Indianapolis Public Schools hasn’t even held a class yet,
but George Washington Community High School is already reaping the benefits
from a great community partnership! Thanks to Eli Lilly, all George Washington
staff attended Capturing Kids’ Hearts, a three-day workshop that according to
The Flippen Group, which offers the training, is designed to provide “tools for
administrators, faculty and staff to build positive, productive, trusting
relationships — among themselves and with their students.”

George Washington Principal Emily
Butler jumped at the chance to do this with her staff. “I learned about CKH
from an outstanding principal in Baltimore,” she said. “It was a turnaround
high school, and the principal brought this in as a fundamental part of
his strategy for turning around the school.… It’s the only high school in
Baltimore that has really made lasting significant gains.”

Through their Connecting Hearts at
Home partnership with George Washington, Eli Lilly donated the training, the
staff’s first day lunch and the use of the facility at the Lilly Technology

The hope is that from the
experience, school staff will all learn how to

  • Develop safe and
    trusting classrooms
  • Build student
    motivation, responsibility and empathy for diversity
  • Decrease negative and
    disruptive behaviors

Butler said, “I set a personal
goal to have all new staff hired in time for this training … because I knew
it would be an outstanding team building experience.  Legacy and new
staff had a great opportunity to get to know each other during a powerful,
three-day learning experience.”

From the reactions of her staff,
that plan worked and was inspiring:

Art Teacher Derrick Burnett said
it was the best training he’d participated in more than five years, and Ann
Kreicker, George Washington/Mary Rigg Neighborhood Center Coordinator said,
“What a game-changing experience. Loved it.”

Parent Involvement Educator Evan
Harris said, “I appreciated being able to contribute and learn the same process
as the rest of the team.”

New Spanish Teacher Melissa Calero
appreciated receiving “something tangible that I can implement in my

English Language Learner (ELL)
College and Career Readiness Coordinator Flor Romero found, “The training was
very beneficial in bringing the staff together,” and new Learning Behavior
Support Team Member Stacy Hardemon agreed by saying, “I feel like part of the

However, Math Coach Charonda Woods
may have summed the three-day experience up when she said, “Glad to see an
atmosphere of change among the staff.”

We’re pleased to hear the George
Washington staff getting off to such a strong start this year thanks to the
continuing generosity of a dedicated community partner. By helping every
employee grow and come together as a team, Lilly’s partnership will have a long
reach into the year, ultimately ensuring all George Washington students have
the opportunity to do their best!