Capturing Kids’ Hearts may be the name of a teaching workshop held Tuesday morning, but the hearts of participating Thrall teachers were captured as well.

Held in the Williamson County Expo Center, the workshop gathered teachers from Thrall ISD and taught them about the importance of creating an impactful communication style with students.

“The whole thing is being positive,” McDade said. “We always talk about building safety and [that’s] getting to know our students, building those relationships, getting our kids to be good to each other and just showing our hearts to capture the hearts of the kids.”

Topics, such as body language, being engaged and being a good role model were discussed. Group discussions and exercises concerning those topics were activities that Leadership Advisor Eric McDade said were imperative to the proper development of the student.

McDade works with Flippen Group, a company that specializes in training educators to develop effective communication styles. They created the workshop in a bid to not only make students feel safe, but heard and cared for.

Thrall Superintendent Tommy Hooker said Thrall is doing a district-wide initiative to build better relationships with students in today’s society.

“Students come with so much from home and from life,” he said. “They bring so much into the classroom that is a concern for them and this is a way to help them cope and help us work with the concerns at hand.”

This program identifies that the teachers, administrators and adults are able to help students cope with issues, according to Hooker. The goal is to get students confortable enough to discuss those issues, which might be instrumental in decreasing probability of violence among students.

“Our model is to be able to talk to students and [have them] talk to their peers,” he said. “Then, perhaps, you can identify when someone may be struggling on a minor or more serious level and you can identify those things before something unfortunate for them happens. It helps with the abuse, suicide, mental health and coping. When students find out they’re not alone in this, it’s really building a support network around them.” 

The workshop is a model from the Flippen Group, which was crated by Flip Flippen and is being used in over 40 states. This is McDade’s 10th summer consulting for the company. He hopes to see schools change in a more positive way after his decade of work.

“We’ll continue to make impacts and be transformational for the districts that we [serve],” he said.

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