• Julia Payne
  • ·
  • December 4, 2019

Students-turned-Staff: Stories of Impact

The end of the year often signals a time of reflection and reconnecting with the reasons behind why we do what we do. As many of the team members at CharacterStrong are past students, we asked each of them...

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  • Krista Gypton
  • ·
  • November 27, 2019

We See You and We Appreciate You

It’s the time of year where educators everywhere are wondering if they will make it to the winter break. The weather is colder and darker. The paper load is heavier. The sleep seems to come less and less....

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  • Krista Gypton
  • ·
  • November 20, 2019

Who's Your Charlie?

Charlie was the kid I watched for every day as I waited to welcome my students into the room. It...

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  • Krista Gypton
  • ·
  • October 9, 2019

Classroom Management R&R

R&R is usually not the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about classroom management, especially if it’s been a struggle. It is one of the most talked-about issues in education and impacts all...

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  • Trish Brown
  • ·
  • September 17, 2019

Mindfulness at Any Age

As a Counselor, I am often concerned about mental health-related trends. For example, diagnostic...

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  • John Norlin
  • ·
  • September 11, 2019

The Law of the Lid

I have always been hugely influenced by the work of John Maxwell. His leadership books, speeches, and example has been something that has challenged me and inspired me for many years. There are two pieces of...

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  • Samuel Karnes
  • ·
  • September 3, 2019

Whole School Whole Community Whole Child

Today in education I hear and see educators spending way too much time working in silos trying to influence the outcomes for kids in a positive manner, yet they burn out, grow weary, or don’t meet the goals...

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  • Kathy Lohse
  • ·
  • August 21, 2019

Building Relationships

I spent 37 years pouring my heart into my pre-K - 5th grade classrooms. Every single year I worked...

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  • Erin Jones
  • ·
  • August 14, 2019

CharacterStrong & Equity

CharacterStrong believes in providing the best foundational supports so that educators everywhere can build strong and lasting relationships while teaching social-emotional learning and character development...

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  • Houston Kraft
  • ·
  • July 2, 2019

What is Missing?

At CharacterStrong, we have weekly meetings with our team where we turn off all distractions and “get out of the work so that we can look AT the work.” This perspective is critical to productivity and success;...

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  • David Volke
  • ·
  • June 11, 2019

Students Feel Invisible

When I was a kid, I would often imagine what it would be like to be invisible. I envisioned having...

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  • Jared Smith
  • ·
  • May 21, 2019

The Danger of Ego

In 7th grade, I got my first ASB position. I was the treasurer at my middle school and to be completely...

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  • Jeff Gerber
  • ·
  • April 23, 2019

A School Where Everyone Belongs

Passengers In the 2016 motion picture “Passengers,” Jim Preston (played by Chris Pratt) is one of 5000 passengers onboard a spacecraft for a 120 year voyage to begin a new life for the human race on...

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  • Kay Dodge
  • ·
  • Brent Grothe
  • ·
  • March 25, 2019

The Four Big Lies - Lie #1: The Performance Trap

<em>“The basic personal need of each person is to regard himself as a worthwhile human being.” - Lawrence J. Crabb Jr.&nbsp;</em> What makes our lives worthwhile? Surely this question must have an answer,...

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  • Barbara Gruener
  • ·
  • March 12, 2019

Empathy to the Rescue

After 34 years in the classroom, I retired from school in May. And while there’s a lot of stuff...

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  • Linda Bisarek
  • ·
  • February 26, 2019

Character Improvement: Not Just for Our Students

&nbsp; I listened to a sermon from a pastor once that assured all of us we should each be prepared for our storms. Life, he said, is not a smooth ride. He encouraged us to set our foundations strong,...

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  • Bryan Slater
  • ·
  • February 12, 2019

Maslow's Hammer Time

“If the only tool you have is a hammer, all problems begin to resemble nails.” -Abraham Maslow I...

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  • Kay Dodge
  • ·
  • Brent Grothe
  • ·
  • January 28, 2019

Discovering the Joy Beyond Happiness

&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Bookstores are full of books on how to be happier, and if you don’t like reading, you can find hundreds of podcasts on the subject. Characters in TV shows and movies...

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  • Lindsay Norlin
  • ·
  • December 29, 2018

3 Things Your Students Need Coming Back from Break

Coming back to the classroom after two weeks off is often times not only difficult for students, but teachers as well. It's important that we all take a day to ease back into the swing of things and also gauge...

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  • Kay Dodge
  • ·
  • Brent Grothe
  • ·
  • December 11, 2018

A Better Way

Humility is a tough lesson. As humans, we think we know what to do based upon the fairly arrogant...

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  • John Gaines
  • ·
  • December 4, 2018

Push Past Obstacles

&nbsp; I remember it like it was yesterday; I was in the process of planning my wedding,...

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  • Sally Rusk
  • ·
  • November 27, 2018

Dear New Advisor

Mrs. Markov stepped on the conductor box and her students immediately lifted their instruments with precision. &nbsp;They played beautifully and looked at her with adoration and a hope approval. The next day...

