The CharacterStrong Podcast

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The CharacterStrong Podcast: Weekly conversations for anyone in education. CharacterStrong is an organization that provides curricula and trainings for schools internationally. Our trainings help educators infuse character and social-emotional learning into the daily fabric of any classroom or campus. Our curricula focus on character development in order to help students cultivate social-emotional skills, their emotional intelligence, and help them develop a stronger identity and purpose in school and in the world. For more information visit our website:


    • Sep 23, 2022 LATEST EPISODE
    • weekly NEW EPISODES
    • 15m AVG DURATION
    • 306 EPISODES

    4.9 from 407 ratings Listeners of The CharacterStrong Podcast that love the show mention: school culture, high impact, servant leadership, sel, social emotional, work in education, community building, character building, kraft, houston, drive to school, excited to continue listening, strong podcast, burden, ten minutes, educators, council, thank you john, curriculum, schools.

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    Latest episodes from The CharacterStrong Podcast

    The New PurposeFull People Update! - Julie Hinshaw

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 23, 2022 19:13

    Today our guest is Julie Hinshaw, Director of Elementary Education at CharacterStrong We talk to Julie about the new update to CharacterStrong's PreK-5th Grade curriculum PurposeFull People and how it has been expanded to better meet the needs of elementary schools. She outlines the 5 different activities that make up a week in the curriculum and some of the creative additions that have been added to help build core skills in students.

    MTSS And Implementation: Selecting Effective Practices - Cory Notestine

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 16, 2022 15:36

    Today our guest is Cory Notestine the Director of Continuous Improvement at CharacterStrong. We talk to Cory about selecting effective MTSS practices and he shares 3 reasons that even really good interventions fail. He overviews recency bias, treating the symptom vs the root cause, and choosing interventions that aren't well fitted for our environment. Cory also shares how readiness and buy-in are connected and how we may need to look at buy-in differently.

    Season 5 Kickoff: 3 Systems To Put In Place As We Start The Year - Houston Kraft

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 9, 2022 14:07

    CharacterStrong Co-Founders John Norlin and Houston Kraft kick of season 5 talking about systems that we can put in place this year that will help us drive forward the impactful work of education. They talk about 3 goals: purpose for learning, engagement, & relationships, and give practical ways we can build systems that will help these goals come to life in our classrooms.

    Empowering Others And Letting Them Shine - Dr. Sean Walker

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 2, 2022 14:53

    Today our guest is Dr. Sean Walker, Ex. Director of Secondary Schools and Leadership Development at Royse City ISD (Just outside Dallas TX). We talk to Sean about intentional ways we can empower our staff and students that can help them flourish. He shares how taking time to listen, getting feedback, and taking steps based on the feedback we receive can really impact the culture at our schools. Sean Walker began his career in education as an ELAR teacher after earning his bachelor's degree from Texas Tech University in 2003. He taught at the high school level for 7 years. During his time as a teacher, Walker served as a teacher in 3 different Texas districts. Upon the completion of his master's degree in Educational Administration from Texas A&M-Commerce, Walker began his administrative career in 2010 as an assistant principal at McKinney North High School in the McKinney ISD. While at McKinney North High School, he earned his doctorate in Educational Leadership from Lamar University.  After serving as an assistant principal for 5 years, Walker was hired as the principal of Royse City High School in the Royse City ISD in the spring of 2015. During his tenure at Royse City HS, the campus received several accolades and distinctions. These honors included Royse City HS being named a National Demonstration Campus in 2019, 2020, and 2021 for Capturing Kids' Hearts. In 2020 the campus was also recognized as a Texas College & Career Readiness Schools designated campus. In January of 2021 Walker was named the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals High School Principal of the Year. This award was in recognition of Walker's final year as campus principal at Royse City High School in 2020-2021.

    Reframing Negative School Experiences Into Positive Learning - Marianne Matt

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 26, 2022 12:09

    Today our guest is Marianne Matt (Mott), School Counselor, at Capital High, in the Madison Metropolitan School District We talk to Marianne about the importance of building students up and helping them to see the strengths in their personal experiences. She shares how in order to shift student mindsets we need to have staff members who believe in students and are committed to help them connect their strengths to school. Marianne Matt is a high school counselor who works and resides in Madison, WI with her family. Marianne was named a finalist for National School Counselor of the Year 2022 by ASCA (American School Counselor Association). In her free time she enjoys gardening, camping, and generally getting outside and into nature.  

    3 Practical Strategies To Start The Year - John Norlin

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 19, 2022 11:14

    CharacterStrong Co-Founder John Norlin shares 3 practical strategies that educators can use right now as we start off the school year. He shares how to intentionally implement the Temperature Check, the Student Becomes the Teacher, and True Story Friday with students.

    Positive Relationship Building and Creating Unforgettable Moments - Adam Lane

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 12, 2022 16:09

    Today our guest is Adam Lane, Principal at Haines City HS, and the 2022 NASSP Florida Principal of the Year. We talk to Adam about how he has approached building awesome environments where students want to go to school and teachers want to come and teach. He also shares how he has shifted his mentality and created an alumni pipeline to help fill staffing needs. Adam Lane has worked in K-12 public education since 1995. Fourteen of these years at the high school level, eight years at the middle school level and one year at the elementary level. In that time, he has held various positions, including, teacher, department head, athletic coach, athletic trainer, athletic director, assistant principal, International Baccalaureate coordinator and principal. Currently, as principal at Haines City High School and Haines City International Baccalaureate, he serves a school with 3,000 students, 245 staff members and 6 assistant principals. The school includes an International Baccalaureate Program, a Junior Reserve Officer Training Core, The Environmental Agriculture & Technology Academy, The Academy of Media Production, The Academy of Children's Educational Studies, The Visual Arts Pathway and The Performing Arts Pathway. Over the last six years, discipline referrals have decreased by 40% and the graduation rate has increased by 21%. He believes the key to success is in utilizing decision making, relationship building and positive behavior to create an unforgettable experience, while improving staff effectiveness and raising student achievement!

