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Solution Focused Schools Unlimited

Solution Focused Schools Unlimited

By Linda Metcalf M.Ed, Ph.D.
Learn about the solution focused approach as it applies to every situation in every school. From classroom management, RTI and team meetings, parent conferences, student behavior or mental health concerns, this approach and process will guide every educator and counselor into a land of possibilities. In that land, students, teachers and parents generate their own solutions as educators provide a context where those solutions are discovered.
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Currently playing episode

Make it Brief- 3 steps to a solution focused conversation

Solution Focused Schools Unlimited

Make it Brief- 3 steps to a solution focused conversation

Solution Focused Schools Unlimited

Engage or Disengage? What is our purpose?
This unique podcast was created after I witnessed a disturbing situation in a classroom. Recording the podcast in my car afterwards, I share ideas on how to help teachers who take actions that can disengage students who desperately need engagement. Listen as I provide ideas from the 3 solution focused steps that can assist you in reaching teachers of concern.
April 17, 2022
Planning for Next Year? Make it Easy! Let Your Students and Staff Lead the Way.
It’s time to review what we did and plan for next year. That goes for school counselors, teachers, administrators and…students. This podcast will share the importance of not doing it alone! Instead, by asking the right questions you may have the planning done for you.
March 31, 2022
Inside the Mindset- a tour of basic ideas and applications to school situations
The solution focused approach is not about technique or strategies. It is much more than that. it is about how we think of people- our mindset. This podcast provides 4 mindset beliefs of the solution focused approach and describes a case of a student who is in an administrator’s office facing suspension. Additionally, a case involving a teacher who just wants advice about a disruptive student is addressed. Seeing the expert in every school client can instigate results like these- it just takes a mindset.
January 26, 2022
Let’s End School Violence with a New Mindset
There were 29 school shootings in 2021. Our strategies to protect our schools is noble but not effective in putting a stop to school violence. This podcast takes on a solution focused mindset that is proactive. Listen to ideas that will give you direction to try a new strategy. We nothing to lose and have everything to gain. The last SF Connection on Dec 15 will be at 12:00 CST. The topic will be on preventing school violence. Register at:
December 12, 2021
How to Create Solutions from Exceptions
Exceptions are times when things go slightly better in our lives. In schools, exceptions are always there but are often overshadowed by a problem focused mindset. This podcast explains how noticing exceptions can change a student’s view of himself and create hope. Through a few case studies you will learn how to seek out exceptions from the most challenging students, showing them that they too, are exceptional. Visit my website for more free resources and training opportunities:
November 12, 2021
October 1, 2021
October 01, 2021
Solution Focused School Conference 2021! Here’s the scoop on who’s coming and what you will learn!!
The third annual virtual SF School Conference will feature Bill O’Hanlon, Elliott Connie, Pam King, Chris Iveson, Merritt Watson, David Epston and more! Review and register:
October 01, 2021
Harvesting Success with Teams and Team Players
Learn how to create a Miracle Workers’ team in your school to help carry out the solution focused approach in team meetings. Listen to a classroom guidance activity that helps students conceptualize what a team player does. Go further by incorporating teacher input so the classroom climate changes. Finally, get an idea on how to proactively approach frequent flyers so they construct a new vision of themselves. Website:
September 06, 2021
Want Motivated, Passionate Students? Give Them a Purpose.
This podcast refers to “The Power of Purpose Driven Schools, an article by Mark Oppenheimer (WSJ 8-1-21) and explains how the questions of the solution focused approach can elicit purpose for our students. A story is included that focuses on how a student rose above a tough situation and shows how the solution focused questions supported his resilience. To become part of the SF Connection webinar series and receive guidance topics weekly (Monday Ideas) as well as learn about the 2021 SF School Conference, go to
August 06, 2021
Give Students a Voice! Planning Academic or Behavioral Strategies Together With Students: A collaborative podcast with Cheryl Kretz
Every day, in schools around the world, educators construct strategies  for student problems with the purpose of helping their students to succeed. It is an admirable task that sometimes ends with frustration, when the strategies, created in isolation from the student,  fail to work.  Yet, by simply including the students in all of the meetings that affect them, the student has an opportunity to share what might be helpful to increase success.  Whether it is a team meeting, RTI or parent conference, including students in the conversation can serve several purposes:  1.  The students' voice becomes a source of information for strategies that are more likely to succeed.   2.  The student and teachers engage and are focused on the same goal.   3.  Relationships change between the student and teacher, resulting in different interactions.  After many years of going to home campuses to meet with her private clients at school, Dr. Metcalf reports a 98% success rate for student improvements, academic and behavioral when students were with  her in meetings with all of the student's teachers.  This podcast with share how it is done.  Get ready to alter your meetings for Fall 2021! Link for new copy of Counseling Toward Solutions:
