October Newsletter

Join us for our 2022 conference!

The Power of ICU Summer Professional Development Conference will be held July 14-15, 2022, in Murfreesboro, Tennessee (30 min. outside of Nashville), for district, school, and classroom level educators looking to strengthen and deepen the implementation of ICU. Keynote and breakout sessions will provide practical strategies from over a dozen veteran educators with over 50 years combined ICU success. Our goal is to provide a relaxed and fun atmosphere for you and your team to get what’s needed for your next steps in advancing the Power of ICU approach in your classroom, school, and district.

  • Dive deep into the ICU “Proven Formula” (Completion + Quality Assignments + Healthy Grading = Student Success)
  • Learn from practitioners who have defeated student apathy at their schools, making assignment completion the norm
  • Discover new ways to utilize and maximize the use of the ICU Database
  • Gather example layers of support menus and multiple ways to do blitzes from various ICU schools
  • Re-think status quo norms that waste teachers/students time and energy and sync everything with a main purpose
  • Explore the litmus tests for quality assignments and healthy grading
  • Engage and motivate your staff for the upcoming school year

Registration: $250

Visit Conference Site

Just Released! Power of ICU Second Edition

In this updated second edition of the bestselling book Power of ICU, author, speaker, and longtime educator Danny Hill guides readers through his school’s culture-shift journey that led to incredible, long-term improvement and life-changing results. Learn how he and his staff stumbled, accidentally, on an out-of-the-box approach that successfully waged war against student apathy. Included in this new edition are stories of proven results from practitioners across the country. Hear from educators who, after following this approach, have built excellent examples of a learning-focused school culture — one that every educator craves. This must-read book will challenge educators to let go of long-established, but ineffective, status quo thinking and practices and adopt an approach that has yielded amazing, long-term results at schools across the country.

Now Scheduling PD for 2021-2022

Don’t Delay! Dates are filling up fast for our fall training schedule. The Power of ICU team offers various training/PD, including on-site and virtual options. Bring acclaimed author and speaker Danny Hill for an in-person or virtual training with staff. Or, schedule a full out ICU workshop at your school/district. We will customize a workshop based on your school/district priorities and needs. Topics may include the Power of ICU formula, defeating student apathy, the powerful how and why of the Power of ICU’s unique approach, building layers of support, improving the quality of assignments and assessments, cleansing toxic grading practices, mastering the ICU Database, addressing learning loss, among many other options. Learn from actual educators from various grade levels from various schools in the ICU network with keynote presentations by Danny Hill. Contact us today to schedule a training that will leave a lasting impact on your teachers, school, and district.

“Doing Half the Work for You”

“The ICU Database might seem like double the work; however it’s doing half the work for you! Instead of being on your student 24/7 and the student only hearing the reminder about missing work from the classroom teacher, the student is hearing the reminder from 4th period teachers, coaches, club sponsors, lifeguards, and more. The student is more likely to turn in the missing work with everyone being on them about it. This overall benefits the classroom teacher because it takes less time to get the assignment in and the teacher is able to assess the student’s mastery of the standard.”

– J. W. (2nd year Math teacher)

“Frustrated With Apathy”

“We were becoming frustrated with the apathy toward completing assignments by a significant percentage of our students.  Obviously, the incomplete assignments adversely affected grades, which in turn affects scheduling for a school our size.  After receiving some much needed direction from a neighboring Middle School, we implemented the Power of ICU approach during the course of the 2017-2018 school year at the High School.  We chose not to set it up exactly as the Middle School, but we formatted the plan to what works for us and our schedule.  Among the staff, we had our ‘doubters’ as to whether ICU would be beneficial.  However, having a strong ICU leadership team has greatly impacted the success of the program.  For me, as the principal, it places some of the control into the hands of the teachers who are on the ‘front line’ in the classrooms.  And as far as the ‘doubters’ are concerned, they are far and few now.  In comparing some baseline data from the 2016-2017 to this year, we have noticed a significant drop in Ds and Fs for each grade level. For example, last year’s juniors, 44.2% were receiving a D and/or F during the first semester.  This year, that current group of seniors, only 24.1% are receiving a D and/or F.  Obviously, the number is still considerably higher than we would like it to be, but positive steps need to start one at a time.  So, we look at it as a positive movement.”

– K. P. (High School Principal)

“The Right Kind of Work”

“Using the ICU database is the right kind of teacher work. It holds students accountable for their practice, it helps ensure that teachers have authentic examples of student mastery (or a lack of mastery), and it challenges teachers to create high-quality, relevant, practice. In short, the ICU database (and the philosophical approach behind it) has helped me be a better educator. Because of this, using the ICU database is the right kind of work – ensuring that every student does every practice every day! I have found that the small amount of time that I spend inputting missing work is the most efficient use of my time and helps support both student mastery and student accountability, but without the punitive approach that too many teachers and schools use.”

– R.D. (History Dept Chair)

And the success continues!

The Power of ICU stretches way beyond just your campus school. The strategies and supports taught through the ICU approach will stay with many students and teachers for a lifetime. We have received consistent feedback about how ICU has helped brand new and seasoned educators shift their thinking towards impactful intervention and learning based practices. As a principal, the greatest compliment is often that you have developed lead learners that grow and move on to become leaders themselves. This is the case for many of our schools. However, what is even more of a compliment for us is when these new leaders bring the Power of ICU to their new schools.