    Multi-Tiered Systems of Support - Dr. Clayton Cook

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 5, 2022 12:47

    Today our guest is CharacterStrong's Chief Development Officer, Dr. Clayton Cook. We talk to Clay about where Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) has come from, and why it is so important for students today. He also shares some of the roadblocks that get in the way of successful MTSS, why effective teaming is essential, and how CharacterStrong is supporting this work.

    Servant Leadership Through An Elementary Lens - Julie Hannan & Brett McDaniel

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 29, 2022 16:27

    Today our guests are 5th Grade Teacher Julie Hannan, & Administrator Brett McDaniel from the Sumner-Bonney Lake School District. We talk to Julie & Brett about the ways that they have worked to develop servant leaders in the 5th grade classes at their elementary school. Julie shares how from the beginning of the leadership program they have invited all of the 5th grade students to participate, and how this has changed the way that students think about what leadership is. As an administrator, Brett shares about the positive ways that this program has had an impact across all areas in the school. Julie Hannan is a Washington State native who will begin her 19th year of teaching this fall. In this time, she has had the pleasure of teaching and learning alongside students from many countries, cultures, and backgrounds. Most of her experience has been in middle school, but Julie transitioned to upper elementary in 2018 and is loving it! Partnering with her administration, colleagues, and community to facilitate an environment of servant leadership and growing student leaders is her favorite part of the job!  Julie has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Law & Justice, a Master's Degree in Teaching, and has been National Board Certified since 2008.  She mentors new teachers, facilitates National Board Candidate cohorts, and has served in many leadership and coaching capacities.  In her spare time you will find Julie with her husband Dave and their 2 dogs, Kyle and Sage.

    Impacting Teachers, Developing Students, & Partnering With Our Communities - Jamie Brown

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 22, 2022 18:22

    Today our guest is Jamie Brown, Assistant Principal at Bluffton High School in South Carolina. We talk to Jamie about the importance of blending SEL w/ Character Ed to build the Whole Teacher, so you can develop the Whole Child, and then in turn, partner with the Whole Community. He also shares ways that we can continue to remix the soundtrack of education by putting a focus on relationships. A champion of Social-Emotional Learning & Character Education, Jamie's dedication to School Culture Revitalization and Whole Child Development supported NJ Public Education for 20 years as a teacher, PEER Leadership Coordinator and district administrator. He is an author with Road to Awesome Publishing, speaker, coach and promoter of empathy and inclusion among educators, students and the community. Jamie is the founder of Accept University, a presentation series promoting inclusion and empathy in schools, which earned a National Promising Practice from Residing in the Hilton Head Island area, Jamie is the proud Assistant Principal at Bluffton High School, SC.

    Using School-Wide Assemblies To Improve School Culture And Climate - Justin Bradford

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 15, 2022 16:08

    Today our guest is Justin Bradford, Superintendent, of Prescott School District in WA state. We talk to Justin about how he has used school wide assemblies to shape the culture and climate with students from Pk-12th grade. His motto of “We get what we honor” has created some big positive changes with students and staff. Justin also gives some helpful tips on how to communicate and lead staff through effective implementation of a school wide initiative. Justin Bradford just finished his 32nd year in education. He started as an elementary teaching assistant in the Los Angeles Unified School District, then became a special education teacher, working primarily with students with emotional and behavioral disabilities and mental health challenges. Justin has taught general education classes and university classes, as well. He has worked in small, private schools and large, public schools in California and Washington and has also been a bus driver, a paraprofessional, a teacher, a dean, a behavior specialist, a special education director, a principal and a superintendent. Justin is currently the superintendent in Prescott, WA – a small, rural P-12 school in southeastern Washington, with about 250 students. He has a BA in Political Science, a specialist teaching certificate, a principal certificate and a Masters in Educational Leadership.

    We Need To Be Reminded More Than Taught: 3 Stories From The Work - John Norlin

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 8, 2022 21:42

    In this episode, CharacterStrong Co-Founder John Norlin shares 3 powerful stories from the work. Through these stories he reminds us of the importance of understanding the Law of the Lid, that there is always a reason for every behavior, and that even though this work is hard it is worth it. 

    Personalized Learning: Flex time for Student & Staff Success - Dr. Andrew McMillan

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 1, 2022 17:09

    We talk to Dr. McMillan about the importance of staying student centered and how based on student voice, they have modified a period each day to create space for student choice. He shares about the impact that asking for input from students and staff can have on in building culture, and gives practical ways that they intentionally invest in staff culture at Chapman. Growing up in a home with parents who were educators, Dr. Andrew McMillan knew education was in his blood. Identifying education as his career path in third grade, Dr. McMillan is now an accomplished educator with seventeen years of experience including ten years of administrative experience in grades K-12. Known as a well-respected and collaborative team member, Dr. McMillan has a reputation for promoting fairness, integrity, and honesty, while maintaining a strong work ethic to motivate faculty, staff, and students to achieve their maximum potential within an ever-changing education environment. Dr. McMillan's core values are simple: love kids, be professional, and lead a school the community is proud of. Within those core values, Dr. McMillan fosters an environment at Chapman High School that supports the Profile of the SC Graduate, preparing students for life after high school in what he calls the 4 E's: serving their community as an Entrepreneur, Enrolled in a two or four year college or technical program, Enlisted in military service, or graduating as an Employable adult in a competitive, 21st century global economy. Named an Emerging Leader by the SCASCD, Dr. McMillan was also selected as the 2019 Outstanding Principal of the Year by the South Carolina Art Education Association. A firm believer in the importance of academics, arts, and athletics, Dr. McMillan currently serves as the South Carolina High School League Class AAA President. Additionally, under his leadership, Chapman High School was named a 2020 National Blue Ribbon School, recognized as an Exemplary High Performing School. Dr. McMillan and his wife, Dr. Shelly McMillan, have one son, Ellis, who is 3.

