Select Page

SFS’s CEO Todd Whitlock talks with Bart Teal, President and Founder of Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence, about student engagement in the classroom. Teal starts by explaining that engagement is the first thing he looks for in classroom success, whether that means students are under desks or on tables—he wants to leave any classroom with an idea of how many students are engaged and the reasons the rest may not be. 

Teal says after identifying engagement levels he looks for other things, such as what students are learning once they are engaged. He looks for students to engage in the material so they can succeed on the necessary tests and complete a mastery of the core subjects.

Blue Ribbon’s program Blueprint for Success was created to be a roadmap that allows schools to assess where they are so they understand how to arrive at a destination where they can achieve their goals. Standard for Success fits into this system, which has 122 data points in 9 total categories, giving an overall assessment that maps out the right plan for schools. Blue Ribbon collects and creates data in a transparent manner and shares it with administrators, Whitlock adds, giving information like self-reported surveys from parents, students, and staff that can then be investigated to see what is really happening to figure out the best pathway to success.

Teal says that in addition to engagement, inspiration for both students and teachers is necessary. After fixing a school’s culture and leadership, inspiration can then take hold in the hearts of schools. Teal says his favorite way to assess students is by asking them to teach him what they’ve learned, and if they can teach him the lesson they’ve learned, he knows they’re doing well in the classroom.

Teal says that SFS plays a vital role in keeping teachers inspired by giving them immediate feedback, helping them grow and keep students engaged. By working together with teachers in the classroom and allowing them to be a part of their own growth, schools as a whole can begin to succeed—one evaluation at a time.

For the full conversation, be sure to watch the video below—then visit to share your thoughts!

Featured Articles