Strength-Based Learning Cohort (SBLC)

Our Strength-Based Learning Cohort (SBLC) is an educational experience at Kiker that was introduced in the 2011-12 school year. Two teachers, each with third and fourth graders, flexibly group students in ways that promote healthy long-term relationships and deepen academic understanding. We blend grade levels not to accelerate curriculum but to provide opportunity for different ages to learn side by side.

Program Mission

The SBLC is a multiage, multiyear program which nurtures healthy brain development socially, emotionally, and academically to support each member’s growth as self-driven thinkers and learners.

SBLC Core Values

Teachers and students build trust by promoting restorative social and emotional learning practices. Classrooms are student-centered and are designed to empower student responsibility to themselves and the greater learning community. We learn to appreciate differences as opportunities to develop empathy and to see other perspectives. Students develop a greater awareness of their significance and purpose within the community. We don’t just learn facts and techniques, but develop a greater sense of our purpose. We want learners to leave our classroom knowing the power of the word “us” and with the realization that together we are better. “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

We use our two-year journey to explore concepts at a deeper and more complex level. Teachers are able to know each student’s academic needs and to adapt instruction accordingly. We’re able to maximize our learning time by picking up right where we left off. “Remember to take the long view. Life is not a race.” – from The Self-Driven Child by Stixrud and Johnson, 2018

We celebrate a growth mindset and emphasize that effort creates ability. Big and small mistakes are expected and encouraged as growth opportunities, and we maximize self-motivation by promoting autonomy. We value a deep exploration of process and understanding, not simply task completion. Students learn to reflect, self-regulate, and become more self-driven. This develops conscious competence. We invite parents to actively engage in after-school discussion groups and to apply concepts in class with students throughout the year. We believe that how children learn is as important as what children learn. We create an environment that captivates children and helps them understand that “the greatest reward of learning is the opportunity to learn more.” – from Mosaic of Thought by Keene, 2008)

View the SBLC Curriculum Handbook here.