New Advisory curriculum spans middle and high schools
Barb Lambert, Nooksack Valley Middle School leadership teacher, says the new Character Strong curriculum has the potential to improve the entire building. And the high school too.
“I hope the kids will see a change in the culture of our building,” she says. “It is more than a curriculum, it is a culture. I love it. I love that it creates a culture of community-building, growth mindset and talks about how character is a habit.”
The new Character Strong curriculum was adopted for the current school year for the middle school and high school. At the middle school, Lambert says she plans to use it in the two-day-per-week Advisory time that every student participates in. Having the same curriculum as the high school will create a common language around character building from grades six through 12, an “exciting” prospect.
Lambert says by upgrading the curriculum to a more teacher-friendly concept — past Advisory curriculum was a piecemeal of concepts from various places — students and teachers can dive right into the content from the start, putting a focus on the eight essential habits within Character Strong.
For the 2018-19 school year, Nooksack Valley Middle School will focus on two habits: patience and kindness, growing in each every day with fresh challenges for the students. “It gives a lot of time for students to practice those skills,” Lambert says. “That is what I am hoping the difference will be that kids see. The relationships and community-building as a school is on purpose.”
Putting a focus on character growth, Lambert says, carries over into both academics and becoming citizenship ready. “If a kid is feeling safe and connected to you they will do anything for you and that helps their academics,” she says. “It is getting at that other part of the kid and not just focusing on one part.”
Lambert uses the example of creating confidence by shaking hands or building kindness by opening doors. “It is self-confidence, it is building a community,” she says. “That is what I’m excited about, building relationships, being kind on purpose and building that habit.”