Capturing Kids’ Hearts, program to help children cope with trauma coming to every Copper County school

Copper Country

HANCOCK, Mich. (WJMN) – If you capture a kid’s heart, you capture a kid’s mind. That’s the motto of the Flippen Group’s Capturing Kids’ Hearts program that’s about to become a lot more familiar to people in Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula. That’s because this August the program will be coming to every school in the four-county community of Baraga, Houghton, Keweenaw and Ontonagon counties through the Portage Health Foundation (PHF).

“I am thrilled that the Portage Health Foundation was able to offer this extraordinary program to every school district in our four-county area,” said Bernadette Yeoman-Ouellette, Chair of the PHF Board of Directors. “This will impact so many students and give them tools that will enable their individual success. It is a fantastic example of the kind of long-term vision and strategic partnership the foundation can have with our community.”

The program will start with a two-day training session that will include all teachers, administrators and support staff at the schools. Several area non-profits that offer complementary services to the schools will also have staff attend the training.

“Capturing Kids’ Hearts builds a bridge between staff, students, parents and the community,” said Vern Hazard, Senior Vice President Solutions at Flippen Group. “Not only will students grow, but the staff will grow as well. Our goal is always the success of each other. We want to bring out the best in all people.”

After the initial training, the schools will have follow-up training throughout the year to ensure the program is as successful as possible. This is the same training that has been used for the past two years at the Public Schools of Calumet-Laurium-Keweenaw (CLK Schools), which has seen splendid results since implementation.

“Our district is interested in the Capturing Kids Hearts program because we are constantly promoting a learning environment that is built on integrity, trust and respect,” said James Rautiola, Superintendent/Principal at Stanton Township Public Schools. “It is important to us that the kids are comfortable with who they are as individuals and not be afraid to tackle new challenges. E.B Holman strives to provide a ‘Red Carpet Treatment’ for everyone associated with our district by removing constraints while focusing on positive actions and behaviors.”

Kevin Store, Portage Health Foundation Executive Director spoke with Local 3’s Rebecca Bartelme about the program.

In October 2017 Portage Health Foundation held an all-school assembly that engaged nearly 1,400 middle school students from the four-county community. PHF staff and other experts talked candidly with them about the challenges children in our community are facing every day.  

“I stood in front of them and pledged to them that we heard them; we were listening; and we were going to do what we could to address these issues,” PHF Executive Director Kevin Store said. “The Capturing Kids’ Hearts program is another step that we and our area schools are taking to make progress on that promise – helping our kids to be healthier and happier members of our community.”

Along with the added supports that the tactics in this program will provide to the area’s education community, the application of this training has great potential to enhance the care and betterment of the whole child, including the social-emotional health of each student.  

“Our intention is that the approaches used in this program will influence a shared approach and philosophy that helps address trauma and resiliency throughout our community,” Store added. “In the pilot of this program (at CLK Schools), we have already seen notable positive changes in both the students and the faculty and staff who are involved.”

For the past 30 years, the Capturing Kids’ Hearts team at Flippen Group has worked with hundreds of thousands of educators to model and apply Capturing Kids’ Hearts processes in their classrooms, on their campuses, with their teams and in their communities. These processes strengthen trust between teachers and students, support trauma-informed care, lead to self-governing classrooms, enable student connectedness, change school cultures and create accountability.

In addition, the Leadworthy initiative and curriculum is an extension of Capturing Kids’ Hearts and provides students grade 6 – 12 opportunities to develop critical, life-changing skills. The course focuses primarily on public speaking, communication skills, the ability to self-manage, financial literacy, work readiness, personal vision and setting goals for the future.

Campuses that implement these processes with fidelity see improvements in attendance, climate and culture, and overall academic performance, along with advancements in each of the five SEL (Social Emotional Learning) Competencies: relationship skills, self-awareness, responsible decision making, social awareness and self-management.

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