    The Power Of Finding Joy Inside Of Our Work - Ryan Marshall

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 24, 2022 16:30

    Today our guest is Ryan Marshall, Lead Counselor, at South Salem High School, and the 2021 Oregon School Counselor of the Year. We talk to Ryan about the power of finding joy inside our work and he gives 3 steps to help us intentionally do this: 1. Knowing Thyself, 2. Building opportunities into our work schedule, and 3. Go and Do it. Ryan Marshall just wrapped his 9th year as a school counselor, 7th at South Salem High School in Salem, Oregon where he's served as the department lead. South is a three-time ASCA Ramp school and a home Ryan considers the kindest school in America. His focus areas are grief and loss counseling, crisis management, and suicide prevention and intervention. When he's done finding joy on the job for the day, Ryan's an avid sports fan - Go Ducks! - and loves hanging out with his wife and two daughters. He's the 2021 Oregon School Counselor of the Year and is currently headed into a yearlong Sabbatical aimed at identifying ways to serve students and their families more effectively.

    How Schools Can Best Utilize School Counselors - Dr. Julie Hartline

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 17, 2022 20:06

    Today our guest is Dr. Julie Hartline, Associate Director of Professional Learning for Hatching Results and 2009 ASCA School Counselor of the Year. We talk to Dr. Hartline about the impact that school counselors can have and the need for admin and staff to understand how school counselors can support staff and students. She also shares resources that can help bring more awareness and education when it comes to the important role that school counselors have in our schools. Dr. Hartline became a teacher and then school counselor after discovering as a parole officer that over 85% of her caseload had not completed high school. Julie served as the Campbell High School counseling department chair for 14 years where her department became the first high school in Georgia to be designated as a Recognized ASCA Model Program (RAMP) for having a comprehensive, data-driven school counseling program by the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) in 2008. She served as the Cobb School Counselor Association President in 2009-2010 and was named the 2009 ASCA School Counselor of the Year. She earned her doctorate in Professional Counseling and Supervision in 2011. In 2012, Julie transitioned to the Cobb County School District where she helped supervise K-12 school counselors for five years, serving as the 2014-2015 Georgia School Counselor Association President during that time. She became a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of North Florida in 2017 before joining Hatching Results in a more dedicated role as the Associate Director of Professional Learning. She is the co-author of The Use of Data in School Counseling, second edition.

    The Importance Of Purpose - Dan Wolfe

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 10, 2022 16:38

    Today our guest is Dan Wolfe an Assistant Principal at Sunray Elementary. We talk to Dan about the importance of purpose and how being connected to our purpose is so needed today. He shares how finding our purpose isn't a destination, it's a journey and gives ways that we can help others put a focus on purpose in their own lives. Dan Wolfe has served as an educator in Pasco County, Florida for more than 20 years. During this time, he has held roles as a teacher, instructional/district coach and administrator. He is currently an Assistant Principal at Sunray Elementary. He was selected as Pasco County's District Teacher of the Year in 2011-2012 school year. He is a part of the district's Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Committee that recently established Pre-K through Grade 12 SEL standards. For the past two years Dan has written a blog and recorded a podcast called Becoming The Change (formerly Our Moral Compass) which focuses on a different quote each day and how we can best apply it towards becoming the change through our own moral compass and the five areas in SEL.

    Creatively Helping To Meet Student Needs - Becky Arway

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 3, 2022 13:26

    Today our guest is Becky Arway a School Counselor, STUCO Advisor, at Polo R-VII Schools We talk to Becky about the intentional partnership that she has together with her principal, and how this has led to some really creative outcomes that support students. She shares about the Book in a Bag resource library and the impact that this has had in their school and community. Becky Arway has been a school counselor at Polo R-VII Schools in Polo, Missouri for the past twelve years. Through her work as a school counselor, Becky strives to be an advocate for all of her students, their families and support systems. Working in a rural school district has granted Becky many opportunities to connect with community resources in order to help meet the increasing needs within her school building. One of her most important relationships is the working relationship she has built with her elementary principal. Their brainstorming sessions have resulted in some amazing outcomes, one of their most favorite being the Book in a Bag resources. Becky has served on her regional school counseling association (Northwest Missouri School Counselor Association), her state level association (Missouri School Counselor Association) and is also a member of the American School Counseling Association. She serves on various local committees working to serve the student's and families of her school district. Becky and her husband have two children, who keep them on their toes, and two dogs!

    Focusing On The Whole Child

    Play Episode Listen Later May 27, 2022 9:45

    CharacterStrong Co-Founder John Norlin shares an experience from a past training, and talks about why we can't wait to infuse social & emotional learning and character development into the daily fabric of our schools.

    School Counselors: Impacting Student Achievement Within Our Schools - Angela Shanahan & Karen Devine

