Kitty Hawk Elementary School, a public school which serves 484 students in grades K-5 on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, began its partnership with All Kinds of Minds in 2001. According to school Assistant Principal Dr. Bruce Shepard, “At the dawn of the new millennium we made a commitment to live our mission—not just in rhetoric, but in reality—by seeking to create a challenging learning environment that encourages high expectations for success. We felt opportunities for our students—not just those falling through the cracks, but all of our students—should be enhanced so they could meet 21st-century demands.”
The school’s faculty embarked upon an exhaustive national search to find the best professional development to give teachers strategies to improve student success. “By far, All Kinds of Minds’ approach stood out as the best way to bring a common language and an understanding of learning to our teachers and learners,” says Dr. Shepard.
With all teachers, administrators, and related school professionals now trained in the neurodevelopmental framework, the faculty uses the All Kinds of Minds approach collaboratively; for example, the schools’ Problem Solving Team is using All Kinds of Minds’ language and tools to promote its Positive Discipline and Behavior Support Programs. Faculty members credit the training and its implementation for the fact that the percentages of Kitty Hawk students who score at or above grade level in grades 3, 4, and 5 are higher than both district and state averages.
Kitty Hawk Elementary 3rd Grade Teacher and All Kinds of Minds Facilitator Diane Childress notes, “Even with the high student-to-teacher ratio (25:1) so prevalent in public schools, the integration of the neurodevelopmental framework into our teaching practice is allowing us to achieve our goal of creating and maintaining a school where the staff and community work closely together to support and nurture children and where education is of prime importance to all. The knowledge gleaned from our All Kinds of Minds experience has also allowed us to more easily integrate every aspect of newly mandated programs into our curricula.”
In addition, helping students understand their own learning profiles has become a priority throughout the school. Teachers use The Mind That’s Mine curriculum in classrooms to help students understand how they learn and reinforce the idea that people have different learning strengths and weaknesses through literature. “Providing students an understanding of how they learn is an integral component in heightening their ability to excel to their fullest in every subject they will be asked to tackle. The Program’s focus on social cognition gives students the skills to assimilate into life experiences and prepares them for what’s coming next—as well as what’s happening now,” explains Dr. Shepherd.