Junior high schools can be scary places. Behavior management is a challenge; bullying, a big concern. School leaders struggle to find solutions that will improve the climate in their schools. They should look no farther than Lockport’s North Park Junior High.
North Park is a big school in a small city. You’d never know that walking down its hallways lined with hundreds of digital pictures of smiling students, staff and guests, each holding a whiteboard proclaiming their “kind of kind.” The effect is overwhelming, inducing a persistent smile on this recent visitor.
With vision, ingenuity, passion and a riff on a country music song, North Park has transformed itself through a program they call All Kinds of Kinds. In the first half of the current school year
- Discipline referrals were down 60%.
- In school suspensions were down 28%.
- Out of school suspensions were down 78%.
- Superintendents hearings were down 100% (28 last year and zero this year).
- Staff absenteeism was down 24%.
- STAR reading and math scores were up significantly.
It started with a sleepless night:
It was 3:00 in the morning after a night of not sleeping when the idea came to me. I was watching TV and saw Miranda Lambert’s hit song and video “All Kinds of Kinds.” After watching her video with the people holding up whiteboards with their personal character traits, I thought this would be a great video to make in our Jr. High School because schools are definitely made up of All Kinds of Kinds.
Within days of this inspirational idea, the video was complete and posted to YouTube where more than 70,000 people have viewed it. Soon after, the digital pictures started to go up, lining every hallway. The impact was immediate and is evidenced by the statistics cited above. All Kinds of Kinds has evolved into a replicable program that includes curriculum and survey instruments. It has been adopted by schools in four states. All Kinds of Kinds is now available to any school district to implement free of charge.
Interested readers can view videos, access resources and connect with the All Kinds of Kinds Team at the website allkindsofkinds.org where you will also find an extended version of the All Kinds of Kinds video with an introduction by principal Ryan Schoenfeld.