Berkshire high school

Working with Students and Partners in Ohio Schools

Last week, Laura Beth, Kyle and I took a road trip to Cleveland, OH and spent a week with educators, School Resource Officers, and students. It was a blast and we can’t wait to share the highlights with you!


The Town of Chardon and the broader Northeast Ohio region have a special place in our heart. Throughout graduate school, the Actively Caring group from VT  and I traveled over 12,000 miles from Blacksburg, VA to Northeast, OH and back to deliver workshops to Chardon HS after their 2012 shooting and neighboring schools.  Although Monday of last week marked the 5th year anniversary of their shooting (read Blog by Chardon alumnae Kaylynn Hill), it was also a day of idea generation and sharing of best practices at a conference held by the Coach Hall Foundation: Providing a safe environment for our school children: A layered approach. We presented with speakers who shared our passion for violence prevention and more compassionate schools, including representatives from Chardon High School, Ohio Department of Education, National Association of School Resource Officers, and Sandy Hook Promise.

Personally, it was humbling to present at this event. Sports Illustrated refers to the Coach Frank Hall as an “american hero” for his courage after he chased the shooter out of the Chardon school building. When we visited Chardon for the first time in May 2012, we delivered a school-wide assembly and held breakout sessions. I remember Coach Hall encouraging some of his more quiet football players to “speak up and share ideas” in my student group as we led a workshop on healing, care, and community building.

Laura Beth, Kyle, Shane of the Cor Foundation & Coach Frank Hall, Principal Andy Fetchik

Laura Beth, Kyle, Shane of the Cor Foundation & Coach Frank Hall, Principal Andy Fetchik

We shared our story, research and programming with the 140+ conference participants (educators and School Resource Officers) at the Paradigm building in Mentor, OH. The response was overwhelmingly positive and we look forward to more partnerships with more northeast OH schools in Fall 2017.


On Tuesday, we finalized training and plans for our forthcoming Actively Caring summit on Friday at Berkshire HS (Burton, OH). Then, we drove to the beautiful new school building of Streetsboro High School for a workshop on goodness friendships. Inspired by an article in About Campus by Dr. Frank Shushok, which highlights the three types of friendships as defined by Aristotle, our Program Director Kyle Pacque developed a new workshop about pleasure, utility, and goodness friends.  We believe our workshop on goodness friends is one of the most important ways for us to promote personal well-being, a positive school climate and a more connected society.


On wednesday, we visited students at Berkshire High School (Burton, OH) for a workshop on followership. Leadership seems to be the golden term. Everyone is told they should be a leader, but in reality, there are much more followers than leaders in teams. In order for students to accomplish critical team goals related to Actively Caring at their school, they must understand the types of followers. A search on Google books for leadership reveals 12,900,000 results compared to 73,000 for followership. Yes, 176 times more books on leadership than followership. Woah!  In his article, In Praise of Followers, Robert Kelly discusses four types of followers: sheep, “yes” people, and alienated followers, and effective followers. During this workshop, students learn the causes and outcomes associated with each follower type and how to apply effective followership to their own life and club.

Then, Chardon Alumnae Kaylynn Hill and her friends in Actively Caring at Lakeland Community College met us at a unique coffee shop -- full of all antique furniture. They updated us on the progress of AC @ LCC and shared some stories.


On Thursday, we delivered the followership workshop to the Chardon Leadership class. Formulated as a means to sustain the Actively Caring Club originally formed in 2012, Chardon’s Leadership class serves as a means to sustain Actively Caring programming and initiatives. Then, we drove to Cleveland to meet with Seema Sharma, our new Kevin R. Lawall Fellow, who will deliver the middle school curriculum at East Clark K-8 school in East Cleveland. Laura Beth and I trained her on the research and middle school program.  For dinner, we joined Alexis and Dana of Centreville High School (VA) to share more about our work and the students in these Ohio schools.


Daily, high school students from neighboring schools are brought together to compete, but on this Friday, March 3rd, 75 high school students from four high schools focused on collaboration rather than competition. We partnered with Berkshire Local Schools, Sandy Hook Promise, and the Coach Hall Foundation to connect, train and empower students from Berkshire Junior/Senior High School, Chardon High School, Mentor High School, and Streetsboro High School at the 2017 Actively Caring Summit.

The 2017 Actively Caring Summit was the third held in Northeast OH.

  • The Summit began with a message from Cor Foundation staff, Superintendent Doug DeLong of Berkshire Local Schools, along with Cor character coaches from Lakeland Community College and Allegheny College (Berkshire and Chardon HS alumnae)
  • Each high school received a tailored workshop based on their unique school issues and aspirations in order to ensure the sustainability of programming

  • Sandy Hook Promise Leader, Casey Durkin delivered the Sandy Hook Promise: Start With Hello presentation (Ohio Program Coordinator Patricia Parker-Perry and Tony Baker were present)

  • Student participants worked collaboratively through team-building exercises to develop cross-district relationships for future community-wide Actively Caring initiatives.

  • Students had a "family style" lunch to share ideas with students at different schools, provide new ideas for our mobile app, and work collaboratively.

For example, the marble run activity instructed students to get a marble (a gumball for us) from one cup to the other using half pipes. This required leadership (and followership) to emerge, students to communicate and provide feedback between attempts when failure occurred. The mixture of thoughtful activities with student discussion led to high engagement and meaningful connection to their respective clubs.


It was a busy, yet motivating, week in Ohio schools. We cannot wait to see Actively Caring continue to grow from these empowered student leaders!

Thanks for reading, Shane