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Whole Child Education Practices


Core Character Traits – 2016

Challenger Intermediate School

Challenger Intermediate School (Goddard, KS). Each month we concentrate on a different core character trait. Our teachers work with students on the identified trait throughout the month. Our counselor generates content and lessons, and staff regularly teach the content. At the end of the year, we celebrate our students’ success with character trait awards. All awards are peer nominated and presented at our year-end assemblies. Challenger students are engaged in managing their classrooms, actively working with teachers to create a social contract and a decision-making framework. The social contract is reviewed daily. There is a focus on a social contract word of the week, which is highlighted in our morning announcements, video announcements, and in each classroom. The consistency and visibility of the words and contracts are important in holding one another accountable. To reinforce this, each person who is a part of the classroom signs the social contract.

The staff set high expectations of themselves and all students. On almost a daily basis, we use the CHAMPs (Conversation, Help, Activity, Movement, Participation, and Success) model to review these expectations. This model is used throughout the building, which helps everyone know what is expected in classrooms, the school, and beyond. During PLC time, our counselor and administrator facilitate personal development discussions or host social time in the gym.


A Proactive Prevention Framework – 2016

Lucy Franklin Elementary School

Lucy Franklin Elementary School (Blue Springs, MO). LFE staff fully appreciate that the quality and character of school life is based on patterns of stakeholders’ experiences and reflects norms, goals, values, interpersonal relationships, teaching and learning practices, and organizational structures. Specific topics have been addressed to affect LFE climate and culture, including health, wellness, and personal safety (e.g., Olweus bully prevention program, Drug Abuse Resistance Education); governance (e.g., shared decision making); relationship building (e.g., Chat N’ Chew); diversity (e.g., Ruby Payne training); behavior management (e.g., Blue Springs Best, monthly classroom recognition, tangible incentives); interventions/enrichment (e.g., RtI, E/LA and math tutoring; extra reading, writing, and computer time); work showcases (e.g., PTA K-5 music performances, PTA Reflections contest, Art and Writing Fairs); and reinforcement (e.g., notes, phone calls, and emails home).

LFE students are challenged to grow academically and are accountable for setting, monitoring, and reporting achievement. Interpersonal and inter-group relations are fostered, and social and emotional skills are taught via a proactive, prevention framework that promotes pro-social development, de-escalation, and problem avoidance using self-regulating and higher-tiered intervention strategies that seek to meet student needs prior to displays of inappropriate behaviors. Social and emotional learning helps students develop fundamental life skills, including recognizing and managing emotions; developing caring and concern for others; establishing positive relationships; making responsible decisions; and handling challenging situations constructively and ethically. Such skills help prevent negative behaviors and the resulting disciplinary consequences.


Bicycling, Swimming, Tennis – 2015

Students at Hahaione Elementary School

Hahaione Elementary School (Honolulu, HI). Teachers coordinate physical education opportunities with community organizations. Through the Hawai’i Bicycling League and the City and County of Honolulu, our fourth graders participate in BikeEd Hawai’i. This program enables students to develop the skills and safety knowledge necessary to travel our neighborhoods as bicyclists. As schedules allow, teachers have also partnered with the U.S. Tennis Association Hawai’i Pacific Section to create opportunities to learn basic tennis skills.

The PTSA also coordinates with the Oahu Club to provide the Swim for Life program for our Grades 2 and 3 students. In the six-week Swim for Life program, students attend one class per week to develop their swimming skills and learn about water safety. Students who have limited swimming experience prior to this program are able to swim by its conclusion. Our PTSA further supports physical fitness with an annual Fun Run that promotes running endurance while also raising school spirit.


Custom PE, Student Self-Expression – 2015

students at tulsa school arts and sciences

Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences (Tulsa, OK). Our fitness program is nothing like a traditional PE; it was specifically designed by our instructor whose background is personal training. Originally developed in partnership with the YMCA that was next door to our original location, this class has been honed to perfection and provides students with a full range of fitness experiences aimed at establishing skills and routines that students can continue as part of a healthy life. The course includes yoga, cross-fit, running, strength training, boxing, and numerous other practices. Although it is not required for graduation, student demand for this class is so great than an additional section is offered after school.

Our school culture permits and celebrates personal expression and diversity. Our halls are filled with the colorful differences our students manifest in their choices of hair color, clothing, and sense of personal style, ranging from black tie to a Dr. Who trench-coat, or even a bright red cape. Such creative self expression is balanced by peaceful halls during passing periods, the absence of school bells, and the freedom for students to experience college-like autonomy, such as drinking coffee in class and other personal freedoms.