About Us

Lesson One provides professional development that helps public, private and charter schools establish and design themselves for successful School Cultural Development Ecosystem. We integrate social & academic skills through our evidence-based practice for mental health.

After a rough upbringing within a dysfunctional family situation, Jon Oliver started Lesson One in 1976. Oliver’s life mission was to create a way so that children would not have to feel what he had felt growing up.

In high school Oliver volunteered at a children’s ward in a hospital, there he witnessed horrific incidences of child abuse. He saw babies with cigarette burns on their feet. He felt traumatized and heartbroken by the abuse that he witnessed, and knew that something must be done to help prevent this type of violence.

Just out of college, Oliver became a theater teacher. While teaching he experienced many things causing him to see the immense need for such an organization. On Oliver’s first day of teaching, one of his students punched him in the back, on the second day she punched him again, and on the third day Oliver gently held her fist and drew a face on it. That face began to speak, and explained to Oliver that her father had held a gun to her head and her parents were getting a divorce.

Those experiences along with Oliver’s early life experiences motivated Oliver to start Lesson One; he felt an obligation to society to develop ways to help children achieve and thrive both academically and socially.

  • Founded in 1976
  • Has appeared on Dateline and World News Tonight and Parade Magazine.
  • Was invited to the White House where Lesson One was presented as a model for safe and drug-free schools.
  • Worked with and was evaluated by Harvard.
  • Intervention has been implemented in over 30 states and Canada.
  • Lesson One recognized by the federal government (Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration) as an evidence-based practice for mental health. The intervention scored a 3.7 out of 4 for replication methods. This is especially significant given the attention mental health is getting after the tragedies in Isla Vista, Newtown and Boston and how the country is looking for answers.

National Recognition

What Experts are Saying to Stop School Shootings and Violence