Friday, February 3, 2017

Secret handshake helps students learn

Ashley Park Elementary/Middle School is in Charlotte, North Carolina. For the past two years, Barry White has taught 5th grade reading. He knows reading is important for academic success, and he admits that "some of my students come from tough things at home and they may be down, but when they get to my class they know I'm always going to be their cheerleader." How do they know?

Last year, White created a special handshake for one student. Since then, 42 of his 58 reading students have asked for a unique handshake before they enter his classroom and he's learned them all by heart. "I saw them become more invested because I took the time to do a five-second handshake with them," he says. "They could see that I care about them." Each handshake is tailored to the student. "They're geared towards who they are," says White. After a video of White's students went viral, NBC Evening News visited the school to record White's special efforts to increase learning. Ashley Park principal Meghan Loftus says White's strong relationship to his students enables him to hold them to high expectations, and they respond with determination and hard work. To see a video of White greeting students, visit

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