Episode 80

The Energy Bus School

December 11, 2017 | Leadership
Guest:Franco Gallo, Maura Neville and Jake Alferio

Host Carole Dorn-Bell talks with Franco Gallo (superintendent of Keystone Local School District), Maura Neville (principal of Keystone Elementary) and Jake Alferio (assistant principal of Keystone Elementary) about The Energy Bus School.

Maura discusses how The Energy Bus School started for Keystone after being inspired by “The Energy Bus” by Jon Gordon. She says “The Energy Bus” encourages people to look on the positive side of life, and when they found out “The Energy Bus” was launching a school program, they were excited to get on board.

Maura says that following the principles of “The Energy Bus” has transformed Keystone Elementary.

“It really truly transforms your culture because it develops positive relationships within not just the staff and students, but the community as well,” Maura says.

She says that they were seeing more and more students coming to school despondent, and “The Energy Bus” has helped put the spark back into students.

Franco says he took over as the superintendent and continued as the Keystone High School principal, and he said a football coach introduced him to “The Energy Bus” while he was struggling to balance both the new and old role.

Franco says the book helped him understand how to establish a new positive culture with his new leadership role. He distributed the book to his staff members in leadership roles, and it really connected with a lot of staff members. In the next school year, they gave every single employee a copy of “The Energy Bus.”

Carole says it’s inspiring that they’ve been able to carry this concept of positivity throughout everything that they do.

Maura says that at the elementary school, the feedback from both staff and parents has been fantastic.

“It was very cool to be one the first five Energy Bus Schools in the country last year, and now in year two it’s really about student leadership,” Maura says.

Jake says a big theme of “The Energy Bus” is to find the positive in every situation, and that’s really resonated with the staff. He says it’s also helped students address their own behavioral issues.

Carole mentions a New York Times article about how stress levels in students are at an all-time high. She also mentions a recent podcast with CJ Soliday about how to keep more students in schools.

Jake explains how the program has tiers and how it addresses issues with the classroom with a more open-minded, flexible mindset.

Maura says they were surprised by how much of a buy-in they immediately got from staff when they presented The Energy Bus School concept. She says several people have told them that “The Energy Bus” changed their lives. Parents have also been energized by The Energy Bus School.

Franco says there isn’t one single silver bullet to fix issues within a school district, but constantly sticking with The Energy Bus School principles has been really beneficial for them. He says being positive every day and being genuine are their keys to success.

Jake says that their success is largely due to taking the time to understand what pieces of “The Energy Bus” would work for their school. They’ve been able to cater the language of The Energy Bus School to different ages.

To learn more about “The Energy Bus”, visit http://theenergybus.com/. If you have questions about implementing the principles of “The Energy Bus” in your school, please feel free to call the Keystone Board of Education Office at 440-355-2424 and ask for Franco Gallo.

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