| Coordinator of Instructional Technology for Clovis Municipal Schools, Cindy Kleyn-Kennedy writes an education column, published weekly by the Eastern New Mexico News and featured on www.clovis-schools.org.
CAPTURING MORE HEARTS
by Cindy Kleyn-Kennedy
January 3, 2019
Some time back we described one of the programs at our middle schools to more effectively connect with students to improve student learning. The program, “Capturing Kids’ Hearts,” uses specific strategies to effectively connect with today’s students.
The foundational values the program uses are nothing new: integrity, trustworthiness, honesty, confidentiality, acceptance, joyfulness, loyalty, and service. However, what is new is the manner in which these are explicitly and precisely embedded throughout the school day.
This joint effort - by teachers and students – is showing tangible results, proof that it’s holding true to the claims of: improving student attendance; reducing discipline referrals; increasing graduation rates; improving teacher retention; and improving student performance.
Laura DeBusk, Gattis Middle School Science teacher shared an update on how things were going; turns out, exceptionally well. She first told me about how positively her classroom was flowing. A veteran teacher of over 20 years, DeBusk had actually worked with the Capturing Kids’ Hearts before coming to Clovis, so by this time, she’s a pro. Having seen DeBusk’s kids enter her classroom after individually greeting each one with whatever had been established (fist bumps; high fives; even conventional handshakes, it looked like she had an excellent rapport with each student.
As her class progressed, it ran like a well-oiled machine. DeBusk explained, “We made our classroom’s Social Contract together, which lays out standards of behavior, and the kids enforce it with each other. Also, we have lots of jobs in our classroom.” All this, in addition to regular schoolwork; folder distributor, paper handler, messenger, pencil patrol, stool/chair monitor, homework stamper, and homework collector. The mechanics of running some of the classroom basics flows like clockwork.
In fact, the results are so stellar, DeBusk continued,”We were invited to present in Albuquerque.” DeBusk and two of her students, along with Marshall Middle School, teacher, Christine Eisenmann and two of her students were recently invited to demonstrate their success. These teachers and students presented to a gathering of superintendents, principals, teachers and others in Albuquerque. The reported results from the independent program representative were: “the Clovis kids blew them away with their presentation!”
DeBusk described the somewhat nerve-wracking experience as both teachers and students did their presentation. “It’s easy to present to my own students in my classroom, but to a large group of adults, it’s a bit different. My kids reassured me, though, encouraging me along the way.”
Keep up the good work, Gattis!