    Play Episode Listen Later May 20, 2022 17:12

    Today our guests are Angela Shanahan & Karen Devine, School Counselors in Chicago Public Schools. We talk about the impact that comprehensive, data-informed school counseling programs have with students at their schools and across the district. They also share what they have learned leading schools thru the Recognized ASCA Model Program process, and the impact and benefits of becoming RAMP recognized. Angela Shanahan is a school counselor in a neighborhood high school in Chicago Public Schools (CPS) with experience at the middle school, high school and district level. It was during her CPS internship in 2011 that she was first introduced to the Recognized ASCA Model Program (RAMP) application process, with the high school receiving the award. Then after transitioning to a middle school and getting a few years under her belt, she decided to RAMP again. Through these experiences, Angela was able to network with counselors from other schools and better understand the impact we can make at a district level.  Angela has been an ASCA RAMP reviewer for over four years and works as a Co-RAMP Coordinator for Chicago Public Schools with Karen Devine. In their second year as coordinators, they streamlined the supports for schools in their RAMP pipeline. Angela is also an adjunct professor at her alma-mata, Loyola University Chicago, where she teaches Foundations of School Counseling to first year graduate students. During her spare time, she enjoys being active and spending time with her husband and three young children. Today our guests are Angela Shanahan & Karen Devine, School Counselors in Chicago Public Schools. We talk about the impact that comprehensive, data-informed school counseling programs have with students at their schools and across the district. They also share what they have learned leading schools thru the Recognized ASCA Model Program process, and the impact and benefits of becoming RAMP recognized. Karen Devine has been a passionate teacher, counselor, coach, and district leader in the Chicago Public Schools for 30 years. She leads with the mantra, “be gentle with your children, for they will teach their children”, which she has written on a cloth embroidered by her Grandmother. While working as a high school counselor in the second most-populated school in the district, Karen has been able to transform the school counseling program to provide equitable access for students with long-term, successful results. In addition to being a practicing high school counselor, and leading her school through its fourth RAMP application, Karen also serves as the District's Co-RAMP Coordinator with Angela Shanahan. Through innovative Tier 1, 2, and 3 practices, along with a cultivated resource guide, Karen has helped the District revitalize counseling programs at both the elementary and high school levels. Karen and Angela have presented about their work at the district, state, and national levels. As a running coach and yoga instructor, Karen emphasizes the mind/body connection within her counseling philosophy. Through creative drills, movement, walk-and-talk, and art therapy, students learn to be a proactive partner in realizing their potential.

    The Impact Of Middle School & High School Activities - Petra Davis-Johnson

    Play Episode Listen Later May 13, 2022 16:54

    Today our guest is Petra Davis, Activities Director for Tesoro High school in Las Flores, CA. We talk to Petra about the lessons that she has learned going from being an advisor at a middle school to being at a high school, while also at the same time walking alongside students during COVID. Petra also shares some of the realities of where students are at today and the intentionality that is needed in project based learning to best serve Petra Davis-Johnson, has been an educator for 31 years.  She taught middle school science for 29 years before moving into her current administrative position, serving as the Activities Director for Tesoro High school in Las Flores, CA for the past two years.   At the middle school level, Petra spent 23 years as the activities director for Las Flores Middle School.  Her middle school students fed into the same high school where she is now, providing both Petra and the students some familiarity as they embarked on their new high school adventure in the time of COVID.   During her transition from middle to high school, she was named the 2021 Warren E. Shull Middle Level Advisor of the year for her work in fostering student leadership development.

    Culturally Sustaining Connections - Laura Ross

    Play Episode Listen Later May 6, 2022 17:24

    Today our guest is Laura Ross, Middle School Counselor & 2020 American School Counselor Association (ASCA) School Counselor of the Year. We talk to Laura about the importance of authentic, culturally sustaining connections with students and that it starts with building awareness first and then taking the intentional action steps needed to build true authentic connection. Laura Ross is the lead counselor at Five Forks Middle School in Lawrenceville, Georgia where her focus is connecting with students to connect them to their education. She has been a school counselor for almost 16 years. Laura was an elementary school counselor for 8 years and is in her 8th year as a middle school counselor. She has presented at district, state, and national levels on creating school wide teacher-student connections, integrating academics into counseling lessons, using technology and data in school counseling, creating counseling lessons with a social justice and equity lens, and more. Laura's school counseling blog about creating connections with students at, will be back from hiatus in 2022 along with a brand new YouTube channel. Laura was the 2020 American School Counselor Association (ASCA) School Counselor of the Year. She serves on the Georgia School Counselor Association (GSCA) Executive Board as President-Elect and is a leader in her school district, Gwinnett County Public Schools, collaborating on committees with focuses on middle school counselor professional development, civic engagement, social-emotional learning, teen lures curriculum, student discipline, and equity. She is also a Counselors for Computing consultant and Girl Talk DEI Committee member. Connect with Laura on Twitter: @LRossSchCnslr

    The Power Of School Connectedness: Bringing All Students, Staff, And Parents Together To Achieve Goals - Ashley Wright

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 29, 2022 20:33

    Today our guest is Ashley Wright an Elementary School Counselor at Lucille J. Bradley Elementary, in Spring Texas. We talk to Ashley about school connectedness and the transformation that it can have in our schools when we all work together. Ashley talks about the importance of relationships and shares that even though we have differences when we come to the table with families it can have a huge impact in the lives of the students we serve.   Born and raised in Houston, TX, Ashley Wright went through undergraduate studies as an Education Major at Sam Houston State University as well graduate studies as a Professional School Counselor and Licensed Professional Counselor. She currently serves as an elementary school counselor in Conroe ISD at Lucille J. Bradley Elementary. She has been an educator for the past 13 years and a school counselor for the past 4 years. Ashley was recently awarded as a 2022 American School Counselor Association School Counselor of the Year Finalist. Ashley Wright teaches students to accept diversity, increase their self-esteem, build character, and maintain resilience. Ashley continues to implement a diverse comprehensive counseling program that is dedicated to meeting the needs of her students, staff, and the community. From weekly counseling lessons, student leadership opportunities, parent education shows, and student achievement awards, Ashley brings enthusiasm and campus engagement throughout the entire school year. As an advocate for the school counseling profession, Ashley has also presented several national webinars with the national WhyTry program and Region Education Centers with counseling program implementation ideas, tools, and strategies to increase student attendance and engagement, and school counselor self-care. Overall, Ashley continues to influence other professional school counselors in their role and strives to create change in our education system

