• 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,...

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  • Trish Brown
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  • 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
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  • September 11, 2019

The Law of the Lid

I have always been hugely influenced by the work of John Maxwell. His leadership books, speeches,...

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  • Kathy Lohse
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  • August 21, 2019

Building Relationships

I spent 37 years pouring my heart into my pre-K - 5th grade classrooms. Every single year I worked intently to build relationships with students, staff, and the community from day one of school. When relationships...

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  • Erin Jones
  • ·
  • August 14, 2019

CharacterStrong & Equity

CharacterStrong believes in providing the best foundational supports so that educators everywhere...

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Growing up as a student I thought of school spirit as the number of people who showed up to school sporting events, how many people dressed up in the school colors, and especially how many people participated...

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  • Houston Kraft
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  • July 2, 2019

What is Missing?

At CharacterStrong, we have weekly meetings with our team where we turn off all distractions and...

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  • David Volke
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  • 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 the ability to go anywhere and do anything without people knowing it was me. Like any young child, my dreams...

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  • Jared Smith
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  • 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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  • John Norlin
  • ·
  • April 9, 2019

The CharacterStrong Podcast

We are excited to announce that April 1st we launched the CharacterStrong Podcast, where each week we will be having conversations on School Culture and Leadership. We are firm believers that we need to be...

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  • Barbara Gruener
  • ·
  • March 19, 2019

Influencing Moments: What's At Stake?

Every choice we make has stakeholders, a truth that comes crashing our way hard when something criminal happens, like the recent college-admissions bribery scandal. It’s not just the person who makes the...

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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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  • Barbara Gruener
  • ·
  • February 19, 2019

Portion Control: What's on Your Plate?

  One of the things that really resonates with me when CharacterStrong co-founders John Norlin and Houston Kraft speak is the notion that if we keep piling things on to our plates, then we risk...

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  • Bryan Slater
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  • 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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  • John Norlin
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  • December 18, 2018

5 Reasons to be Grateful this Holiday Season

Let’s be real: working in education can feel at times like a thankless job. Ever-increasing demands, lack of time, resources, and support can easily lead to bitterness if an attitude of gratitude is not developed...

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  • Kay Dodge
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  • 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

  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...

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  • Barbara Gruener
  • ·
  • November 20, 2018

The 3 Ms of Emotional Regulation

As a child, I had no idea how to self-regulate or manage my feelings. At all. During my formative years, I was routinely sent to my room to get over my <em>bad attitude</em> (angry feelings) more than I care...

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  • Lauren Ambeau
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  • 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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  • Amy Stapleton
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  • October 23, 2018

Leadership Lessons From Halloween

I was six the first time I remember eagerly waiting for Halloween. Practically hopping from one foot to the next as my mom got the most epic of costumes ready: a purple unicorn. And not just any unicorn —...

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  • John Norlin
  • ·
  • September 25, 2018

5 Sentences Your Students Need to Hear From You

1. “I think you’d be good at it.” In close to 20 years of working with a state student leadership program, I can tell you that the line I hear more than any other on why a student decided to step up...

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  • John Norlin
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  • August 28, 2018

Make Patience Normal

At CharacterStrong we focus on teaching what we call the 8 Essentials. These are eight different character traits that include patience, kindness, humility, respect, selflessness, forgiveness, honesty, and...

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  • Amy Stapleton
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  • 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 3, 2018

Freedom to Choose

As July approaches each year, the thought of freedom comes to the forefront of my mind. Yes, one could think of the freedoms connected to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness and there is much debate around...

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  • Bryan Slater
  • ·
  • April 2, 2018

The Classroom Temperature Check

Second period on October 31st, 2017 was just like any other ordinary second period on All Hallows Eve in my classroom full of 12th graders; a few students were in their Halloween costumes and others had the...

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  • John Norlin
  • ·
  • March 6, 2018

3 Things We Should All Agree on After Parkland

Once again our country was horrified to see a mass school shooting in a place where all families should feel safe to send their kids...school. As the aftermath unfolds it feels different. It feels like there...

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  • Jeff Baines
  • ·
  • February 7, 2018

Building Influence Through Athletics

James C. Hunter said, “Leadership is influence.” &nbsp;With that, the ultimate question is how can a person in a position to influence, such as the athletic director, impact the athletes, programs, school...

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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 more than 30 years. &nbsp;I agreed to give a short “tuck in”or evening speech to the entire delegation...

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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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  • 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 to teach, explicitly, the skills of building meaningful relationships. One of the most foundational skills...

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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 yet often overlooked question: who has the duty of giving it first? As a servant leader, you have the duty...

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  • Houston Kraft
  • ·
  • October 18, 2017

3 Ways to Build Relationships into Everyday Practices

We are always fighting against time. There is so much to teach young minds and so little time to fit it all in! Fortunately, weaving relationship-building into the fabric of your daily teaching practice doesn’t...

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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 Journal

At Arapahoe High School in Colorado, they refuse to be defined by a tragedy. In 2013, a school shooting left one girl, Claire Davis, dead and a school in shock. Days later, the Davis’ family spoke to the...

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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...

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  • Houston Kraft
  • ·
  • January 9, 2017

The CharacterStrong Educator Toolkit

Here are some resource and book recommendations that can be used to help lay the foundation for a strong leadership program and that supplement many lessons and activities in the CharacterStrong curriculums.&nbsp;Most...

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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...

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