the total points a principal and colleague, Co-Managers, score at the Bronze and Silver Challenges. To improve scores, there is no limit to the number of times a Challenge may be taken.

Whole Brain Teaching Pilot Schools:  Facebook

Rhoads Elementary, Amanda Weaver, principal, Katy, Texas

Capron Elementary, Dr. Allison Francis, principal, Capron, Virginia
Johnston Middle School, Demetrius Johnson, principal, Las Vegas, Nevada
Spring Grove Elementary, Jennifer Bernosky, principal, Hollister, California
Renaissance Academy Charter School of the Arts, Dr. Donna Marie Cozine, principal, Rochester, New York

Leavitt Middle School, Keith Wipperman, principal, Las Vegas, Nevada

Empire Elementary, Josh Skiles, principal, Duncan, Oklahoma