KCSD’s Bancroft School hosts national ‘Responsive Classroom’ conference

Educators seek ‘a high quality education, for every child, everyday’

By Kim Chiomento, News Editor, The Times


Attendees at this week’s Responsive Classroom conference.

NEW GARDEN – This week more than 120 educators gathered at Kennett Consolidated School District’s (KCSD) Bancroft Elementary School to receive training on the Responsive Classroom (RC) approach. The conference’s goals include attaining greater teacher effectiveness, higher student achievement, and fostering improved school climates.

The program places a strong focus on four key areas: engaging academics, positive community, effective management and developmental awareness. The Responsive Classroom website reports “Each year we provide training to more than 10,000 teachers and administrators from over 40 states, the District of Columbia, and the international school community.This approach has been recognized by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) as one of the most well-designed, evidence-based social and emotional learning programs.”


Bancroft Principal and conference host, Leah McComsey.

Bancroft is the only school in the region selected to host the conference, which had attendees travel from a large and diverse geographical area. The Times spoke with attendees from North Carolina, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey and Maryland; and learned that both private and public school representatives were present.

Curious of why Bancroft and KCSD were chosen, The Times asked Principal and conference host, Leah McComsey, how this selection came to be. McComsey explained that while attending a RC leadership conference in Boston several years ago, she decided to pursue how to bring the conference and training to Kennett. “I knew it would be an opportunity for more KCSD teachers to receive the training, as well as a great way to spotlight the incredible work we are doing in our schools.”

When asked about what RC means McComsey says, “The RC philosophy is based on the research that shows us that children learn when they feel comfortable and accepted in their school environment. It also focuses on the social and emotional child so that the academics can happen for all children to learn. An environment of respect is established where children feel safe to take academic risks and challenges since they know they will be supported even if they make mistakes. It also supports the idea that good kids make wrong choices from time to time and we can help them recognize the intrinsic motivations for making the right choices.”

KSCD has implemented various levels of the RC approach within its schools. McComsey reports that the RC methods are powerful; and she believes they are directly contributing to an increase in positive Bancroft student behavior and displays of respect children show toward their fellow students.



KCSD’s Bancroft elementary hosts a diverse group of conference attendees.

“I am exceptionally proud to host this National conference for KCSD; and I’m thrilled to be the leader that brought this to our area,” says an enthusiastic McComsey, “ I invite anyone to come and see the positive impact of RC for themselves!”

For more information about the Responsive Classroom initiative, visit responsiveclassroom.org

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  1. Sandy Beach says:

    I commend Bancroft and its leadership for hosting this conference. I was trained in Responsive Classroom techniques 15 years ago, and it was amazing! It was very beneficial for my students and me. In the frenzy of common core, high stakes testing and the whirlwind of educational expectations, its research based philosophy and years of documented success are refreshing and much needed. Responsive classrooms nurture a caring and accepting environment that will prevent bullying type of behaviors and reduce the amount of time spent on conflict management and behavior issues. These classrooms are positive and allow students to improve their academic, social, and emotional skills, which are all important for becoming successful adults. Good for KCASD!

    • TE Resident says:


      How does hosting this conference work? It sounds wonderful, and I’d like to know how to get it in our area.

      In my research, I have found that instead of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on fencing, and $4.5 M that will cost $6M to repay for a maintenance building constructed in the middle of a neighborhood no one wants, like we’re doing in TE, it would be better to fund programs that teach conflict resolution, anti-bullying, anger management, and emotional intelligence.

      Tax payer money should be spent on services and programs that benefit students.

      This one sounds like a winner.


  2. TE Resident says:

    Did you see this? http://patch.com/pennsylvania/newtown-pa/bill-delaying-keystone-exam-graduation-requirement-approved-pa-senate

    Senate bill 880 passed giving extra time, until 2019, to work out unintended consequences of the Keystone Exams.

    2019. That doesn’t help me, Mike or Kelly, but it’s something. 🙁

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