JMS named “Capturing Kids’ Hearts National Showcase School” for fourth consecutive year

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JOHNSTON, Ia. (May 6, 2022) — Johnston Middle School has been named a “Capturing Kids’ Hearts National Showcase School” for a fourth consecutive year.

The national award recognizes and celebrates schools that go the extra mile each day to create the socio-emotional safety conducive to learning — building an environment where students and staff feel safe, connected and eager to learn. Johnston Middle School is among 376 schools selected for the 2021-2022 school year.

Building connections

“Johnston Middle School is constantly striving to create a culture of excellence where students come first,” said Brent Riessen, principal of Johnston Middle School. “This includes providing our educators with the skills they need to change the trajectory of students’ lives — working to replace defensiveness with openness, to replace judgment with acceptance and connectedness.”

JMS’ efforts began in 2016, when administrators began an initiative to transform the campus into an emotionally safe and relationally-connected place for students, staff, and parents to come together with a love for learning. After researching programs used by many of the nation’s most successful schools, JMS chose to join with the Flippen Group to bring Capturing Kids’ Hearts to its campus.

Capturing Kids’ Hearts has provided professional development to educators nationwide since 1990. Today, the organization works with more than 37,000 educators to implement transformational processes focused on social-emotional well-being, relationship-driven culture, and student connectedness.

Growing relationships

JMS teachers and staff have continued to learn the processes needed to connect students with their peers and adults on campus and to create classrooms where students are excited to learn every day. As a result of implementing Capturing Kids’ Hearts, the school has experienced growth in the number of relationships built between students and staff since implementation as measured by the JMS Connectedness Survey.

National Showcase Schools are chosen annually through a rigorous selection process that includes measuring key performance indicators, gathering campus data, and surveying staff and students. The results represent the implementation of Capturing Kids’ Hearts processes, as well as the culture and climate on each campus. Johnston Middle School was first named a Capturing Kids’ Hearts National Showcase School in the 2018-2019 school year.