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Maryland Schools Turn “Negative Traits” Into Positive Ones and See Outstanding Results

By: Krystle Crossman

Ducketts Lane Elementary School in Maryland is taking a new approach to helping their students with their academic success. They want to foster a sense of confidence in the children like never before. During parent teacher conferences they do not tell the parents what their child needs to work on or where their weaknesses lie. Instead they tell them about all of the positive things that their child is doing and they turn any traits that may be seen as negative traits into positive ones. For example if a child is always doing goofy things and trying to make other students laugh they used to be labeled as class clowns and as disruptive students. At Ducketts however they are applauded for their personality.

The teachers at the school say that since this new initiative has started they have seen a huge boost in the confidence of the students which has helped their academic achievement greatly. The students are happier and get to focus on things they are good at. Their parents are told about these traits that are positive and are given advice on how to improve those traits even more. The kids are able to list of all of the strengths that they have in life because they are told what they are good at constantly.

The school started this initiative two years ago in a partnership with Gallup. They are one of six elementary schools in the Howard County School District that participate in this program and have already seen tremendous results. The high schools and middle schools in the county participate as well, reaching over 50,000 students. Once the children hit fifth grade they and their teachers are given surveys every year to gauge their level of participation in the classroom. Select grades take additional tests to show what their personality strengths are. These strengths are then given to a strength specialist (hired by Gallup) who then reports back to the teachers to help them understand the strengths and show them how to best showcase them. The teachers can then take this back to the classroom and foster even more confidence in their students.

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