On a daily basis, six connections with each student will be made by school district staff which affirm, encourage, compliment, and otherwise single out individual students for special attention constitute this initiative.
Introduced at the meeting of the Clover Park School District Board on the evening of February 22, Superintendent Ron Banner said that the idea behind “Give Six” is to create a culture and a climate for students to feel good and to be happy to be in Clover Park schools.
Grant Twyman, the district’s equity and inclusion manager, pointed out that during the 2019 – 2020 school year, the district held 11 listening sessions with high school and middle school students.
“A reoccurring theme of these sessions was that students wanted adults inside and outside the school district to see them, hear them, value them, and affirm their dignity,” he said.
From the time they step on the bus, to the time the bell rings at the end the school day – and likely some additional, individual time taken by the teachers with students after the school day ends – students will be treated like family.
The “Give Six” roll out is a refreshing change from a recent debacle when this same school board attempted to roll over one of its fellow board directors.
A number of articles about this nontransparent behavior have been featured in this publication.
What’s more, a national spotlight of scorn shone shamefully on the Clover Park School District and its indefensible and unexplained actions.
Perhaps there is a glimmer of hope here.
Then again, perhaps this is another example of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
During the “Give Six” discussion Banner was referring to an elementary school classroom where he had observed the interaction between a student and a teacher and was impressed by the exchange.
Using this as an example, Banner then said, “We’re trying to build that culture and climate where it’s OK to be wrong – to be human – because there’s learning that happens there, right?”
And what works for the classroom should work in the boardroom.
As to the personal, relational emphasis of “Give Six,” Banner referenced his own children and, in doing so, perhaps unknowingly helped listeners understand more what is meant by equity.
“What I do know,” Banner said, “is that each of my children needed something different. They were not exactly the same. I learned that it was important to our outcome to raising great children in the home and building and raising great children and the other 11,000 children I have here in the school district, it’s important to me.”
An article that recently appeared in this publication highlighted Banner’s philosophy with child development within his own family. Now “Give Six” will be implemented throughout the district.
Treating children – all children – each individual child, as family – as members of our own family – is that of which retired General Colin Powell wrote in the epilogue to his memoirs, My American Journey.
“A sense of shame is not a bad moral compass. I wonder where our national sense of shame has gone. How do we find our way again? How do we reestablish moral standards? How do we restore a sense of family to our national life?”
Powell, who with his wife Alma, created “America’s Promise” concluded, “what we have to do as a nation is we have to start thinking of America as a family.”
The “Give Six” bracelets to be worn by school personnel will be good reminders of what one student in the district said about her own appreciation of one of her teachers:
“I perform best in classrooms where the teacher prioritizes me more as a human more than an academic performer.”
The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own.