A Lesson in the R-Factor

Alliance City Schools hosted an R-Factor Community Night on Tuesday, Nov. 30 to introduce families and community members to the R-Factor. 

The night featured guest presenter Derek Avera from Focus 3, a Columbus based company behind the R-Factor. 

Over the years, Alliance City Schools has worked hard to integrate the R-Factor into the everyday culture of the district. All staff members have gone through intensive training to learn about the R-Factor and how to incorporate it in their buildings. Beginning at Alliance Early Learning School, students start learning about the R-Factor and how it can help them to make good decisions that will lead to a positive outcome. The skills learned from the R-Factor are life skills that will help our students long after they graduate.

“R-Factor is a mindset and skill set for all ages,” said Michelle Balderson, director of elementary education. “It is extremely important to teach R-Factor skills to our youngest learners to help them understand and manage their emotions, establish healthy relationships, set goals and make responsible decisions. At ACS, we build upon these skills at each grade level PK-12. These behaviors support our district core value of being a caring citizen.”

So what is the R-Factor?

The most recognizable aspect of the R-Factor is the equation E + R = O. This translates to an event and your response to the event, which leads to either a positive or negative outcome. The R-Factor teaches that when we are faced with an event, we can’t control it. However, what we can control is our response. If we learn how to respond in a disciplined and skillful way, it will lead to a positive outcome, but if we respond in a default or impulsive manner, it will often lead to a negative outcome.

“E + R = O is simply the way life works,” Avera said. “It’s our job to get good at it. What we mean by that is we live in a cause and effect world and that’s how we express it.”

The R-Factor centers around six disciplines meant to teach people how to think about the outcome they want before responding. Knowing the outcome they desire helps individuals to respond in a way that will lead to that outcome.

The six disciplines are:

  1. Press Pause

  2. Get Your Mind Right

  3. Step Up

  4. Adjust and Adapt

  5. Make a Difference 

  6. Build Skill

From the time students start school at ACS, they learn the six disciplines starting with Press Pause, which offers the students a chance to take a second and get their mind right instead of reacting on autopilot.

“The R-Factor has helped our district staff be more consistent as we teach our students the skills they will need to be successful in their lives,” said Rob Gress, superintendent of Alliance City Schools. “We are now aligned in the techniques that we teach our students to effectively deal with the many events they encounter on a daily basis. Students are making better choices and getting better outcomes because of our work with the R-Factor.”

The R-Factor also teaches that our response, whether good or bad, can create an event for another person. Students learn that every person has 20-square-feet they control in every aspect of their life. They can’t control what happens outside of their 20-square-feet, but they can control their own and what impact they will have on others around them.

The R-Factor encourages all individuals to become the best version of themselves through a continuous growth mindset. The change is not expected to happen overnight, and even those fluent in the R-Factor still have the opportunity to continue to grow and get better. Teaching kids about the R-Factor at a young age encourages them to grow into the best versions of themselves throughout their time at Alliance City Schools.

“When you compare yourself only with the best version of yourself, it delivers from what we like to call the tyranny of comparison. There’s so many people that spend so much time, effort, energy, emotion and resources comparing themselves with other people. If you’re trapped in that comparison, I want to encourage you not to do that because it is a game that nobody ever wins,” Avera said. “But there’s a very healthy comparison game, and it’s comparing yourself with the best version of yourself - with what’s possible.”

The vision for Alliance City Schools is to have all students graduate prepared for life, college and careers. The R-Factor gives the district the opportunity to teach life skills that our students will carry with them far beyond graduation.