Strong Communities Build Strong Schools

Ask Dr. Nicole Evans Jones the key to creating a positive climate for children and she’ll tell you it’s all about the people and their relationships. Sure, the curriculum matters. Sure, funding for high quality professional development matters. Sure, technology matters. But at the end of the day, it’s the people who make the big Read More »
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Changing a School Climate: How Responsive Classroom Helped

A little over a year ago, I became the principal at a school where discipline referrals and staff stress were at all-time highs. Change was clearly needed, and soon. I’d spent the…
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The Power of Responsive Classroom

Sometimes a few little numbers can tell a great big story. That's the case with the changing numbers of disciplinary referrals at Palmyra-Macedon Primary School in Palmyra, NY. When the Responsive Classroom approach…
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Greeting Ideas for School Gatherings

In my newsletter article, "School Gatherings: Build Community, Boost Learning," I talk about the power of school gatherings. Over the years I've taught in a variety of settings—and no matter what the setting,…
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School Gatherings

During my thirty-nine-year teaching career, I’ve walked school hallways in five states and taught many students in public, private, and parochial settings. Over all those years, I’ve seen the power of group…
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Three-Year Survey of Students

Principal Dennis Copeland had one goal in mind when he decided to survey a group of 200 students in his school over a three-year period:
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High-Morale Schools: Readying Students to Take on the World

Morale can be hard to define, but you know it when you see it. When you walk into a school and everything immediately feels calm, safe, respectful, rich with learning, you know…
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Big Changes, Big Gains

When principal Susan Mele arrived four years ago at Stewartsville Elementary School, the discipline was in chaos. More time was being spent on discipline than instruction; teachers were exhausted from dealing with…
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Cyberbullying: A Resource for Educators

Do elementary educators need to proactively protect their students against cyberbullying? Elizabeth Englander, in her engaging and readable new book Bullying and Cyberbullying: What Every Educator Needs to Know, makes a persuasive…
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Q & A with Matt Miller

Last week, when the national news media picked up a story about a 2nd grader's idea for making recess work better at his school, Roundtown Elementary principal Matthew Miller contacted us right…
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Teaching Love

I recently had the pleasure of spending two full days at Garfield Elementary School in Springfield, Virginia, a school that has been using the Responsive Classroom approach for close to ten years.…
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Hyde-Addison Elementary School

A strong community and a student-centered focus have long been the heart of Hyde-Addison Elementary, a well-regarded public school in Washington, DC. Since Hyde-Addison began using Responsive Classroom practices in 1999, staff…
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No Ordinary Monday

Teachers, principals, and other school staff nationwide are thinking about what to do and what to say tomorrow when they and their students return to school in the wake of the horrific…
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SOAR Schools

At SOAR, a network of public charter schools in Northeast Denver, Responsive Classroom practices are embedded in the daily life of schools, and the approach itself is integrated into the network's core…
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Working with Students to Stop Bullying

Bullying behaviors go on under our radar. Children report far higher levels of bullying in their classrooms than their teachers do. They see it when we don't. It happens while we're helping…
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Garfield Elementary

Garfield Elementary, a K–6 public school, began its Responsive Classroom initiative seven years ago. Located in Fairfax County, the sixth-largest public school district in the U.S., Garfield is a Title I school…
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Building Community One Child at a Time

Grafton Elementary School has 750 students in grades 3 to 5. With over 200 children at each grade level, it's easy for children to feel invisible, especially in spaces beyond the classroom,…
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How We Want Our School to Be

Several years ago, teachers at Ironia Elementary, a suburban New Jersey school with 600 students in kindergarten through fifth grade, began working with their students each September to create classroom rules—simple but…
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Joplin Schools Open On Time

One night this week the national news included two snippets related to our country’s schoolchildren: one I found very discouraging and the other really heartening. The discouraging news was that one in…
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Encouraging Classroom Visits and Peer Observations

Heather Anderson remembers the year she decided to go to art with her second grade class as “magical.” As she worked on art projects alongside her students, she saw children who struggled…
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Making an Entrance

Think of a place where you feel welcome as soon as you arrive. For some people, that place might be home; for others, someplace where they eat, play, work, or shop; for…
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Traditions For a New School

As the founding faculty of Community Partnership School (CPS) prepared to welcome our first classes of pre-kindergartners, kindergartners, and first graders, we focused not only on the practical details of opening a…
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Re-Energizing a Behavior Pledge

As members of the Bywood School community: We respect all people, we respect all property; We walk safely, we talk quietly; We never touch to hurt another person; We always keep our…
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RC Works!: Capitol Heights Academy

Michelle Flores, lead teacher at Aspire Capitol Heights Academy in Sacramento, California, contacted us last week to share the news that her school had been designated a California Distinguished Elementary School for 2010.
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The Principal Story (Film Review)

At the recent National Staff Development Council (NSDC) conference in St. Louis, I had an opportunity to view The Principal Story. This documentary, which aired on PBS earlier this fall, tells a…
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RC Works!: Hollin Meadows School

Perhaps you've seen the news that First Lady Michelle Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack visited Hollin Meadows Science and Math Focus School in Alexandria, Virginia, last week as part of their…
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Great Expectations

I recently had the privilege of witnessing an encounter that made me think about how important it is to communicate our faith in children’s positive intentions. The assistant principal of a school…
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