Weatherford News

Vandagriff Elementary named Capturing Kids’ Hearts National Showcase School

Garrett Boykin explains the Social Contract.
Garrett Boykin explains the Social Contract. Photo courtesy

ALEDO, TX — Vandagriff Elementary School has received a Capturing Kids’ Hearts National Showcase SchoolsTM award for the 2016-2017 school year from the Flippen Group.

Two years ago, Vandagriff began an initiative to transform the campus into an emotionally safe and relationally connected place for students, staff and parents to come alive with a love for learning.

“After researching programs used by some of the nation’s most successful schools, Vandagriff leaders chose to join hands with the Flippen Group to bring Capturing Kids’ HeartsⓇ to its campus,” Principal Stephanie Covington said. “Teachers and staff learned processes to increase students’ connectedness with both peers and adults on campus. They learned how to create a classroom environment where students are excited to enter and learn every day. As a result of implementing Capturing Kids’ Hearts, Vandagriff has enjoyed creating an overall environment of affirming staff, students and teachers.”

Students in grades K through four all created social contracts for their classrooms. Elements included such items as respect, listening, keeping your hands to yourself, sharing, telling the truth, listening to the teacher, and more. Classes also implement a daily “launch” experience that empowers the kids and ends their days or class periods on positive, affirming notes.

One teacher said another part of the program builds character and helps students feel they have a safe place. Most importantly, she said, is that if you’re happy, you learn more.

Since 1990, campuses across the country have experienced amazing outcomes with Capturing Kids’ Hearts tools and processes by creating socio-emotional safety conducive to learning. The Flippen Group provides educators the skills they need to change the trajectory of students’ lives. Openness replaces defensiveness. Judging and feelings of being judged are replaced with acceptance and real connectedness to the school. “Discipline problems nearly non-existent,” and “Academic achievement constantly improving,” are common feedback following Capturing Kids’ Hearts implementation.

Through the Capturing Kids’ Hearts National Showcase Schools awards, the Flippen Group recognizes and celebrates campuses that go the extra mile each day, building an environment where students and staff feel safe and connected. The Flippen Group believes unsung heroes who produce exemplary outcomes in schools and pave the way for other schools to follow, need and deserve recognition for a job well done.

Capturing Kids’ Hearts campuses across the country were considered for these awards based on the following criteria: 1) nomination based on observation, 2) level of implementation of Capturing Kids’ Hearts processes by all staff as measured by online surveys, and 3) data demonstrating that Capturing Kids’ Hearts has made a significant improvement in attendance, discipline, climate/culture, or academics.

A Flippen Group team visited each nominated campus to gather additional quantitative and qualitative data, and to interview students, teachers, administrators, and parents. They used a matrix of key measurements to gather information during the campus walk-through. Finally, an additional survey was conducted to collect feedback regarding the perceived climate and culture of the campus and its conduciveness to learning. Following this visit, the selection team reviewed all accumulated data and selected the campuses to receive the Capturing Kids’ Hearts National Showcase Schools awards.

The Flippen Group is proud to recognize these outstanding individuals who have dedicated themselves to making a difference in the lives of children.