Imagine a school where students want to go to class, teachers are full of energy and excited to come to work, parents rave about how their children love their school, and alumni are so engaged that they stay in touch and call whenever they’re back in town.
If this sounds too good to be true, take a few minutes to visit with Allan Chugg, superintendent of Kansas City Christian School (KCCS). A while back, The Cultivate Project’s Paul Gutacker called Allan to talk about an unrelated matter and was treated to an exciting story of how life-on-life mentoring has transformed KCCS as well as its surrounding co mmunity.
The story starts a few years ago, when KCCS began working with Dr. Jeff Myers to train its teachers to develop a mentoring mindset. “At first, the teachers were hesitant,” Allan remembered, “It was awkward.” But as life-on-life mentoring became part of the school’s DNA, the results were truly astounding.
Students’ attitudes toward school are changing. Because the teachers are genuinely relational, “kids want to be at school now,” says Allan. “Discipline issues have been cut in half and attendance problems have been cut by two-thirds.” Parents have noticed this transformation as well and have been telling Allan that they, too, see a difference in their kids—who now feel like they belong and who look forward to school.
Students are now growing spiritually rather than disengaging like so many of their generation. Perhaps the most rewarding result of KCCS’s renewed emphasis on mentoring is that teachers and staff are seeing students grow spiritually rather than fall apart after graduation. “We’re staying in touch much more, and we’re seeing a drastically lower percentage of kids leaving the church after they graduate,” Allan observed.
Teachers are falling in love with teaching all over again. Students aren’t the only ones being changed by KCCS’s mentoring focus. According to Allan, many of his teachers “have come from thinking mentoring was awkward to loving being with the kids.” Building relationship has given teachers a new energy and passion for their day-to-day work. Said Allan: “My teachers actually love coming to work.”
Parents are enthusiastic. Here’s what Allan had to say about The Cultivate Project and the feedback he was getting from parents: “ The Cultivate Project is helping us formalize what we wanted to do already. Our teachers now have clear goals and they can really walk alongside each other. Cultivate is rich. It’s really, really rich. There’s substance in it, not just fluff.” In fact, at a recent parent meeting, Allan told parents, “ The Cultivate Project is a major distinctive for us. It is the thing that KCCS wants to be known for.” Parents were thrilled: “Already they are seeing the difference in their kids. It was so much fun to talk with them about it.”
“Kids want to be at school now; behavior issues have been cut in half and attendance problems by two-thirds. Parents are already seeing the difference, and my teachers actually love coming to work... Cultivate is rich, really rich.”
—Allan Chugg, Head of School, Kansas City Christian School
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