Inside California Education Episode 505: Student Champions
A district-wide staff training in Madera Unified School District aims to strengthen school culture and racial understanding in schools.
Every one of Madera Unified School District’s 2,500 employees attends a unique training program that promotes a positive school culture called the Student Champion Course. “There’s nothing like it in the State of California, and probably beyond,” says Todd Lile, Madera USD Superintendent.
The program draws on the powerful stories and direct experiences of students, including graduate Jeremiah Goodman, to inform teachers and staff and address racism and discrimination. “The goal of this curriculum is for our teachers to understand how incredibly important it is to be human first, to really understand who our kids are — to know their names, know their stories, know their values,” says Lile.
Development of the program began in 2018 in partnership with WestEd, a nonprofit research agency. The program launched in 2022. Educators such as first-grade teacher Amanda Asklof report how the Student Champion course gave her a wake-up call to pay more attention to her students’ lives. “Make time to make a relationship with your students,” she says. “It’s the most important thing you’ll ever do.”
TV Series: Inside California Education
Published Date: 01/10/2024
The following resources from WestEd provide further information about building a positive school climate and promoting student and staff well-being.
- Advancing and Sustaining Student and Staff Well-Being Initiatives — A Resource Guide for States
- Cultivating Caring Relationships at School — 15 Activities That Promote Staff and Student Connection
- School Climate Improvement Toolkit
- Does School Climate Distinguish Consistently High-Performing Schools From Others?
- Designing Safe and Supportive Physical Classroom Environments – A Checklist
- Reframing and Understanding Staff Resistance to Advance Positive School Climates (Guide)
Watch the full episode
Inside California Education Full Episode 505 Becoming a Good Sport — Student Champions — Connecting and Feeding the Community — Struggle, Success and Inspiring Others 26:46