Showcase Schools 2021

R-I earns national recognition from CKH for fifth year
Posted on 05/05/2021
2020/21 Capturing Kids' Hearts National Showcase School

Three buildings in the Poplar Bluff School District out of 325 campuses across the U.S. have been named national showcase schools under the Capturing Kids’ Hearts initiative.

Lake Road, O’Neal and the Kindergarten Center received the designation from the professional development organization, which trains over 37,000 educators annually. It is the fifth consecutive year an R-I school has earned the prestigious recognition.

"You are to be commended for your commitment to building a safe and caring culture through the Capturing Kids' Hearts processes," wrote CKH Leadership Development Executive Dr. Debbie Emery in an award letter on Friday, April 16. The accompanying press release states: “Capturing Kids’ Hearts is proud to recognize the outstanding educators who have dedicated themselves to making a difference in the lives of our children.”

Considering student needs have been greater during the pandemic, according to Principal Jessica Thurston, the showcase status—a first for the Kindergarten Center—is even more meaningful. The review process, she noted, involved a program official interviewing a panel of parents and students, and talking with staff members on leadership teams, as well as conducting surveys with patrons.

“I view this as our foundational piece—it gives you the blueprint or roadmap—and all the other stuff sort of piggybacks off of it,” Thurston said. “We made it fit all the good things we were doing, and used it as a guide to better those things.”

Like the Kindergarten Center, O’Neal has integrated the CKH cultural piece with its system of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports that the elementary school is engaged in, Principal Dr. Amy Dill pointed out. O’Neal was additionally named a showcase school last year as well as in 2017/18.

“It just adds consistency into the way we approach our [building] expectations,” Dill said. “We try to make everything we do very authentic, and want it to reflect that positive, kind learning environment that our teachers have worked hard to create.”

This is the fourth year in a row Lake Road has received the national honor for implementing the training, which focuses on social-emotional wellbeing, relationship-driven culture and student connectedness, according to the Texas-based Flippen Group.

“It’s about building relationships with students, and meeting the needs of the whole child before we can meet their needs academically,” Principal Rondi Vaughn explained. “It’s not just a stand-alone program; this is truly a part of our vision for our school and our culture.”

CKH was initially piloted alongside the district’s 1:1 laptop initiative during 2013/14 and ultimately went district-wide, with a workshop hosted for new teachers every summer. Junior High was also named a showcase school in 2017/18, along with the academic year prior.

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