    Meeting Students Right Where They Are At - Hillary Craw

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 22, 2022 16:15

    We talk to Hillary about blended learning programs and how this hybrid classroom helps to meet the different needs of students. She talks about some of the struggles that students are facing in this season and gives a few ways that they are helping students re-engage in relationships. Hillary also shares how teachers are creatively using CharacterStrong lessons during shorter one-on-one check-ins with students. Hilary Craw has been a school counselor with Redlands eAcademy in Redlands Unified School District for the past six and a half years. Before that, she worked as a school counselor for Redlands High school in Redlands Unified from 2008-2010, as an Admissions Counselor for University of Redlands from 2011-2013, and as the Hospital Outreach Manager for The Painted Turtle, a camp for kids with serious medical conditions, from 2013-2015. Through her work as a school counselor and also her volunteer work as a camp counselor with The Painted Turtle and Camp Good Grief, Hilary has cemented her belief that each child matters, is important and has the ability to contribute, no matter what challenges, setbacks, diagnoses, or struggles they face. But in order to do this, they need to be seen and heard by their peers and the important adults in their lives. She also believes wholeheartedly in the power of laughter and humor to heal and to connect with others. Hilary's favorite day is when a student seeks her out to share a pun or a joke with her. In fact, Hilary means cheerful and she always tries to live up to that.

    Consistently Creating Common Language And Visuals - Allison Dungan

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 15, 2022 14:59

    We talk to Allison about the different ways that she has been helping implement PurposeFull People with the students and staff at her school. She shares the practical ways that she has used the PurposeFull People posters, pictures, and character trait definitions to help create common language with students. Allison also shares how she has helped created space for students to have ongoing conversations about character. After 14 years as a classroom teacher, Allison is a proud first year school counselor! She has had the honor to serve PreK through 3rd grade students across two campuses in Robinson, Texas just outside of Waco. Allison began her career in education in 2007 upon receiving a Bachelor's Degree from Baylor University. While she loved being a teacher, she always knew her heart was beyond the classroom. In 2018 Allison earned a Master's of Education in School Counseling from Tarleton State University, and in 2021, Allison joined the school counseling profession. It is her goal as a school counselor to see the good in every person and situation. Her hope for students and staff is to know their value by developing and facilitating positive relationships and experiences. Outside of school, Allison enjoys baking, traveling, and spending time outdoors with her husband of 10 years and their seven year old daughter.

    Your Voice Is Needed: State Level School Counselor Leadership - Matthew McClain

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 8, 2022 16:50

    We talk to Matthew about how he got involved with his state school counselors association and the different ways that getting involved can impact us, the schools we serve, and the states where we live. He also talks about the importance of building connections, especially being in the role of school counselor.   Matthew McClain has been a school counselor in rural Northeast Colorado since 2005. He spent 10 years counseling at the 5th and 6th grade level, then spent 6 years at the high school level, and is currently at the elementary level (grades 1-5). Prior to school counseling, he was a reporting analyst and worked in the telecommunications field. He has also been the Executive Director for the Colorado School Counselor Association (CSCA) since November of 2017. He and his wife of 24 years have 3 beautiful children. Matthew has been involved with the American School Counselor Association(ASCA) and CSCA since 2008 serving on various committees and roles including CSCA conference chair, CSCA Elementary VP, CSCA President, CSCA Public Relations Chair, ASCA conference selection committee, and ASCA State Bylaw Review committee chair. He has presented on various topics including getting involved in state school counselor associations, how to be situationally aware both personally and professionally,  how to be a leader, and leading social emotional groups. He is passionate about relationships, connections, school counselors, leadership,  and clinical school counselor supervision.

    All Leaders Need To Understand The Social And Emotional Needs Of Students - Dr. Rena Frasco

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 1, 2022 19:55

    We talk to Dr. Frasco about the importance of having all leaders understand the social and emotional needs of students. She shares about the need for leaders to have consistent conversations about a school's core values, the need to intentionally teach them, and have them impact our small and big decisions. Dr. Frasco also reminds us that everyone has a story and as leaders, we need to take the time to listen. Dr. Rena Frasco is in her 20th year with Morgan County School District Re-3 in northeastern Colorado. She currently serves as the Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment. Dr. Frasco is very passionate about serving her rural, diverse community! She is married to a wonderful husband, Mark, and they have 2 beautiful daughters, Kristen and Leia.

    10 Steps To Develop Great Learners - Dr. John Hattie

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 25, 2022 20:05

    Today our guest is Dr. John Hattie, the Director of the Melbourne Educational Research Institute at the University of Melbourne, Australia. Dr. Hattie is also the author of Visible Learning and Visible Learning for Teachers, the result of 15 years of research. On this episode we talk about 10 Steps To Develop Great Learners: Visible Learning For Parents, Dr. Hattie's newest book that he wrote with his son Kyle. Dr. Hattie also shares some of the mindframes that can help all of us that work with students.   Professor John Hattie is a renowned researcher in education. His research interests include performance indicators, models of measurement and evaluation of teaching and learning. John Hattie became known to a wider public with the publication of his two books, Visible Learning and Visible Learning for Teachers, the result of 15 years of research. The books are a synthesis of more than 800 meta-studies covering more than 80 million students. The Visible Learning series has sold more than 1.5 million copies, and has been translated into 29 different languages. TES once called John “possibly the world's most influential education academic.” He has been Director of the Melbourne Educational Research Institute at the University of Melbourne, Australia, since March 2011. Before, he was Project Director of asTTle and Professor of Education at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. He holds a PhD from the University of Toronto, Canada. You can find a full CV of Professor John Hattie (PDF) at the website of the University of Auckland. Kyle Hattie is a Year 6 Teacher working in a Primary School in the Northern Suburbs of Melbourne, Australia. Over his 10-year career, he has taught at many year levels, from Prep to Year 6 in both Australia and New Zealand. Kyle has held various leadership titles and has a passion for understanding how students become learners.

