Boys & Girls Town Social Skills


In the summer of 2007, Elkton Elementary teachers, principal, and counselor attended training for the Boys Town Educational Model. The explanation below is taken from the Boys Town website (

"The Boys Town Education Model (BTEM) was developed in 1979 and is an extension of the Boys Town Family Home Program (Coughlin & Shanahan, 1986) and the Teaching Family Model (Phillips, Phillips, Fixsen & Wolf, 1973). The BTEM has been adapted to train classroom teachers, building administrators, and support staff to implement three critical elements:

  • A school-wide social skills curriculum,

  • An administrative intervention process, and

  • A proactive classroom behavior management approach.

These three critical elements contribute to a system-wide approach that fosters respectful and caring staff/student interactions by fundamentally changing the way schools address discipline and deal with student behavior."


The first element of this model, the school-wide social skills curriculum, is taught during classroom guidance activities and is re-taught and reinforced during regular classroom learning. The social skills emphasized and their steps are listed below. Please encourage your child to practice these skills, as these are not just "school skills" but LIFE skills!

Following Instructions:

1. Look at the person

2. Say 'Okay'

3. Do what you've been asked right away

4. Check back

Getting the Teacher's Attention

1. Look at the teacher

2. Raise your hand and stay calm

3. Wait until the teacher says your name

4. Ask your question

Accepting a Criticism or Consequence:

1. Look at the person

2. Say 'Okay'

3. Stay calm

Disagreeing Appropriately:

1. Look at the person

2. Use a pleasant voice

3. Tell why you feel differently

4. Give a reason

5. Listen to the other person

Accepting 'No' for an Answer:

1. Look at the person

2. Say 'Okay'

3. Stay calm

4. If you disagree, ask later

Making an Apology:

1. Look at the person

2. Use a serious, sincere voice

3. Say "I'm sorry for..." or "I want to apologize for..."

4. Explain how you plan to do better in the future

5. Say 'Thanks for listening'

Greeting Others:

1. Look at the person

2. Use a pleasant voice

3. Say 'Hi' or 'Hello'

Accepting Compliments:

1. Look at the person

2. Use a pleasant voice

3. Say 'Thank you'

Having a Conversation:

1. Look at the person

2. Use a pleasant voice

3. Listen to what the other person says

4. When there is a break in the conversation, ask a question or share your thoughts

Sharing Something:

1. Let the other person use the item first

2. Ask if you can use it later

3. When you get to use it, offer it back to the other person after you have used it

Asking for Help:

1. Look at the person

2. Ask the person if they have time to help you

3. Clearly explain the kind of help that you need

4. Thank the person for helping

Working with Others:

1. Identify the task to be completed

2. Assign tasks to each person

3. Discuss ideas in a calm quiet voice and let everyone share their ideas

4. Work on tasks until completed

Asking Permission:

1. Look at the person

2. Use a calm and pleasant voice

3. Say 'May I...'

4. Accept the answer calmly


1. Look at the person who is talking and remain quiet

2. Wait until the person is through talking before you speak

3. Show that you heard them by nodding your head, saying 'Okay,' 'That's interesting,' etc.

Staying on Task:

1. Look at your task or assignment

2. Think about the steps needed to complete the task

3. Focus all of your attention on the task

4. Stop working only when instructed

5. Ignore distractions and interruptions from others

Appropriate Voice Tone

1. Listen to the level of the voices around you

2. Change your voice to match

3. Watch and listen for visual or verbal cues and adjust your voice as needed

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