June 29, 2021
It’s Re-Entry Time- A Special Podcast for Going Back to School
Our students are returning this fall after seventeen months away. How we greet them will impact how they re-enter the classroom environment and settle back into school. This podcast will provide ideas for developing a plan for re-entry using the solution focused mindset. Get ready to brainstorm your unique plan and greet your students back to class. The solution focused mindset will make the difference for students and for you!
May 02, 2021
Pack Your Bags! We Are Almost at the Finish Line
The school year is coming to a close. You have worked diligently to be at your best. How do you hope the last few weeks go, so your students recall your time with them as exceptional? This podcast will simply serve to remind you of the power you have to impact others in a great way, by being at your very best. Get ready for some visual insight in this podcast, designed to commend you on your diligence and remarkable abilities.
March 31, 2021
The Wonder of Wonderfullnesses
Parents often come in upset about their child/teen and have concerns and complaints that can veer you toward problem focused land. By inquiring about their child/teen’s wonderfulnesses the conversation will get you on the path to solutions and improve the parent-child relationship in the process. This podcast will provide steps for you, too, so you discover the wonderfulnesses that you possess as well. This podcast was inspired by the book, Narrative Therapy in Wonderland: Connecting with Children’s Imaginative Know How- Norton Publishers (2016) Epston, Marsten and Markham. Visit for more resources on becoming a solution focused educator!
February 12, 2021
Becoming a solution focused genius
Something is changing around us- in a good way! This podcast shares two real life cases where students surprised their teachers and counselor. The opportunities to amplify changes are sometimes hidden, but becoming a solution focused genius who sees beyond how a student or teacher is labeled gets easier with a new lens. Hear some ideas for amplifying new actions and take to heart the idea that noticing and being curious creates change. Tune in for words to say that give you a chance to make someone’s day. Doing that...will also change yours. Join me at the Free SF Connection webinars this spring by registering at
January 13, 2021
Solution Focused +Narrative Therapy=More Possibilities Ahead!
This podcast gently adds some narrative therapy magic to the action oriented solution focused approach when working with school clients who seem overcome by situations. The SFNT model offers a slight detour off path, so the school client can express concerns in a way that shares their values with the counselor. Learn how the models became intertwined and evolved into my book, Solution Focused Narrative Therapy( Springer, 2017). Register at for free bi-monthly webinars
December 17, 2020
Self Care for Everyone
Self care used to be an indulgence but now it is essential! This podcast takes the listener through an exercise to invigorate their day. Additionally, there are suggestions for externalizing issues that students bring to the school counselor. To join the author each week for live webinars supporting topics like this, go to and click on membership!
November 04, 2020
Engaging the Disengaged Student
Students often show their lack of understanding of academics or emotional turmoil by acting out. Those students need us more than ever. Yet too often, we grow frustrated after trying to engage them and sometimes disengage from them. This podcast shares some ways of thinking that may help educators to give it one more try to engage the disengaged student. And, surprisingly, it may be easier than you think! Join the Solution Focused School Unlimited membership program! Go to
October 13, 2020
Special Edition! Hear details about the Virtual Solution Focused School Conference Oct 2-3-4. It's almost here!
Where else can you hear 15 Solution Focused Experts on Schools from 5 countries, and get up to 15 CEU's for the early bird price of $129?  This podcast will share details of the speaker's topics and give you all the reasons to join me on Oct 2-3-4.  Here is the link to explore the conference even more and register!  Early Bird price of $129 ends on September 10 so hurry!
August 27, 2020
Back to school we go and...we know what to do...we've done it before!
This episode will provide specific questions and approaches for school counselors, teachers and administrators to use when starting back to school, whether virtual or, face to face.  We all face uncertainty with this school year, yet probably, to most of us, uncertainty itself is not new!  Learn how to respond to uncertainty when it attempts to take over a teacher, student or parent.  And, look within yourself too, for the expert who can emerge and send messages of reassurance to everyone, just by noticing exceptions they exhibit, every day. For. more informative sessions, click on The Solution Focused School Conference,  hosted by Linda Metcalf, October 2-3-4,  2020, virtually.  Hear from 18 speakers from 5 countries share their solution focused ideas for schools that work virtually or face to face!  Go to:
August 18, 2020
Ok, but can the solution focused approach work with this? YES!
When people learn about the solution focused approach and begin to apply it to certain situations at schools, they still get stuck at times when situations outside of their comfort zone arrive at their door.  Well, its the solution focused approach to the rescue again!  No matter the dilemma, no matter the issue, (outside, of course, of basic needs, but even then...) the three steps of the solution focused process can assist you in having a productive conversation of solution building.  This segment will explain how to see requests from people as best hopes. It will share a scenario about a group of educators who had learned the approach then, once the training ended, wondered how to implement it.  Voila, the solution focused approach helped them with implementation, just following the three steps.    If you like what you hear, visit for more resources.   May the solution force be with all that you do.
