Lakeside School District recently hosted "Capturing Kids' Hearts," a training session to help build relationships with students, parents and staff members.
"We have always valued the importance of relationships with the staff and students at Lakeside. We feel showing others they are valued has never been more critical," Bruce Orr, Lakeside assistant superintendent, said.
"Our goal is for 'Capturing Kids' Hearts' to remind and educate us on the importance of our relationships. To reach a kid's mind, we must first capture their hearts. They must know how much we care about them," he said.
Sandy Hawkins, Lakeside Intermediate School principal, said the district had two employees from the Intermediate School who went to the training in Little Rock last year to bring back the information and present it to the administration.
The training is focused on helping to build a relationship with second- through eighth-graders, he noted.
Hawkins said "Capturing Kids Hearts" helps build relationships with students, staff and parents and is a way for the district to meet the needs of all of the students.
"It's not a program for us to implement. It's just new strategies for us to use in our classrooms to help meet the social and emotional needs of our kids," he said.
Hawkins said the training has been going great and the teachers were engaged, noting they had laughed and cried.
"It's been a great training even though it's been two very long days. We are gaining a lot of knowledge," he said.
The teachers have done a variety of activities from playing rock-paper-scissors and other games to bringing a sentimental object and discussing what it means to them, Hawkins said.
"We have shared a lot of stories amongst each other. We have built closer relationships in our staff with this training," he said, noting everyone benefits from having the training, but especially the students.
"I feel that our teachers are going to gain a lot from this because they're going to build deeper relationships with their kids and more of their students than they might have in the past," he said.
Hawkins said the district will continue to add skills and tools for the district and to work with all of the kids.
"During this pandemic, we haven't been able to see our kids in the same building. A lot of these kids are going to have many needs, and we want to be sure that we are well equipped to help meet those needs," he said.
Hawkins said they want the students to feel safe that they can come to any adult in any building.
"We want to build those relationships, so they do feel safe to come to us if they are having problems whether it's a bullying issue, whether it's academics and whether it's problems that they are dealing with (by themselves)," he said.