This is AWESOME! One of our teachers from FMS left and went to Fredericktown School District. She took her knowledge of defeating student apathy with her.

This is what it is all about! I just wanted to share with you her excitement and joy of bringing this to another school.

And the success continues! We were fortunate to receive feedback from the teacher, as well. She was able to share the ICU approach with her new school district and once again, the students are demonstrating their learning while developing accountability.

I just wanted to share with you guys that today we kicked off our 1st day of Working Lunch/ICU.  We are only doing freshman and core classes to begin with as part of our transition plan. Well, these freshmen teachers listened and bought in. So today we had 32 kiddos on our list.  Except for the boy who was absent, we collected EVERY SINGLE ASSIGNMENT.  The MTSS guy for our building was astounded. He spends his life chasing down missing work, and he’s been working closely with me on this. He said, “This is the most effective intervention in the history of the world!”

Another teacher was shocked as well.  He said, “I don’t understand. I told them yesterday I was putting them on the list if I didn’t get it. What was different about today?” Well, obviously, we were getting into their lunch time, but I told him, “There is something magic about THE LIST.”

Thanks for listening to me. I just wanted to share with people who truly understand how excited I am!

Spotlight School: Stewarts Creek High School


Celebrating learning differences is at the heart of Stewarts Creek High School’s culture. Only six short years ago, Principal Dr. Clark Harrell opened SCHS with the mission of achieving academic excellence by fostering the belief that every child learns differently. He knew that many schools struggle with helping students learn the standards when educating them following the status quo. This rigid system didn’t align with Dr. Harrell’s vision and he knew there must be a better educational model available.

The summer prior to the school’s opening, the leadership team met with Danny Hill who introduced them to the Power of ICU. The book presented layers of support for positioning student differences as strengths and a focus on standards’ mastery, not grades. Applying the Power of ICU formula to Stewarts Creek High meant fostering a culture where students were served through daily individualized support by all faculty members from front office personnel to teachers, coaching staff to administrators. Last year, a visit from the Power of ICU team introduced the SCHS staff to Danny’s newest book, Grade Cleanse. This gave teachers the final piece of the formula needed to refine and develop quality practice that truly assesses learning and produces work that authentically reflects what students know, not how they behave. Principal Harrell contributes the school’s culture of excellence to the layers of support, positive student-teacher relationships, and a commitment to celebrating individual successes together as One Team. “Power of ICU has offered the school a systematic plan to build this culture, and SCHS has experienced positive changes in student attitudes toward learning every year since it’s adoption,” says Harrell.

Academic lifeguards, the ICU database, and notification messages keep parents informed of their child’s progress, an important component that is often missing after students transition into high school. SCHS families know that teachers and administrators are not going to let their students sink beneath the academic demand, but rather work along side them to meet rigorous expectations. Each year, Stewarts Creek High School has given 100% to build layers of support focused on every student succeeding. Acting as OneTeam, the staff has made ICU the backbone of their school culture and is all-in toward giving students every opportunity to complete every assignment everyday. In honor of their significant achievement and long-standing focus on personalized student learning by creating a unique, relational ICU school environment, Stewarts Creek High has earned the distinction as a Spotlight School.

Power of We

The greatest of educational leaders value the importance of reflection and refinement as they look forward to the next school year. Schools across the country have started this practice by working on their school-wide improvement plans and needs assessment to address student achievement. Many of these institutions have begun rewriting the education narrative, promoting a culture of student accountability, and eliminating “grades” from their vernacular. As the author of their outcome, they have chosen not to allow apathy to be the antagonist of their school’s success story. Instead, these innovative leaders have twisted the plots and turned conflicts of failures into happily-ever-afters of completing assignments, demonstrating learning, advancing student achievement, and increasing graduation rates. Although each success story is unique, the one common theme is that no one single person solely claims the character of hero. Rather, the champion’s tale of student success is a school-wide collaboration appropriately titled the Power of We.

With pen in hand, districts across the nation have committed to edit the ending of their story by bringing the ICU Database to their schools and teachers. Like a sword to a knight, the ICU Database equips every faculty member with the power to support students and defeat apathy by creating, monitoring, and managing missing assignments in one accessible location. Armed with the ICU Database, the responsibility to help a student doesn’t fall solely on the teacher. The ICU list makes every minute count with all students in all classes. Student achievement becomes the focus of the whole school community and each staff member pursues students to turn in missing assignments by creating opportunities to demonstrate their learning. Teachers are grateful for the extra help believing that more can be achieved when working together. Students and parents appreciate knowing that the entire school is working toward the same goal, the student’s success. For ICU schools, every faculty member can be the hero and responsibility for student learning no longer falls on “me” but is achieved through the power of “WE“. Lifeguards Michelle Mack and Noelle Heuer share about the success that comes from having a school-wide culture where each faculty member is working for every individual student.

“Our ICU culture raises the bar. We are just trying to hold students accountable and give them every opportunity to learn!”

– Michelle Mack, Lifeguard

“Communication is not only between the teachers and the students, but also with coaches, administration, and most importantly the parents. It’s important to remember that ICU is not a negative intervention. It’s a chance to address academic issues quickly and in a timely manner so that other educational gaps do not arise.”

– Noelle Heuer, Lifeguard

At the end of this year, will your school improvement narrative be one of tragedy or triumph? The Power of ICU team would like to partner with you to rewrite your school’s success story and help turn the responsibility of “me” into the Power of “WE”.