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Schools, Programs, & Visit Reports - Jun, 1991 Issue 

Tyler Ranch
(509) 327-6900
Spokane, WA
Founder: Jon Tyler
Lon Woodbury's Visit: May 20, 1991

"One of the major problems facing new staff is understanding the control issue" Founder and Director Jon Tyler told me. "New and young staff especially, tend to "allow the boys to draw them into a power struggle over who is in control. The result is, instead of handling the issue at hand, the issue can escalate into a confrontation where the boy takes control. When this happens, everybody loses."

Tyler Ranch has been in existence for 14 years, and in that time Jon Tyler has emphasized evolving a structure where the boys rapidly learn the behavior that is expected of them, and the consequences of negative behavior. He also has worked at removing the tendency for staff to merely react to behavior. An example Jon gave was when a boy is told to go to his room to cool off and slams the door on his way. The staff probably should resist the impulse to go after the boy for slamming the door. This keeps the focus on the original behavior, and does not allow the student to change the issue to just, "the door slipped."

Jon Tyler works with boys as young as eight years old (and up to 18 year olds), and likes about 15 boys to keep the feeling of a home and family environment. They live in three homes in the suburbs of Spokane. They originally were more country when Jon started, but Spokane grew up around them. The homes are clean, well picked up, and comfortable. The boys take on much of the responsibility for keeping the homes clean.

The boys are on a daily point system, needing a certain number of points each day to earn the opportunity of fun trips, playing Nintendo games, or watching VCR movies. Monitoring of the point system by staff seems to focus on helping them succeed, and de-emphasizes a judgment attitude.

Most of the beds at this time are filled by state agencies, but the Ranch's reputation with the state is such that Jon can pick and choose those children that seem workable. The result is he avoids the hazard of having to accept boys that are "hard," or "tough," or "incorrigible." Some of his beds are private-pay, and Jon is at the stage where he would like to expand his private pay business and reduce or transition out of the state-pay business. Because Tyler Ranch is small, they feel they "are able to effectively customize programs to fit the specific needs of youth in a structured but family and supportive setting." Their focus is to intervene "where values, responsibility, cooperation and enhanced self-concept result." Jon claims a "long history of exceptional success with teens."

Copyright 1991, Woodbury Reports, Inc. (This article may be reproduced without prior approval if the copyright notice and proper publication and author attribution accompanies the copy.)

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