July 09, 2020
Pushing the Hope Re-Set Button
This episode describes how the solution focused mindset can encourage us to watch our biases toward others and reach out to them, whether in our personal lives, our communities or at school. Learn about the Promise Program and get specifics on how to address marginalized students so that they feel hope in their lives. Information about a free weekly webinar is included as well as how to register for it at
June 05, 2020
How to Talk So Parents Will Listen and How to Listen So Parents Will Talk!
This podcast gives a case from the forthcoming 2nd edition of Parenting Toward Solutions- a book written for parents that gives them the chance to use the solution focused approach in their parenting. Listeners will hear questions to ask to empower parents and facilitate conversations so that parents learn how to build solutions as unique as their children.
May 26, 2020
Finding Relief from Grief and Loss
This episode includes ideas, developed from the article by Michael White, “Saying hullo again: The incorporation of the lost relationship in the resolution of grief (1988).” A mention of a clip from Finding Neverland, a movie, provides a nice way of explaining the act of keeping loved ones close after their passing. Questions to ask students, teachers and other adults virtually or in person are included so that the listener has a guide to this new way of comforting people dealing with grief.
May 14, 2020
The Rise of The Resistant Student and Ways to Get Around the Resistance!
Whether you do virtual counseling or face to face, students who are not engaged are challenging. This podcast takes a look at what Maslow said about self-actualization and the incredible need that we all have, especially some of our students, to feel a part of something. Learn some new ways of thinking about the resistant student  that can give you one more try to reach that student who seems distant and resistant.
May 02, 2020
So, where did my life go? Creating an alternative story during challenges
This episode talks about disappointments and sad situations that intrude in students’ lives. While recorded during the Pandemic, the steps shared can be used any time. The use of narrative therapy and the idea of externalizing problems is covered with examples of questions to ask.
April 21, 2020
The expert within you: Pushing through the pandemic
This episode describes qualities that can ultimately help us work with students, clients, teachers and parents as we are challenged by the pandemic. Listen for solution focused questions throughout that can help you recognize your expertise and the expertise of those you work with. There is always an expert- we just have to focus enough to see the expert inside each of us.
April 07, 2020
Getting Fit in a Time of Crisis
When crises occur, most people panic and reach out to others for assistance in adapting to change. This episode takes the solution focused approach and demonstrates how it can be adapted to working with anyone dealing with a critical situation. The ideas here can be used with individuals, families, groups and debriefing situations. To purchase Counseling Toward Solutions, 3rd edition, go to:
March 25, 2020
Got Test Anxiety? Ask a Student for Help!
This episode focuses on how students can generate their own strategies for eliminating test anxiety and other challenges through the solution focused process. It also goes over typical ways schools attempt to help students succeed during test season and invites schools to carefully examine strategies that have worked before. Purchase Counseling Toward Solutions at
March 09, 2020
Administrator Relief! How to lessen your load and improve student behavior
This episode shares some information about using the solution focused approach to decrease student suspensions and misbehaviors. Steps to take are included that honor policies but add a different strategy to dealing with students of concern. Order the book here:
February 25, 2020
Too many referrals and not enough time? Try this!
Counselors and staff often see the same students and teachers and hear from the same parents. Learn two steps to follow to lessen the number of referrals and increase student and teacher competency. To purchase the book, Counseling Toward Solutions, click here::
February 16, 2020
Watch out! Successes on the way!
This episode describes a case that led to the development of a systemic intervention that the author developed. The intervention increases the success of students, teachers and parents as they try out new strategies for success. To order the book, Counseling Toward Solutions, click below:
February 05, 2020
Make it Brief- 3 steps to a solution focused conversation
Learn 3 steps to use in conversations with school clients (students, teachers and parents) to help create a preferred future of where success becomes a possibility. Getting tons of forms to use in the book, Counseling Toward Solutions! Click here to see the book:
January 30, 2020
It Takes a Miracle
Using the miracle question takes time and patience. This episode explains how to use it with elementary and secondary students. For more questions and guides check out The book, Counseling Toward Solutions here:
January 25, 2020
It’s a Mindset
The solution focused approach is not about certain questions to ask or strategies to construct- its a mindset. This episode touches on how to get into that mindset by always watching out for exceptions and seeing students with a new lens. For a complete guide to the SF mindset in schools, check out the book, Counseling Toward Solutions here:
January 25, 2020
If it works...
An introduction to thinking differently about students using a solution focused lens. Includes a true case study. For a complete overview of the solution focused approach in schools, check out the book, Counseling Toward Solutions here:
January 23, 2020