Adairville School Promotes Peace, Love, Learning

Posted on November 19, 2022 12:59 PM


Over the last two years, students and teachers have seen education evolve in almost every way due to a global pandemic. Now that the roller coaster of change seems to have slowed down and leveled out to a new normal, school leaders are faced with a host of new challenges: student socialization, mental health, and learning loss.

Adairville School has prioritized these needs and captured their strategic plan in an engaging, playful theme--Peace, Love, Learn--complete with tie-dye shirts, bell-bottoms, and flower power. The recurring 70’s theme helps to remind staff of their important goals to support students.


Principal Lori Bouldin and Assistant Principal Cindy Beason noticed that the collective stress, strain, and isolation of the pandemic had impacted student behavior, presenting new challenges and social-emotional struggles. To be proactive, Bouldin and Beason researched the advantages of “restorative practices” in regard to managing student behavior and found this empathy-based approach to be just what students (and teachers) needed to have “peace” in the classroom.

“We saw an overwhelming need to re-orient students to the values--not just to the rules—of Adairville School,” says Bouldin, a 26-year employee of the school. “Qualities like kindness, hospitality, respect, and hard work are the bedrock of our school culture...we realized we needed to reteach those things.”

With the help of Brad Weinstein, best-selling author of Hacking School Discipline, Adairville staff did a book study and attended in-person training to rethink traditional discipline methods. Weinstein’s strategies help teachers be proactive--not reactive--to student misbehavior; to repair relationships rather than isolating students.

 “We still have to hold students accountable, but there has been a shift to a restoration-driven model at our school. We seek to use natural and logical consequences to help kids learn from their mistakes, so they won’t repeat them,” says Beason. Now teachers, staff, and administration are working together to create a peaceful culture of empathy and responsibility.


On the outside, school has resumed as normal; however, social and emotional deficits lie beneath the surface for many students. “The Covid interruption really impacted our students’ sense of belonging,” Bouldin says. “Our students need to feel loved more than ever.” Expectations for all staff to greet students warmly, to engage kids of all ages in meaningful conversation, and to give compliments frequently are the norm. A school-wide mentoring program connects every student to a caring adult and helps nurture all areas of student development and learning. Mental health services are also available for students.

“At Adairville School, we teach the whole child, paying close attention to their social-emotional needs alongside and often before their academic needs,” Beason says. “If a child feels loved and has a strong sense of belonging, it definitely impacts their educational success.”

School leaders rank “love” along with the family feeling as their highest priorities. Teacher Carol Ann Dossett, in cooperation with CTC Instructor Lee Wells’ CAD class, created a 3-D mural that states: “The Adairville School Family: First you are a part of it; then it is a part of you!” to help kids feel the love.


To boost engagement in the classroom, Adairville School teachers attended a five-day training to learn Kagan Cooperative Learning Structures. Strategies for team-building, class-building, cooperation, high-level thinking, and mastery were studied and practiced, so they could be effectively implemented with students.

 “We want our students to be fully invested in the learning,” says Bouldin. “Having numerous engagement tools in your teacher toolbox greatly increases the chances of student interest, focus, and success.”

Adairville teachers have been involved in a number of other professional development opportunities so kids can “learn,” including Pedagogical Design Capacity through WKU, Math Transformational Cycle through GRREC, Primary Literacy Academies through EPIC, and LETRS through KDE. The goal for all members of the Adairville School family is to learn.

Every morning, Adairville School kicks off the day with “The Morning Show” on YouTube Live that streams out to students. Each episode closes with two fingers in the air and a hearty “Peace, Love, Learn!” that can be heard in classrooms and echoing down the hall– a fun reminder of the ideals embraced by Adairville School.



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