Heck-Quaw Elementary School (Belgrade, MT). At Heck-Quaw Elementary, the school counseling curriculum consists of developmentally designed lessons for each grade level (K-4). The lessons focus students on achieving the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed for social/emotional development, academic success, and college and career readiness (American School Counselor Association, 2014 Mindsets & Behaviors for Student Success: K-12 College-and Career-Readiness for Every Student standards). Lessons include assorted topics: school skills, empathy/caring for others, friendship/bully-proofing, self-worth/self-esteem, emotional awareness and regulation, personal safety, problem-solving/conflict management, and career exploration/transition to middle school. In addition, students have access to group and individual counseling as needed. Mental health supports are also available for students with Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE). ACE trainings are also held with the staff to help deliver trauma-informed responses and practices across the school.
Lincoln Elementary School (Rexburg, ID). Lincoln Elementary emphasizes physical education, nutrition, and exercise/fitness of students every day. Every class participates in weekly P.E. where students build hand-eye coordination, concentration, body awareness, endurance, and strength. Through an initial grant from Fuel Up to Play 60, Lincoln implements a nutrition and fitness curriculum and activities. Within a yearlong theme, students participate in monthly nutrition lessons. To promote healthy lifestyle choices, the school used other grants to purchase snacks, smoothie blenders, sports gear, and playground equipment. Students enjoy a snack during their nutrition lesson and receive a smoothie the following week. In addition, parent volunteers track the distance participants walk and run at recess. The school purchased a scanner, through a grant, where teachers, parents, and students scan badges to record their miles. Lincoln provides incentives for students at each milestone and a party for meeting preliminary requirements. Each year, a shoe company provides four pairs of shoes to award students with the most accumulated miles. Because of the success at Lincoln, the district has extended the program to other schools.
Willow Creek Elementary School (Centennial, CO). To promote a positive school climate and growth mindsets, Willow Creek focuses on POWER which stands for Persistence, Optimism, We are Flexible, Empathy, and Resilience. The school designates 10-15 minutes daily as POWER Time for activities that teach students a growth mindset and appropriate school behaviors using a common language across the school. A weekly POWER TIME video, produced in collaboration with the principal and staff, teaches and promotes appropriate school behaviors. Weekly POWER TIME videos begin with the ‘why’ of growth mindsets and give concrete definitions and examples of teachers and students demonstrating the traits. Students and staff in all grade levels, classes, and programs produce these videos. The videos are shared with families each week to strengthen the school-home connection. In addition, students are encouraged to recognize and use the traits in themselves and each other as they go through the school day. Three times a year, Willow Creek holds all-school POWER pep assemblies. During the assemblies, students have an opportunity to share with the entire school specific ways that their teachers show POWER. Time is taken to celebrate the achievements of students both in and out of school. Willow Creek’s widespread adoption of growth mindset practices impact students emotionally which impacts students academically. The school encourages students to utilize grit and perseverance to gain skill and knowledge. Staff believe that students can and will learn which fosters students’ belief in themselves, making learning a completely attainable task, with no time limits, as learning is continuous and never ending.
Taunton Public Schools
Three-fifths of the 350 Kindergarten through fourth-grade students who attend Hopewell Elementary School qualify for federally subsidized meals. Despite challenges, in 2009 Hopewell placed among the top ten percent of elementary schools in Massachusetts, a state with among the most rigorous education standards in the country.
Principal Thomas Quigley has led the school since 2005 alongside a leadership team comprising the vice principal, administrative assistant, and guidance counselor. Principal Quigley identified an empowered staff, a strong focus on reading, a rigorous district promotion policy, and building students’ social and emotional skills as keys to Hopewell’s success.
NBRS program staff created four videos: Accountability for All, on ending social promotion and making student data easily accessible, Creating a Culture of Literacy, on using a locally developed, powerful phonics program and other literacy initiatives, Educating the Whole Child, on enrichment opportunities and a social-emotional learning curriculum integrated with coursework, and Empowering Staff, on expanding co-teaching opportunities for classroom assistants.