• The Top 20 Program—What is it?



    Top 20 is a mindset.  It is a way of thinking about our world and the things that come our way.  At it’s heart, people can either feel that they are “Above The Line” or “Below The Line.”  When we are Above The Line (ATL), we are feeling good about life and can Think, Learn and Communicate (T.L.C.) clearly.  When challenges come our way, we are able to navigate through them and continue to make positive choices.  When we are Below The Line (BTL) we may be feeling frustrated or angry, and we may make poor choices as a result of our mindset.  When we are Below The Line we are not able to Think, Learn and Communicate clearly.


    People who engage in Top 20 thinking try to maintain a positive outlook despite the challenges that come their way.  This kind of thinking allows us to effectively navigate our days and the challenges that life presents.


    Top 20 uses specific language to describe and define the experiences and feelings we encounter.  Here are some key phrases we use with our students.  These phrases work outside of school, as well.  Please feel free to use this language at home to partner with us in helping our students develop more Trampolines (coping skills) that will help them in life. 


    Above the Line:  When I have a great weekend with family and friends it puts me way Above The Line. When I am Above The Line I am happy, and I work efficiently and quickly. Sometimes things happen in my day that bring me Below The Line, but I recover quickly because I only visit Below The Line, but I live Above The Line.


    Below the Line:  Being Below The Line happens when I have too much to do and not enough time and/or help.  Sometimes it takes a few hours to fully recover from being Below The Line.  It is okay to be Below The Line sometimes, be patient with yourself.


    Trampoline:  When you jump on a real Trampoline, you naturally accelerate into the air. At Desert Sky we use the word Trampoline to refer to “things” that help you get back Above The Line. Trampolines are really coping mechanisms.  Examples of Trampolines might be music, writing, reading, singing, drawing, meditating, walking, shooting hoops, looking at pictures of your pets, sorting items, cleaning….the list of possible Trampolines is endless.


    Thank you for partnering with us in helping our students to develop positive coping skills!