Making Kindness Normal

Today we're celebrating a milestone at The Corner, post number 1500, 
with the surprise reveal of our fresh, new, updated look.

I am so over-the-moon with gratitude for our super-fun upgrade.

My friend Barb from Grade Onederful reached out to see if I was ready for an update; she was the one who designed what I'd been using for the last six years, so she knew how long it had been. Touched by her thoughtfulness and kindness, I said yes. Barb is super easy to collaborate with and we had a blast working together. I am so incredibly grateful for the gift of her talent and time.

The template, aptly named Felicity, means intense happiness, which is perfect because people like Barb, who are warming our world with kindness so that kindness becomes the norm, make me intensely happy. 

My new Character Strong sticker on the van makes me pretty happy, too. These treasures ought to be available for purchase {by clicking the image} in the next few weeks, if you want one, too.

My friend Ann is helping make kindness normal just by snapping and then sending me this pretty picture, just because she knows I like rainbows.

An artist at Dawson High School is also helping warm our world
by chalking the walk with bright uplifting messages.

And this student's meditative coloring helps remind us
that there's a need for kindness not only to others, but also to self.

So many powerful ways to help make kindness normal.

Kindness is a beautiful segue into something I've been wanting to share for a while now, a screener that will help assess Social, Academic and Emotional Behavior.

From the University of Missouri news bureau:

More and more administrators, teachers and counselors are taking an interest in screening students for social-emotional and behavioral concerns in an effort to support at-risk children in the classroom. It is important that these screeners are able to accurately and reliably measure such behaviors.

 Wes Bonifay, an assistant professor in the MU College of Education and an expert in psychometrics, the science of measuring mental capacities and processes, established that a student screening tool developed at MU provides statistically valid and reliable measurement of multiple behaviors. Bonifay says this will allow teachers to get a well-rounded view of a student’s challenges and confidently target his or her specific needs in the classroom.

The Social, Academic and Emotional Behavior Risk Screener (SAEBRS) is a teacher rating scale designed to help teachers identify challenges students might be facing. The reliability of the screener means that teachers will be able to accurately measure a student’s overall risk status, as well as the risk related to his or her social, academic and emotional behaviors.

“A child who is struggling with academics is going to need a different intervention than a child with behavioral concerns,” Bonifay said. “Teachers can now put this screener into practice with confidence to diagnose areas of concern and provide tailored help.”

I had the pleasure of learning about this measurement tool from Dr. Bonifay, who kindly agreed to talk with me on the phone about the SAEBRS, an evidence-based screening instrument that is engineered to be as precise as it can possibly be. The SAEBRS includes a 19-item teacher form which will generate a general behavior risk score (and four sub-scores), to be used to identify if a child needs intervention early on. 

As someone who loves to create in the kitchen, I really connected with Dr. Bonifay's baking metaphor, likening his work establishing validity and reliability unto that recipe you have for Grandma's favorite cake. If you are to replicate her delicacy, you need measuring cup precision; any variation isn't likely to give you the exact flavor, texture, or taste you've come to know and expect. 

Such an important tool for our arsenal,
to take away the guess work so that
we can best meet kids where they are
and intervene in the most effective ways possible
to get them successfully to where they're going.

Here's to always carving out wow time
to make kindness an everyday normal occurrence.


  1. Your post made me very happy! And I’m so glad you like the design :)

    I’m looking forward to listening to your talk with Dr. Bonifay (I’m assuming that will be on the podcast?). I love that I get to listen to you once a week now:)

    Take care!

    1. LOVE the design SO so much!!

      Dr. Bonifay and I didn't record for a podcast as I was in Seattle when we connected; instead, he just shared about his work and I took notes, so no upcoming episode with him. He was, however, happy that I was interested in sharing his work with my readers. Such an interesting job, to work in psychometrics.

  2. Loving the new look!!! We use the SAEBRS screener at my school, in fact our MTSS team just created SMART goals today; one relying on the SAEBRS to assess and move students in a more positive direction.


I really enjoy hearing from my readers; thanks for sharing your reflections with us!