Mansfield ISD Magazine Spring 2016 - Page 29

Elementary School Focuses on Teaching the Heart and Mind MISD Teacher Named KLTY Teacher of the Month N ational Random Act of Kindness Week was in February; but at Martha Reid Elementary School, the kindness is spread year-round. Students and staff have all taken part in the Kindness Challenge. It’s an initiative started by first grade teacher Sara Buchan who wanted to teach children how to pay it forward. “I can make them brilliant in math, but if they do not have social and emotional intelligence, I have failed them,” said Buchan. The eight-year Mansfield ISD teacher started incorporating what she coined as a kindness mat. The mat is a non-reward-based sheet of paper with different nice gestures students can do. She later contacted the founder of Secret Blue Butterfly and received blue butterflies for teachers to hand out to students who go above and beyond. An entire hallway is adorned with blue butterflies hanging from the ceiling as a reminder to children to pollinate the world with kindness and love. “None of this could have happened without the support I received from the principal and teachers,” said Buchan. “We have a segment on the morning announcements about the Kindness Challenge, and everyone has really bought into the whole idea of promoting joy.” Reid Elementary staff hopes the kids use the lessons learned to continue having a heart of compassion as they grow older. Stephanie Shackelford (middle) received hundreds of dollars in gift cards and other prizes from KLTY. S he usually likes to stay behind the scenes, but Brooks Wester Middle School teacher Stephanie Shackelford was front and center to be recognized for a job well done by a local radio station. Hundreds of students and staff gathered in Wester’s gym to honor Shackelford for receiving the 94.9 KLTY Teacher of the Month award. The award is given to deserving teachers who are nominated by the public. Coworker Julia Stephen said she wrote into KLTY after seeing how hard Shackelford worked to raise more than $10,000 for the campus’ Angel Tree program. “She really took the bull by the horns,” said Stephen, seventh grade science teacher. “She did the planning, and put in the hours, and the time, and the energy. She was just incredible to work with— very excited, motivating, and inspirational.” Shackelford said she is in shock and humbled by such acknowledgement. “I’m not used to having the attention on me, so this is all so new for me,” said Shackelford. “I hope students take away from this assembly that when you do good, something good eventually comes to you—even though you’re not doing it to get any sort of recognition for it.” At the award ceremony, the audience received an additional treat by having two members of the world-famous Harlem Globetrotters—Buckets and TNT—speak to them about the importance of having good character. Teacher Sara Buchan smiles with two of her students who have earned blue butterflies. Mansfield School & Family 27