Capturing Culture

In this blog series, Jeff Veal and Joshua Stamper will be taking a deeper look at the essential aspects of creating a healthy and effective campus culture. Part one of the series is written by Joshua Stamper.
When my family moved from California to Minnesota, we quickly learned that fishing, both during the summer and winter, was a large part of the state’s culture. Minnesota is full of lakes and state parks, and I had never experienced outdoor recreational activities. The first time my family went fishing on the St. Croix river was full of frustration. No matter what tactics I used, I couldn’t catch a thing outside of lake weeds and branches. The longer I didn’t catch a fish, the angrier and louder I became. Every so often, my mom or dad would come over and give me some advice and try to calm me down. By the end of the evening, tiredness and disappointment set in. I felt like a huge failure. On the way back to camp, I continued to ask my parents, “why didn’t I catch anything?” My par…

The Language of Behavior


In the Face of Trauma

My wife, Leslie, and I were foster parents for 5 years. During those years, we had a couple foster placements who were able to be reunified with their family, and three of our five children were adopted from foster care. I invited my wife to join me on this blog post to add her voice and perspective to the necessary awareness of meeting the educational and emotional needs of children who have been impacted by trauma.

A few weeks ago, 60 Minutes had a segment on the impact of trauma on children. An increasing amount of research, literature and media around trauma-informed care, trauma-informed classroom management, Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) and Adverse Childhood Experiences surveys (ACEs) has been made available to the public and incorporated into mainstream practices in pediatricians offices and school classrooms over recent years.

We've implemented trauma-informed care in our home for years, starting when we first became licensed as foster parents. Trauma-infor…

Repair: Relationship Restoration in Response to Student Decisions

“It’s relationships, not programs that change children...Young people thrive when adults care about them on a one-to-one level, and when they have a sense of belonging to a caring community.” -Bill Milliken
When I (Joshua) was an elementary student, I got into a fight with another student after gym class in the locker room. Our coach quickly broke us up and I was immediately sent to the principal’s office. The principal brought me into his office and told me that fighting wasn’t allowed in school. As my punishment, I missed recess for a week and I was required to write, “I will not fight at school” one thousand times. The principal and my coach never asked why I was involved in a fight or how we were going to fix the problem. The school identified a rule that was broken, responded with discipline and moved on.

Unfortunately, the teacher and the principal didn’t seek to uncover the issues that led to the fight. If they had asked, they would have discovered that after gym class, a clas…