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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 classm…
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If I (Roman) go back to my experience as a student, I can vividly remember my experiences as a learner. I listened in class, I studied, filled out the assessment and got back my corrected copy. Based on the amount of red ink on my paper, I was ab…

Not the Only Way: Authentic vs. Compliant Learning

Not the Only Way: Authentic vs. Compliant Learning
“Authentic learning is not discovered in a textbook, but rather at the crossroads of contemporary societal issues and student passion.”- Aaron Duff
When I (Joshua) tell people that I am a middle school administrator, I usually get the same responses. “God bless you!” “I could never do that!” which eventually leads to, “Have schools and students changed much?”
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“A mentor empowers a person to see a possible future, and believe it can be obtained.” - Shawn Hitchcock
Throughout our lives, we have been guided, counseled, and advised through hardships, indecisiveness, and lack of direction.  During each stage of our education and our career, individuals such as coaches, teachers, professors, employers, pastors, or family friends have positively influenced the trajectory of our decisions. As educators, we have adopted the same practices by providing coaching, support, direction and advice with our students and staff.
1. Coaching -
Growing up as an athlete, my (Joshua’s) coaches challenged my abilities, allowed learning through mistakes, believed in my potential, and provided honest feedback. At the beginning of my senior year of high school, I had an extremely poor and disappointing soccer tryout. After the tryouts concluded, the varsity coach pulled me aside to explain that I didn’t make the cut. If I wanted to continue playing soccer, the only opti…

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"I believe everyone has a superhero inside them waiting to be discovered." - Unknown
Throughout my childhood, I was enamored with reading comic books, watching superhero cartoons, collecting superhero action figures and dressing up to save the world from destruction. The ideas and story lines of possessing extraordinary powers to rescue others, overcoming adversity and defeating evil was a concept I relished in. My love and passion for art originated from the depths of the amazingly drawn imaginary realms of fearless vigilantes, villainous aliens, and unstoppable mutants, which I desperately tried to recreate in my sketchbooks, loose pieces of paper, or class notes.

As my interest in art grew, I began to participate in every art class I could in school, which opened my eyes to a whole new world of materials, techniques, inspiration, and history. During the beginning of my high school career, I experienced a teacher who immediately captured my attention and challenged my effo…