When I accepted the position as principal at Langley Elementary in Washington, D.C., I had two objectives in mind: one, to empower teachers who truly care about supporting the whole child, and two, to inspire a schoolwide culture shift.

Langley Elementary has historically struggled with dropping student enrollment numbers, a rise in suspension rates, and an unimpressive student satisfaction rate—all factors linked to an incohesive school culture. A rise in charter schools in the area has resulted in a competition between public and private education, and the gentrification of area neighborhoods has tension at an all-time high. With behavioral challenges and...

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  • About the Author:

    Vanessa Drumm-Canepa is principal at Langley Elementary in Washington, D.C. She graduated from Duke University in 2004 with a major in history and minor in English, and during her senior year took an education class and volunteered at a local community center where she fell in love with teaching and found her calling. She works closely with teachers to identify best practices for the classroom and teaching the whole child, always considering emotional development as much as academics.