Teacher Training Fuels the Future

Ongoing teacher development, key to any successful program in social and emotional learning, has been a powerful asset in Louisville. More to this story.

Ongoing teacher development, key to any successful program in social and emotional learning, has been a powerful asset in Louisville. More to this story.

Release Date: 12/18/09

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Teacher Training Fuels the Future (Transcript)

Darren: The swine-flu snake greeting. Morning. Morning. Morning. Morning. Morning. Morning. Morning. Morning. Morning.

Narrator: At Carrithers Middle School, the day begins with goofy games, which are often followed by serious discussions.

Darren: We've been discussing bullying all week long. What are some ways that we can stop the bullying?

Narrator: The 20 minutes spent in this daily morning meeting is a critical component of Jefferson County, Kentucky's, district-wide Care for Kids initiative, which seeks to build positive, caring learning communities.

Darren: Humor? That's always good, right? What do you think humor takes away from bullying?

Student: If you make somebody laugh, then they won't be as angry as they were.

Sheldon: It takes skill to lead a class meeting, an effective class meeting, takes the ability to not intervene too soon…

Darren: Or should we maybe let Mr. Atkinson know? What should we do about that?

Sheldon: …to not impose one's own values and one's own thoughts on the situation and let students engage and discuss and struggle for a while.

Darren: I think that's a good idea.

Narrator: Fortunately, there is support for teachers who lead these difficult discussions. They receive a binder of instructions and activities and two days of training in the summer, followed by five follow-up sessions throughout the year.

Teacher: One of the challenges for me was changing how I saw consequences and the proactive approach.

Teacher: And, I mean, I think that's what I see you all - if you struggle with anything, it's the language, because it is so different than corrective language. It's all the negative or "don't do that," "don't do this," "this is what you did wrong," whereas the language and care and developmental theirs is all about self-regulation, about acknowledging what you've done. It's all in a positive. It's non-confrontational. So, is that what you all see as the language as probably the biggest change?

Alicia: Some teachers, the Care for Kids might come naturally for them. For others it might be more of a struggle. The framework is there. They can pick up the book and structure their morning meeting and afternoon meeting using the resources, and so it's helped everyone quickly be able to implement it successfully.

Teacher: There are some things that're already in place in the book that we may want to consider instead of some of these levels that we currently have.

Narrator: Every school has a Care for Kids leadership team, usually comprised of the principal and a representative from each grade level.

Teacher: Mr. Atkinson, would you like to join our circle?

Darren: Sure, I'd love to. Thank you.

Narrator: As the Care team leader at Carrithers, Darren Atkinson acts as a sounding board and mentor for his colleagues.

Darren: Well, I think your circles go well. The kids all seem to interact very well. They communicate.

My job is to find out if they have any kind of issues at hand, and then if I can help them solve that, then that's where I try to either suggest the advisory books or a Web site or something that we found successful in another school. Whatever I can do to alleviate their issue and whatever problems they're seeing at the time, that's kind of my role.

I would have a fix-it plan and just explain to him, "This is what I'm seeing. Please help me to understand why that this is happening."

Narrator: Breckenridge-Franklin Principal Alicia Averette uses a Care for Kids evaluation form to note what goes on in the classroom.

Alicia: What needs to happen when we're working in a group or with a partner?

Student: Level 1.

Alicia: Very good job. You are working together. Jermaine?

Jermaine: Help them if they need help.

Alicia: Help them if they need help.

I use the Care for Kids walkthrough tool, so when I go in the room I'm looking for respective interactions between students and teachers, a student-centered environment, student work posted, but then I'm also looking at instructional practices and I provide the teacher with a copy of the walkthrough tool. And then we have an opportunity to debrief.

I'm seeing the morning meeting and the afternoon meetings and everything, they're being fit in. You all…

Narrator: Since it is part of the mandated curriculum, discussion of the Care for Kids initiative is a big part of weekly teacher meetings.

Alicia: The sample schedule we received from the district has helped plan it, but it does not allow for wiggle room.

Robben: We can't possibly fit every single thing that we're expected to cover in a day along with the Care for Kids stuff. And some teachers get hung up on it, but at the end of the day, the moments with the kids sharing out, the moments of you diffusing a problem or letting kids diffuse the problem on their own, that's the kind of stuff that's going to have the more lasting effect on them.

Teacher: Do not let Care for Kids be something that's cut out. If you have to knock 10 minutes off math, if you have to knock 5 minutes off science, social studies, if you embrace the Care for Kids and allow that to be one of the core things, then everything else falls into place so much easier, because the students know the expectations. They work together well. They are able to respect each other, and I was so glad when our school adopted that, but now it's mandated and, yay.

Narrator: For more information about what works in public education, go to edutopia.org.


Video Credits

Produced, Written, and Directed by

  • Ken Ellis


  • Karen Sutherland

Associate Producer

  • Doug Keely

Camera Crew

  • Rob Weller
  • Mark Crowner

Coordinating Producer

  • Amy Erin Borovoy


  • Carl Bidleman

Support for Edutopia's Schools That Work series is provided, in part, by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.

© 2009 | The George Lucas Educational Foundation | All Rights Reserved

Comments (1)

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I'm thoroughly impressed. It

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I'm thoroughly impressed. It gives administrators and staff an opportunity to share what works in their schools and classrooms. Prior to this avenue we worked with principals and teachers in our own cities and states and very often, with few exceptions, we were doing the same things. It's wonderful that schools are climbing out of the box to meet the needs of students who because of their exposure are already way ahead of the pointer when they arrive at school. Thanks EDUTOPIA. New York loves you.

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