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  • Lauren Ambeau
  • ·
  • November 4, 2018

It Starts with Me...

“It’s all about relationships!” I heard myself saying to more than a few teachers last week....

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  • John Norlin
  • ·
  • August 28, 2018

Make Patience Normal

At CharacterStrong we focus on teaching what we call the 8 Essentials. These are eight different...

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  • Amy Stapleton
  • ·
  • August 7, 2018

Creating Ubuntu

In the summer of 2017, I had the privilege to travel with a group of educators to study the culture,...

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  • John Norlin
  • ·
  • July 17, 2018

3 Ways to Practice Living Intentionally

I believe that we all want to be a part of something purposeful and leave an impact on this world. Some call it making a difference, others call it leaving a legacy, and some call it living a purposeful life....

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  • John Norlin
  • ·
  • July 3, 2018

Freedom to Choose

As July approaches each year, the thought of freedom comes to the forefront of my mind. Yes, one...

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  • John Norlin
  • ·
  • June 5, 2018

5 Things Every Educator Should Do This Summer

Another school year has passed and educators once again are looking forward to the days of being able to sleep past six in the morning, go to the bathroom whenever they want, and actually eat lunch instead...

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Student to Teacher: Use the back of a big or important assignment from this teacher’s class that you feel proud of (and don’t need for class anymore). Write a thoughtful thank you note on the back of...

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  • Enterprise Middle School Staff
  • ·
  • April 3, 2018

Creating CharacterStrong Athletes

As a coach at Enterprise Middle School, I’ve had the opportunity to work with some of the most amazing students through soccer, volleyball, basketball, and baseball. &nbsp;Teaching and coaching young people...

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  • David Volke
  • ·
  • February 12, 2018

How the CharacterDare Process Changed My Life

As a teacher newer to the profession, I recognize and accept that I have a lot to learn. I guess it is a good thing that learning has been a friend of mine for decades. Learning has been inspiring but often...

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  • Houston Kraft
  • ·
  • January 23, 2018

Quantifiable Feedback

One of the hallmark skills of great educators is the ability to give and receive feedback. At CharacterStrong,...

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  • Jeff Sowards
  • ·
  • January 9, 2018

The Power of Introverts

I was terrified. &nbsp;For some reason I had said yes to something I had, as an adult, avoided for...

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  • Brent Grothe
  • ·
  • January 3, 2018

Scarcely Happy

“There’s just not enough to go around,” is a common statement from people afflicted with a...

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  • John Norlin
  • ·
  • December 19, 2017

3 Things Every Educator Should Do This Holiday Break

Today my wife and I took our 3 year old to see Santa and get pictures taken. As I watched the pure joy of a 3 year old play out as he stood in front of Santa and answered his questions I couldn’t help myself...

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  • Houston Kraft
  • ·
  • December 12, 2017

Ask Better Questions

In a time when we are connected digitally, we are also more isolated than ever.&nbsp;We must continue...

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  • Enterprise Middle School Staff
  • ·
  • November 20, 2017

4 Steps to Implement an SEL Curriculum Building-Wide

Before trying to implement any new idea or thing in a school, a&nbsp;TEAM&nbsp;must be created to roll out the new program. &nbsp;Picking the team is an essential part of the process. &nbsp;Team members should...

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  • Bryan Slater
  • ·
  • November 14, 2017

The Duty of First...

Everyone knows you must give respect in order to get respect. This raises a very important, and...

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  • John Norlin
  • ·
  • September 13, 2017

Character Day 2017

Today is a day we are excited to celebrate as people all over the globe will be participating in...

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  • Houston Kraft
  • ·
  • May 7, 2017

The Power of Forgiveness [Video]

Presented by&nbsp;Soul Pancake, this video demonstrates and explains the benefits of forgiveness through a social experiment. It asks the questions, "Forgiveness, what does it really mean? If you ask for forgiveness,...

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  • Houston Kraft
  • ·
  • May 7, 2017

The Journal

At Arapahoe High School in Colorado, they refuse to be defined by a tragedy. In 2013, a school shooting...

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  • Houston Kraft
  • ·
  • May 1, 2017

The Apology

It’s pretty common, especially in a larger school, that there will be someone in the audience...

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  • Houston Kraft
  • ·
  • February 14, 2017

Safe vs. Supported

I was at a school recently that had just gotten their results back from a school climate and student safety survey they had done. The principal said one of the things that stood out was that 9 students who...

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  • Houston Kraft
  • ·
  • December 16, 2016

The Family

I met a boy last week at a middle school who is in the transgender process. Born a female, but identifies...

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  • Houston Kraft
  • ·
  • December 14, 2016

Fingerprints of Kindness

I worked at Mattson Middle School in Kent, WA and one of the district employees pulled me aside after my workshop. His name was Brad. Brad said he wanted to learn about ways to sustain the message now that...

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