    How Adventure Education Can Positively Impact Students - Phil Brown

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 18, 2022 23:35

    We talk to Phil about what Adventure Education is and how it is both novel and can involve some risk. He describes the experiential learning cycle and talks about the power of having a shared experience. Phil also gives practical ways we can use experiential learning strategies in our classrooms that can amplify learning for students. Phil Brown, originally from England, joined the High 5 team in May 2015 having previously worked in Adventure and Outdoor education for 7 years. Phil brings high energy and devotion to the Adventure field and has presented at many national and international conferences on the subject of Adventure learning. He is also one of the co-authors of the book “Tinker: Building Purposeful Experiences from Classic Adventure Activities” and the producer/host of “Vertical Playpen” – the podcast all about Adventure and Experiential Education.

    Rapid Innovation Cycles And The Use Of Implementation Science For Embedding SEL - Cory Notestine

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 11, 2022 19:46

    Today our guest is Cory Notestine the Executive Director of Student Success and Wellness for Colorado Springs School District 11. We talk to Cory about a concept known as rapid innovation cycles, which contribute to educational progress while fighting a failure-to-launch mentality.   Cory Notestine serves as the Executive Director of Student Success and Wellness for Colorado Springs School District 11 (D11) an urban district of 25,000 students. In this role, Cory has implemented and developed a district-wide Comprehensive Student Support Model that integrates SEL practices, Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS), Restorative Practice with a focus on Trauma Responsive classrooms. Additionally, he oversees the work of School Nurses, Discipline and Attendance, Homebound and Extended Learning, Homeless Youth, MTSS, Counseling Services, and the development of a Community Based Health Center. Currently, he is serving as D11's COVID Incident Commander and supporting the district's response and services provided across the school community during these challenging times.     Before his role with CSSD11, Cory served 7 years as a school counselor in both urban and rural settings in North Carolina and Colorado.  Through collaborative efforts and cooperative leadership, he developed two Recognized American School Counselor Association (ASCA) Model Programs that have led to increased student outcomes.      His work with students has been honored by the North Carolina School Counselor Association, and the Colorado School Counselor Association, as Secondary School Counselor of the Year's in 2011 and 2013. The American School Counselor Association along with the White House recognized him as the 2015 National School Counselor of the Year.      Cory has provided instruction and supervision as an Adjunct Instructor in the Counseling and Human Services Department at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs and Counselor Education at Adams State University and has received degrees from the University of Kentucky in Psychology and from Gonzaga University where he completed his Masters in School Counseling. Cory is the Past President of the Colorado School Counselor Association and served as the Chair of the Governing Board of Directors for the American School Counselor Association. His passion for creating systemic change and counselor advocacy continues to drive his work in the profession of school counseling and educational leadership.

    Finding Our Purpose And Modeling That For Students - Christi Sturgeon

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 4, 2022 21:34

    Today our guest is Christi Sturgeon a School Counselor at Broken Arrow High School and is Oklahoma School Counselor of the Year for 2021-22. We talk to Christi about how important it is to find our purpose and how we can stretch ourselves and model that for students. She shares 7 things that we can do to help students focus on looking forward, and some of the ways that this can have an impact.   Christi graduated from Oklahoma Baptist University with a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology followed by a Master's Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. She is currently both a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and a Certified School Counselor.  She started her career in community mental health working at the former Shadow Mountain Hospital as the Assistant Director of Therapeutic Foster Care Services, but quickly learned that the way to really impact children and families early on was by working in the school setting.  Christi is currently serving as a School Counselor in Broken Arrow Public Schools and is in her 25th year.  She was the Lead Elementary Counselor In Broken Arrow prior to moving to the high school and has been recognized by the Oklahoma School Counselor Association as the Emerging Leader Grant Winner (2018) and the Oklahoma School Counselor of the Year for 2021-22.  Christi is passionate about serving her students and helping them prepare for the next stage of life.  She is a strong advocate for school counseling best practice not only in her district but across the state as well through her service on the former Superintendent's Counselor Advisory Council and now as Treasurer and President-Elect of the Oklahoma School Counselor Association.  When she isn't busy with work, you can find her teaching Sunday School or attending band contests as a proud former Broken Arrow Pride Band Mom!

    Building Strong Character Through A Positive Behavior Support System - Barb Micucci

    Play Episode Listen Later Feb 25, 2022 17:05

    Today our guest is Barb Micucci, Barb is a recently retired elementary school counselor and was the 2010 ASCA School Counselor of the Year. We talk to Barb about the importance of school-wide SEL programming as we support all students & the impact that can happen when all staff has a common language. She shares how setting the tone right at the beginning of the day helps shape the climate in our classrooms, and why character ed is so important right now.   Barb Micucci has been an educator for 41 years. She began her career as a special education teacher before becoming a school counselor. Her school counseling career began in 1986 in the Philadelphia School District and she spent the past 23 years in the Upper Merion Area School District. Barb was the 2010 ASCA School Counselor of the Year. Her school received RAMP recognition in 2017. She has served in various capacities on her local, state, and national association, serving on the ASCA board. Barb has frequently presented at state and national conferences on a variety of topics. She was an adjunct professor at Arcadia University and the University of Pennsylvania. She has spent her adult life advocating on behalf of her students and their families. She recently retired in June of 2021.

    How COVID Has Impacted Student Behavior - Dr. Clayton Cook

    Play Episode Listen Later Feb 18, 2022 16:00

    We talk to Dr. Cook about ways that the pandemic has impacted students and how we can leverage the science around human behavior to help promote student success. He outlines effective methods of behavior change, and gives practical, low burden, high impact strategies that we can use right now as we serve students.

    Building Trust As Leaders - Melvin J. Fields Jr.

