Aaron Brengard, Principal at Katherine Smith Elementary SchoolEverything starts with relationships. Academic achievement matters, but it’s not the only indicator of school success. Student engagement and the connection to the adults in the school are also important.Relationship building at K. Smith begins with breakfast. This not only helps every student start the day with a well-balanced meal, but it allows teachers to get to know their students. Many classes use breakfast as a time for morning meetings to talk about current events, share stories, or check in on how things are going. A favorite morning meeting activity is “rose and thorn” where everyone shares one thing going well and one thing that has been difficult. This makes for a “family-like” feel and helps the teacher stay connected to everything.Katherine Smith School is a public, neighborhood New Tech elementary school in the Evergreen School District in San Jose, CA.

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