• 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 was my third year teaching and I knew that I had to keep my eye on him. Not in the, “I’m expecting you to...

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  • Houston Kraft
  • ·
  • November 13, 2019

A More Conscious & Committed Kindness Day

It’s World Kindness Day today and, as someone who has spent many years helping kick off or close out Kindness Weeks in schools, I know that designated dates can help spur us into action. My fear, however,...

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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,...

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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 terms being used to label everyday feelings like: “I feel disappointed” = “I’m depressed” or “I feel...

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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,...

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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...

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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...

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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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  • Barbara Gruener
  • ·
  • April 9, 2019

Ten Tips To Tune Up Your Self-Care Alternator

Today I’m on location in College Station, TX, at Allen Honda awaiting installation of my van’s new alternator. Full disclosure as I set up the story, it’s not that we neglected the care of our car; our...

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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 I’ll forget as my distance from school widens and my memory fades, one thing I won’t ever forget is my final...

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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 believe it was the Fall of 2012 when I first read this quote to my Theory of Knowledge seniors as...

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  • Erin Jones
  • ·
  • January 15, 2019

Leaving a Legacy: Character Lessons from Dr. King

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." Martin Luther King, Jr.,"I Have A...

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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 assumption that our minds, our own reason, is all we need to figure things out and find the right answer. Ask...

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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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  • Houston Kraft
  • ·
  • November 12, 2018

Action First, Happiness Follows

One of the core beliefs we have at CharacterStrong is that our actions should align first with our beliefs and values instead of <em>just </em>aligning to our emotions. To put differently, sometimes I just...

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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
  • ·
  • September 18, 2018

Creating a Culture that Cares - A True Tier 1

School Climate and Safety have become hot topics in education. Along with helping students pass end of course and state assessments, educators now have to face the daily reminder that school safety is a top...

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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 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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  • Enterprise Middle School Staff
  • ·
  • June 19, 2018

10 Tips on Raising CharacterStrong Teens

The teenage years are a time of tremendous learning and growth for pre-teen and teenage students - not only academically, but physically, emotionally, and socially. These years can be some of the most challenging...

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  • Enterprise Middle School Staff
  • ·
  • May 15, 2018

CharacterStrong: A Student's Perspective

As Mr. John Norlin egged us on, I happily shook the ‘webbys’ around me at Enterprise’s first CharacterStrong assembly, and I knew I would be in for an incredible year. I’ve been lucky myself, to...

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  • John Norlin
  • ·
  • March 27, 2018

10 Thoughts on Changing School Culture

&nbsp; As a high school leadership teacher and student activities adviser for 10 years, one of my jobs was to work with the students at our school to create a positive culture and climate. To quote author...

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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 scarcity mentality. Financially, such people hoard personal items, pinch pennies, compare themselves to others...

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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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  • Bryan Slater
  • ·
  • December 5, 2017

The Earned Privilege of Teaching

We’re seeing some pretty dramatic transformations taking place in the 21st century classroom. Many districts are employing 1:1 initiatives where every student, instead of receiving 6+ textbooks to lug around...

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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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  • Karl Karkainen
  • ·
  • November 5, 2017

Honoring Those Who Sacrifice for Us

In our classrooms, every lesson is important. The same is true with school events and activities. They are all important - otherwise we wouldn’t be doing them. Holding the door open on Friday mornings so...

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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...

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  • Houston Kraft
  • ·
  • May 1, 2017

Becoming The Leader [Video w/ Debrief]

Tony Robbins explains what it takes to become a leader. Within this clip, he addresses the distinction between the motive to serve people and serving ourselves. Motive does matter. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&amp;v=C6C647EmV_o Debrief...

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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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  • John Norlin
  • ·
  • February 17, 2017

Four At The Door + One More

A method for teachers to increase active engagement in their classrooms by 20%. Each and everyday educators have an opportunity to start intentionally with their students. With only so much time each day...

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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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As school professionals it can be easy to fill every spare minute with grading, lesson planning, and answering emails. Rather than throwing&nbsp;<em>all</em>&nbsp;of your extra time into those items, I wanted...

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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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  • Character Strong
  • ·
  • December 1, 2016

Charting the Course [Scholarship Essay - 1st Place]

It takes an oil tanker approximately seven miles to make a full turn and change course. A colleague of mine shared this fact with me on my first day as the ASB/Leadership advisor at Arlington High School. I...

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