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RVES Earns National Recognition for Capturing Kids’ Hearts
An emotionally safe and caring culture is the heart of the Capturing Kids’ Hearts program. That environment is seen every day at Ridgeview Elementary School, and it’s the commitment of staff that earned the school a Capturing Kids’ Hearts National Showcase School Award for the 2017-18 school year.
Four years ago, RVES began an initiative to transform the campus into an emotionally-safe and relationally-connected place for students, staff and parents. The Capturing Kids’ Hearts program promotes socio-emotional techniques to foster student engagement. Ultimately, the belief is once you have a child’s heart, you have a child’s mind. The program was created by the Flippen Group, a management consultant company in Texas.
Thousands of schools have implemented the program nationwide, and RVES was one of 123 schools to be selected this year as a Capturing Kids’ Hearts National Showcase School. The nomination included a rigorous application process, and a site visit from the Flippen Group to gather data and talk with members of the school community.
“This award validates the Ridgeview staff,” stated Theresa Ritz, principal. “We are educators because we want to be difference makers in the lives of kids. This award symbolizes the difference our staff is making.”
RVES staff and students practice techniques of the Capturing Kids’ Hearts program every day throughout the school.
Each day before schools starts, Kim Moore, assistant principal, will be found at the front entrance greeting students with high fives and handshakes as they arrive.
Once a learner arrives at their classroom, they’ll find their teacher waiting at the door to offer a personal greeting and welcome for the day.
Classes start with sharing “good things.” During this time, students are invited to share a good thing in their life. Good things were simple and abundant at the school on April 5.
“My chickens were sold and are going to a safe home,” shared Zoey Beanland, 8, second-grader in Mrs. McClure’s class. “We’ll still be able to get free eggs.”
“When my family moves, I won’t have to go to a different school,” remarked Sevy Draney, 7, second-grader.
“Over the weekend, I went to the pool,” said Lilianna Rodriguez-Medina, 5, kindergartner.
Some students at RVES have experienced the Capturing Kids’ Hearts culture for many years. Besides sharing good things daily, students and staff are encouraged to give affirmations to promote positivity. Classrooms also have social contracts in place to hold both students and staff accountable. “Everyone here is so kind and understanding,” commented Cat Case, 10, fifth-grader. “They are more like a friend than a teacher.”
Classmate Mady Morales, 11, fifth-grader, was quick to add, “Everyone always has a smile on their face, and they encourage you. That gives me a boost.”
It’s not only the students who sing praises for RVES. “The teachers eat, sleep and live this culture,” stated Martha Bundrick, grandparent. “They have embraced it wholeheartedly.”
“My kids come home every day and tell me about the good things they shared,” said Shawna Ricks, parent. “I know staff have my student’s best interest at heart. It’s like a family here.”