Teachers from Rhea Central Elementary School in grades kindergarten through fifth attended the three-day seminar Capturing Kids' Hearts, which gave them practical tools to become educators that impact children's lives.
Most people can think of at least one school teacher who stood
out above the others, one who reached out to them and made a positive impact on their lives.
This past week, 300 Rhea County educators learned how to be that type of teacher at a
three-day in-service program called Capturing Kids' Hearts.
The seminar kicked off on Monday
morning at six different locations throughout Rhea County and continued through Wednesday.
Led by keynote speakers from The Flippen Group, a company with offices across the U.S. and
Australia, attendees were taught the outworking of founder Flip Flippen's motto, "If you have a
child's heart, you have his head."
"Our initiative is to change the culture of the school,
and we're a piece of that," said Brian Whitehead, leadership consultant for the Flippen Group for
Among the goals of the seminar are to learn how to help increase children's
performance, understand and attend to students' baggage, manage a classroom, build a discipline
model, engage students and empower each child to take their knowledge into the world.
of things you learn at Capturing Kids' Hearts are things teachers know," explained Rhea County
Director of School Jerry Levengood. "But in the course of teaching and deadlines and testing,
sometimes we lose focus on what's really important - impacting the lives of
Levengood also said he hopes the seminar will enable educators to make every
student feel welcome and comfortable in his own school.
"It's really a cultural modification
to help educators get focused on why we got into teaching in the first place," he said.
is accomplished in part by treating the seminar as a practical transformational process, and results
from other schools that have used the program can attest to that transformation, according to
Whitehead said that as a whole, those participating schools have boasted a marked
decrease in the need for discipline, higher test scores, higher attendance, less teacher apathy and
decreased dropout rates.
The Flippen Group doesn't just teach the principles and leave,
though. They set up an accountability plan that involves checking up on the schools to see how the
process is being worked out. Certain staff, faculty and administrators from each school are
then chosen to serve as in-house coaches for the program.
"Every campus has its own
heartbeat, and you can build a model from that," said Whitehead.
Capturing Kids' Heart was
made possible through Race to the Top federal funds, $180,000 of which was used to sponsor the
Michelle Friesen can be reached at