Educators seek ‘a high quality education, for every child, everyday’
By Kim Chiomento, News Editor, The Times
NEW GARDEN – This week more than 120 educators gathered at Kennett Consolidated School District’s (KCSD) Bancroft Elementary School to receive training on the Responsive Classroom (RC) approach. The conference’s goals include attaining greater teacher effectiveness, higher student achievement, and fostering improved school climates.
The program places a strong focus on four key areas: engaging academics, positive community, effective management and developmental awareness. The Responsive Classroom website reports “Each year we provide training to more than 10,000 teachers and administrators from over 40 states, the District of Columbia, and the international school community.This approach has been recognized by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) as one of the most well-designed, evidence-based social and emotional learning programs.”
Bancroft is the only school in the region selected to host the conference, which had attendees travel from a large and diverse geographical area. The Times spoke with attendees from North Carolina, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey and Maryland; and learned that both private and public school representatives were present.
Curious of why Bancroft and KCSD were chosen, The Times asked Principal and conference host, Leah McComsey, how this selection came to be. McComsey explained that while attending a RC leadership conference in Boston several years ago, she decided to pursue how to bring the conference and training to Kennett. “I knew it would be an opportunity for more KCSD teachers to receive the training, as well as a great way to spotlight the incredible work we are doing in our schools.”
When asked about what RC means McComsey says, “The RC philosophy is based on the research that shows us that children learn when they feel comfortable and accepted in their school environment. It also focuses on the social and emotional child so that the academics can happen for all children to learn. An environment of respect is established where children feel safe to take academic risks and challenges since they know they will be supported even if they make mistakes. It also supports the idea that good kids make wrong choices from time to time and we can help them recognize the intrinsic motivations for making the right choices.”
KSCD has implemented various levels of the RC approach within its schools. McComsey reports that the RC methods are powerful; and she believes they are directly contributing to an increase in positive Bancroft student behavior and displays of respect children show toward their fellow students.
“I am exceptionally proud to host this National conference for KCSD; and I’m thrilled to be the leader that brought this to our area,” says an enthusiastic McComsey, “ I invite anyone to come and see the positive impact of RC for themselves!”
For more information about the Responsive Classroom initiative, visit responsiveclassroom.org