Tuttle Elementary School, Pre-K – 3rd, has about 600 students. We are a growing community in Oklahoma. Approximately 5 years ago the enrollment at Tuttle Elementary was around 380 students. We were named in the Daily Oklahoman as one of the top three school districts in student growth. With this in mind the staff and myself, the building principal, came to the realization that change is inevitable. In an ever changing world we are seeing a great number of students that learn at different rates, in different ways, and with different needs. Our staff embraced the idea that I personally heard from Dr. Mel Levine that all students come to school wanting to learn. That they do not come wanting to be different, or lazy, or they do not come wanting to be a discipline problem. It was an awaking to the staff that we as educators need to change our thought process and philosophy in order to adapt to our changing world at Tuttle. I sent 8 teachers last spring to the Schools Attuned workshop hoping to find a new approach and philosophy, after visiting a Schools Attuned Workshop at the Leadership Conference. The teachers came back with a sensational outlook and shared response to the strategies that they learned at the workshop. As a staff, we then decided to host a workshop that would educate the entire staff, and myself with the schools attuned philosophy. We are elated with the strategies and techniques learned that can be used daily within our classrooms. The neurodevelopmental constructs that each teacher has to work with allows them to see each student as an individual and more importantly that all students come to school wanting to learn. Our staff communicates on how best to educate or work with children using the same language. We feel that Schools Attuned has placed the staff on the same page with our outlook towards the future. Schools Attuned reinforced strategies that our careered teachers had been using and invigorated their drive to look at children as individuals with different constructs. We are looking forward to attuning children and becoming more educated and prepared to work with tomorrow’s leaders. Our new staff that has come on board will be professionally trained in the Schools Attuned program at the next available workshop.
Principal at Tuttle Elementary School, PreK-3rd
Powell Elementary School in Raleigh, NC hosted a Schools Attuned course this summer. Sixteen of their faculty and both of their administrators attended. They had a great opportunity to spend time together planning how they wanted to use what they were learning during the upcoming school year. Now that September has arrived, they are hard at work implementing those plans. One of the things they are doing is sharing some of the neurodevelopmental content with non-trained faculty and parents. Each month they are going to share one of the constructs, written in day-to-day English. They started with:
What is Temporal-Sequential Ordering? It is the ability to understand, remember and produce information that exists in a meaningful order and keeping track of time. It is…
Understanding a sequence (identifying rhythm in songs or poems, instructions for activities)
Remembering the order of steps, events, or other sequences (how to multiple or divide fractions, tying shoelaces)
Creating products in which the content is arranged in the optimal order (telling a story, performing tasks in logical steps)
Using time efficiently (planning a long-term project, coping with class transitions)
Using serial order to solve problems (understanding the water cycle, using inductive/deductive reasoning)
Powell Elementary is also using Schools Attuned in their Student Support Team meetings. They have already asked to host another course next summer to get the rest of their faculty trained in the content so that they can continue to weave their new knowledge throughout their school.
Owasso Public Schools in Oklahoma is endeavoring to provide all 577 certified staff members with the opportunity to participate in the Schools Attuned courses during the school year while the district provides classroom substitutes. The Schools Attuned in Oklahoma program received a letter from a counselor who was one of the first to complete the Schools Attuned program offered in Owasso. Here’s an excerpt from her letter.
“As the school counselor and part of the Special Education team, I knew that Schools Attuned was the direction we needed to be going. I was very tired of identifying a child with weaknesses, getting the child tested and then pulling the child out of class to go work on a specific weakness – with no thought of any of the child’s strengths or being able to help the parent understand how to help their child.
Learning about neurodevelopmental diversity, about the quest to be specific when describing weaknesses, about labeling the behavior rather than the student, about collaboration with students and parents and about the great importance of teaching a child about their strengths along with their weaknesses – why should we have to be told that this is a good way to do things? This should be the only way, the mainstream. Involving a child in their learning from the beginning – why does this seem like a new concept?
I am forever changed as an educator because of Schools Attuned and I hope I am able to be a part of changing the way we involve parents and students in their own learning.”
Congratulations to Owasso Public Schools on their commitment to make a difference not only in the lives of children, but in the lives of their educators through Schools Attuned.
Submitted by Dr. Sheryl Flowers, State Coordinator, Schools Attuned in Oklahoma
I recently finished facilitating at an elementary school in Raleigh, North Carolina. We had a terrific group and the discussions were wonderful. After the week ended, I received an email from a participant that I just had to, in part, share. Here’s her story (edited for length)
Christine, a kindergarten teacher, has a 6 year old son.
“He is an amazing kid and I love him to death, but as I learned through the training, he does have some weaknesses in Attention. So during the week, I was thinking about some of the issues we have and how we can get a better grip on them.”
“So in the morning, we have difficulty “getting it moving”…I have to be at work at 8(which is also his school!) so…I decided to use the Student Profile Management model…..”
“So…I had one of the most remarkable conversations with Jack that I ever had just by asking him what he was good at and what he wanted to make better….I never thought to ask my own son what he thought was a weakness and how he could make it better…it seems so simple….but I tend to want to “fix it by trying this wonderful strategy to help you with your problem” without fully involving you!”
WHAT POWER that had! He is so excited about doing this!!!!
SO….thank you….Schools Attuned….All Kinds of Minds….etc!!!!!!!”
Christine’s email and experience with her son were powerful and reminded me that viewing our own worlds through the neurodevelopmental framework can have as much impact on us as we hope to have on our students.
Max and Chris finished a week-long SA training for our newbies last Friday. During lunches and dinners, I spoke with many of the teachers being trained and they all had wonderful things to say about SA, Chris, and Max. They also enjoyed working with each other throughout the week.
Just sending along a “way to go” to Max and Chris for doing a fantastic training worth so much to our new faculty and more to those of us already certified. This means we’re all on board with SA… again. Woo-hoo!