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What educators have to say

             Strategies for Success Teacher,  Oregon

I have had a wonderful week with the students. They really liked the high-fives, the music and the class atmosphere. We did the learning styles today. What a terrific lesson! I learned as much as the students.  I really appreciate your work.

        Nancy Vorro, Dean of Students

The work you have done with young people at Mt. Hope High School has been an inspiration to me.  I have seen our students grow in confidence, maturity and responsibility, as they accepted your challenge.  The success of your program is further apparent in the positive atmosphere created, not only in your classroom, but in the community as a whole.

On a more personal level, your generosity in sharing your knowledge and strategies has inspired me to move out of my comfort zone to take on a leadership role at Mt. Hope.  I thank your for your encouragement.

             Vicki Boyle, Choral Director

Marianne’s Strategies for Success classes touched many of us, faculty and students alike.  We were fortunate to share several students.  One particular young lady, Liz, struggled with personal issues, which kept her from reaching potential in several areas.  She sang in Chorus four years but had a negative self-image and worried constantly about succeeding both academically and socially.  After a year in Strategies for Success class, Liz has gained a great deal of confidence.

She worried at the start of her senior year that Mrs. Douglas was no longer teaching at our school, but I knew the path had been set.  Liz shared several breathing and relaxation exercises with the chorus.  Watching her lead, I knew she was growing.  This success story gets even better.  Her peers recently elected Liz as President of Chorus (a 50 member ensemble.) 

Subsequently she was elected the Choral Homecoming Candidate and represented the performing arts department at the homecoming football game.  When I watched Liz carry herself with poise and pride, all dressed up as homecoming candidate, I couldn’t help but think of Marianne.  I know Strategies for Success and Mrs. Douglas gave Liz the gift to believe in herself.


Many of my music students found techniques in Strategies for Success that help them as musicians.  More importantly, I have seen many students gain leadership skills, self-confidence and positive energy.

             Van Chase, Department Chair  Special Education, Pupil Services

Often students would seek advice on electives they should take.  I would encourage students to take Strategies for Success, as I have seen over the past several years the positive impact this course has had on students.  Some began the course as shy, non-advocating adolescents and emerged more self-assured with a better understanding of themselves and others. Students have come back to thank me for telling them to take Strategies for Success.  What they learned became a part of them.  They seemed to be enthused, active participants of the class.  The change in many individuals was amazing!  It is wonderful to see how the positive impact of a course and the enthusiasm of a teacher can make such a difference in some people.

Thomas Vendituoli

Head Football Coach

During my tenure at Mt. Hope High School as the Athletic Director and Head Football Coach, I have developed a great deal of respect for Marianne Douglas.  I have been in her classes and attended many of her workshops and I can tell you for sure that the zeal and enthusiasm that she creates is inspiring to me as an educator.  Students rush to get to her class, they are happy to be there and when they leave they carry a positive emotion throughout the school. I have witnessed athletes, especially baseball pitchers using her deep breathing techniques to improve and get them through an inning. Athletes, students and teachers have all benefited by Marianne’s approach and positive attitude.

             Feliciana Figuereido, Guidance Counselor

From a guidance point of view her classes Strategies for Success were always filled to capacity. Students who were not doing well academically would praise how her class was an incentive and in their words “the Best”.  It gave the student who had “low self-esteem” the tools to combat the negative thoughts and turn them into positive energy thus empowering the student for success.

Michael Almeida,  Strategies for Success Teacher, Mt. Hope High School, Bristol, RI

I have now taught the Strategies for Success course eight times and am impressed with the reactions of the students.  First and foremost, the students seem to let their guard down as they realize something ‘different’ is taking place in this course.  They seem to understand that this course was created specifically and especially for them.  Due to the nature of the course, it connects with students from freshmen to seniors and of all learning styles and abilities. Everyone can identify with the content on some level and utilize it to their benefit.  Student reactions to this course have been overwhelming.

Beside the student progress and reactions to this course, the best part about teaching it, is the ability for me to incorporate my own personality and personal experiences.  I was concerned at first that I could not take Marianne’s creation and mimic the results she has achieved.  What I failed to realize is that the message is imbedded in the curriculum and the daily activities. It allows for each teacher’s own unique style and that makes it work with the students.  The simplicity of the lessons allows each teacher to own the material and make it theirs, which translates into an even more powerful message and overall successful learning experience.

This course is a dream for any teacher.  You can completely be yourself and the students learn practical, invaluable lessons to utilize for the rest of their lives.  Most importantly, they know the value of what they’re learning as it’s happening.

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