Gordon Parks Academy named National Capturing Kids’ Hearts Showcase School
Gordon Parks Academy was one of 378 schools to receive the 2021-2022 Capturing Kids’ Hearts National Showcase Schools® award. They are the district’s first school to be named a showcase school.
Capturing Kids’ Hearts recognizes and celebrates schools that go the extra mile each day, creating the social-emotional safety on school campuses that is conducive to learning.
National Showcase Schools are chosen annually through a rigorous selection process that includes measuring key performance indicators, gathering campus data, and surveying staff and students. The results represent the implementation of CKH processes as well as the culture and climate at each school. Capturing Kids’ Hearts celebrates schools where educators are exceeding expectations and creating an environment where students feel safe, connected, and eager to learn.
At Gordon Parks, they instituted social contracts which outline expected behaviors within the school. When a guest enters a classroom, a student leader greets them, introduces themselves, and explains what the class is doing at that time. They then ask the guest to sign the class’ social contract, which is posted in a prominent place. Staff also have social contracts which are used in meetings and trainings.
Each morning, elementary classrooms have a “good thing” morning circle where students share the good things that have happened to them. In middle school, circles are held during advocacy.
“The circles help support the district’s implementation of restorative practice,” said Kennedy.
“This program was a culture-changing program for Gordon Parks,” said principal LaTonia Kennedy. “It helps schools develop a safe and caring environment for all school stakeholders — students, staff and the community.”