    Play Episode Listen Later Feb 10, 2022 16:59

    We are celebrating National School Counseling Week! On todays episode Melvin shares about the importance of building trust and relationships with our students and colleagues. He also talks about how he got started with the WA State Counselors Association, and highlights the importance of showing up and providing opportunities for others. Melvin J. Fields Jr., certified School Counselor at Yelm Middle School in Yelm, Washington is current President of the Washington School Counselor Association (WSCA) for 2021 – 2022. He is the Washington School Counselor Association's 55th president and the first African American to serve in that position. The organizational mission of WSCA is promoting best practices in, and advocates for, Professional School counseling.Their vision is to further develop Professional School Counselors expertise by providing leadership and professional development that promotes positive student outcomes in the areas of Academic Support, Career Planning, and Personal/Social Development, thereby enhancing achievement for every student. Melvin is also an Adjunct Professor and teaches Diversity in Education at Saint Martin's University in Lacey, WA. He is a second year Leadership Studies doctoral student and also pursuing a certificate in Higher Education and Student Affairs from Saint Martin's University, where he also earned his School Counselor certification. He previously earned a Master's Degree in Organization Management from Webster University and Bachelor's of Arts Degree from Troy University. Melvin retired as a Command Sergeant Major in 2015, serving 27 years and three combat tours in the U.S. Army, where he earned the Bronze Star and Legion of Merit. Melvin has been married for the past 33 years to the former Tamela Marie Clemons, they have two children, Alanté and Camerin. Melvin is the son of Denyvetta Davis and Melvin J. Fields Sr. The theme for this year's presidential team is, COURAGE-COMMITMENT-COMMUNITY and he is humbled by this awesome opportunity to positively impact students and serve others.

    Supporting Staff, Students, Parents, And Our Communities - Monica Bryant

    Play Episode Listen Later Feb 9, 2022 17:52

    We are celebrating National School Counseling Week! We talk with Monica about the many ways that she serves the families, staff, and students at her school. She also shares about the benefits of having a comprehensive counseling program and talks about how collaboration & relationships in the community help support the work in schools.   Monica Bryant has been an elementary school counselor for 7 years and is in her 12th year in education. She is passionate about cultural competency, advocacy, and creating equitable environments in school settings. She is always looking for ways to spread knowledge and awareness to others on issues surrounding inequities in schools. Monica is very active in the community as a board member for Clark Country Education Association, president of the Nevada School Counselor Association, and member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated. In her free time, Monica likes to craft, bake, and watch crime shows.

    The Impact Of Student Advocacy - Roberto Aguilar

    Play Episode Listen Later Feb 8, 2022 14:55

    We are celebrating National School Counseling Week! We talk with Roberto about ways that he builds great relationships at Milwaukie HS, and the role that authenticity plays in those relationships. He also shares about the impact that student affinity groups have had and how they started them. Roberto Aguilar is a proud, native eastern Oregonian, Latinx/Chicano, "Spanglish" bilingual, first-generation college graduate, and a school counselor for the past 20 years at Milwaukie HS located in southeast Portland, Oregon. Roberto has been recognized as the 2017 Oregon School Counselor Association school counselor of the year and was a national finalist for the 2019 American School Counselor Association school counselor of the year award. Roberto also serves as the current Oregon School Counselor Association President for the 2021-22 school year.

    School Counselors Are An Integral Part Of The Total Education System - Kat Pastor

    Play Episode Listen Later Feb 7, 2022 16:35

    We are celebrating National School Counseling Week! We talk with Kat about the critical role that counselors play in our schools. She shares about the importance of advocating for school counseling, and overviews ways that CharacterStrong is helping to celebrate all of the counselors in our schools.

    Introducing Dr. Clayton Cook!

    Play Episode Listen Later Feb 4, 2022 19:03

    We talk with Dr. Clayton Cook about his new role at CharacterStrong and he shares why implementation is needed today now more than ever. Dr. Cook also talks about ways the CharacterStrong team is partnering with schools, and he gives 3 practical implementation steps that schools can do right now.

    Including Student Voice And Student Choice In Our Classrooms - Sonjanita Moore

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 28, 2022 15:19

    Today our guest is Sonjanita Moore, a Secondary Specialist here at CharacterStrong. We talk with Sonjanita about the need for including student voice and student choice in our classrooms. She also shares how community agreements are one way that we can include students, and gives examples of impact that came from creating space for students to share.

    5 Strategies For Keeping Community Agreements Going In Your Classroom - Julie Hinshaw

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 21, 2022 17:11

    Today our guest is Julie Hinshaw, the Director of K-12 Curriculum for CharacterStrong. On this episode we talk to Julie about community agreements. She shares about what community agreements are, why they are important, and gives 5 ways that we can help keep them fresh for our students.

    Reflecting & Refocusing To Start The Year - Houston Kraft

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 14, 2022 22:35

    We reflect with CharacterStrong Co-Founder Houston Kraft about things that are going on in education, and how disappointment is the result of unmet expectations. Houston also shares how we can be proactive with the time that we have, and gives 3 strategies that put a focus on well-being.

    Community Ready: Going Beyond Helping Students To Be College And Career Ready - John Salovardos

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 7, 2022 18:09

    Today our guest is Dr. John Salovardos. Dr. Salovardos is the Director of Pupil Services in the Athol-Royalston Regional School District, in Athol-Royalston, Massachusetts. He has been working in special education in public schools for the past 23 years. We talk with Dr. Salovardos about ways that we can help all students feel connected at school, and how we can help students to thrive in our communities after high school.

    Top 6 Episodes Of 2021: #1 - The Role Of Student Leadership In Our Schools - Houston Kraft & Don Bartel

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 31, 2021 17:33

    John talks with CharacterStrong Co-Founder Houston Kraft & Team Member Don Bartel about the recent CharacterStrong leadership conference, and the role and impact that student leadership has in school culture & climate.

