On the first day of school this week, Payson Unified Director of Student Achievement Brenda Case shook hands all around each campus, just as the new Capture Kids’ Hearts program suggested.
“I had more engaging conversations than I ever have,” said Case.
Ron Hitchcock, superintendent, ducked into many classrooms on each campus and saw students and teachers working with hand signals taught by the program.
He also watched student-teacher relationships evolve.
“They say kids don’t care how much you know, until you show how much you care,” said Hitchcock.
Sergio Beraun, the new high school music teacher gushed about the program.
“They say we ‘catch the virus’ and I have,” he said.
The week before school started, every teacher in the district attended three days of professional development by the Flippen consulting group.
group. The Capture Kids’ Hearts program trains teachers, administrators and staff a process designed to help them connect to students as individuals.
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“It teaches kids how to model appropriate adult behavior,” said Beraun.
The music teacher said Capture Kids’ Hearts was completely different compared to another program his former school district used, called Teach for Success.
“They were looking for an end result,” he said, “It was strictly curriculum driven…more head over heart.”
Beraun liked the Flippen program emphasis on the relationships teachers have with kids.
After the first day of training, some teachers reserved judgment and some community members wondered about the cost.
Hitchcock decided to bring the training to the district rather than send teachers to training sessions elsewhere.
“I see systemic changes already,” said Hitchcock.
This approach costs less too.
PUSD Business Manager Kathie Manning said the district will spend $71,000 for both Capture Kids’ Hearts and Beyond Textbooks, a new curriculum program created by the Vail School District.
Last year, the professional development program for teachers cost about $190,000.
After the program, even serious doubters said they had learned something. Some even thought they would try the techniques they learned at home.
Beraun looks forward to working out a social contract with his students.
“I’ll ask the students, ‘How do you want me to teach you? How would you like to be treated by peers?’” he said.
When the teachers worked on the social contract during their training, Beraun said he saw it made building relationships with peers easier.
He looks forward to doing that with his students as well.