    Top 6 Episodes Of 2021: #2 - The 7 Teachable Traits Of Thrivers - Dr. Michelle Borba

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 30, 2021 16:18

    Michele Borba, Ed.D. is an internationally-recognized educator who has spoken to over one million parents and educators. She is recognized for her solution-based strategies on raising resilient kids, and has appeared over 150 times on the TODAY show and featured in New York Times, Washington Post, Time, and Dateline. Her 24 books are translated in 20 languages and her latest (March 2021) is Thrivers: The Surprising Reasons Why Some Kids Struggle and Others Shine. Web: Twitter @micheleborba. Instagram @drmicheleborba.

    Top 6 Episodes Of 2021: #3 - 243 & The Power Of Love - Tyler Bastian

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 29, 2021 15:21

    Tyler Bastian is an educator, filmmaker, father and the founder of Roots Charter High School. Tyler loves to teach and has a passion for discovering and developing potential in everything around him. For four years Tyler taught Character Education at a local High School and believes positive character is the greatest indicator of success. In 2012 Tyler began to develop the concepts that have become Roots Charter High School. Roots Charter High School is Utah's first farm-based charter high school. Roots works with students that come from risky environments, helping them find and reach their potential. Learn more at

    Top 6 Episodes Of 2021: #4 - Perseverance & Pounding The Stone - John Norlin

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 28, 2021 8:51

    John shares a powerful reminder of a teachers impact thru perseverance, a short reading from Jacob Riis, and he gives some encouragement as we live, teach & work during this season.

    Top 6 Episodes Of 2021: #5 - Teen Mental Health Series: Psycho Education Around Anxiety & Depression - Dr. Bella Bikowsky

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 27, 2021 16:07

    Dr. Bikowsky is a Child & Adolescent Clinical Therapist and an Educational Staff Associate Certified School Counselor with a Ph.D. in Educational Counseling/Psychology. Bella has diverse experience in the education and mental health fields spanning 20 years. Over her career, Bella has gained clinical experience working in long-term residential treatment centers as well as at Seattle Children's Hospital in their inpatient psychiatric unit. Additionally, Bella has been a school counselor in the Seattle Public Schools as well as a Counselor and Behavior Specialist in the Edmonds School District. Bella is also a part of Brooks Powers Group, an Educational and Psychological Assessment team in the Seattle area as well as Sound Supports, an educational consulting company focused on building systems through a 3-tired model—Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS). Bella has extensive knowledge working with school teams and districts in helping to create systemic change using the Multi-Tiered Systems approach capitalizing on evidenced-based interventions such as Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports, Restorative Justice Practices, Trauma-Informed and Culturally Responsive Practices, Social-Emotional Learning, Mental Health integration into the school systems, and Function-Based Assessments and interventions.

    Top 6 Episodes Of 2021: #6 - Creating A Strong Staff Culture In Your Building - Kelly Smith

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 24, 2021 24:02

    Kelly has been in education for the last 15 years. She did her undergraduate work at the University of Portland, majoring in Political Science and got my Masters in Teaching through Concordia University. Kelly began her career teaching pre-school in Ireland and when she moved back to the states, she began teaching Kindergarten. Kelly spent the last two years before becoming a principal working as a Student Success Specialist, coaching teachers and students on creating systems of support for students with challenging behaviors in the general education environment. Through her experience in Collaborative Problem Solving, Trauma Informed Practices, and Restorative Justice, she has worked to create school and district level systems and supports to meet the needs of students and families in our ever-changing educational world. Kelly is currently in my first year as an administrator, serving as the Principal at Lincoln Elementary in the Grants Pass School District where she has had the opportunity to lead an incredible staff through these challenging times.

    It's Important To Advocate By Sharing Your Story - Josh Godinez

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 17, 2021 16:25

    Josh Godinez is a high school counselor at Centennial High School in Corona, California. He also serves as the Board Chair for the California Association of School Counselors (CASC) and was named the 2019 California School Counselor of the Year. Josh supported the development of a data informed program for a new high school in Fontana, California, where he served as head counselor prior to his current assignment. He also has served on the California Safe, Healthy, Responsive Schools Pilot & Network Design team member, the California State Superintendent of Public Instruction's Data Transition Team, California Department of Education's Mental Health Coalition Meeting, and the CASC Policy, Advocacy, and Legislation Committee. He is a champion of advocacy and the advancement of school counseling. Prior to school counseling, Josh was a high school social studies teacher for nine years, a Beginning Teacher Support mentor, and served as an adjunct professor in the Teacher Education Department at Claremont Graduate University.

    Working compassionately With Native American Students - Michael Adams

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 10, 2021 16:29

    For the past 12 years, Michael Adams has been passionately serving youth in the K-12 setting as a School Counselor. Growing up on the Hopi reservation in Northern Arizona, Michael is driven to support Native/Indigenous populations through transformative educational experiences. His youthful energy has been invited to speak all across the southwest to share messages of inspiration. Michael's book “A Warrior's Mindset” helps kids retrain their personal attitude for personal/social success.

    Creating Space For Honest Conversations - Kelly Smith

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 3, 2021 26:00

    Kelly has been in education for the last 16 years. She did her undergraduate work at the University of Portland, majoring in Political Science and got her Masters in Teaching through Concordia University. Kelly began her career teaching pre-school in Ireland. When she moved back to the states, she began teaching Kindergarten and has taught pre-K through 3rd grade. Kelly spent the last two years before becoming a principal working as a Student Success Specialist, coaching teachers and students on creating systems of support for students with challenging behaviors in the general education environment. Through her experience in Collaborative Problem Solving, Trauma Informed Practices, and Restorative Justice, she has worked to create school and district level systems and supports to meet the needs of students and families in our ever-changing educational world. Kelly is currently in her second year as an administrator, serving as the Principal at Lincoln Elementary in the Grants Pass School District.

    Implementation: Key Component #1 - Teaming & Effective Practices - Megan Gruis

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 26, 2021 12:34

    CharacterStrong Director of Implementation Megan Gruis talks about the importance of creating a strong implementation team, and the components of successful teaming. Megan also shares about the need for having effective practices that work.

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