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  • Brown explains to CafeMom that she got the idea for the box at the end of last school year.

    I Need box
    Julia Brown

    "We did a campus wide survey of the students," she shares. "One of the questions asked the student to name an adult on campus they felt they could go to with anything. About 10 percent of our student population answered 'no one.' As the creator of the survey, I was privy to the data. A couple of the students who answered no one were my students. That about broke my heart and weighed heavily on my mind all summer. The 'I Need' box was born from that. ... It was my desire to make sure my students knew I was there for them no matter what they needed, large or small."

    Brown shared on Facebook that the box serves as "a way for my students to ask for help without having to come directly to me. They would write it on a card and leave it in the box. The first week, two boys let me know about a bullying situation. We got it taken care of. The next week I changed the format a little and starting having EVERY student put a card in the box every day. They didn’t have to write on it, but every student visits the box daily. Since then, I’ve had a plethora of 'needs' submitted. They range from specific supply needs, seat changes, special handshakes when entering class, after school help, bullying situations, and even daily hugs." 

    She also reports that since introducing the box, "students are starting to come to me directly with issues/challenges they are having bypassing the box completely. I’ve been teaching middle school for 15 years, and I can honestly say this is the best thing I’ve ever done to reach my kids this early in the school year."

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  • The teacher's post quickly wracked up 70K shares and nearly 8K comments that were overwhelmingly positive, praising not only the idea, but the way she's executed it. 

  • One commenter noted that this isn't the first time she's heard of the concept; she had a teacher who did it back in the '90s, and she still remembers her experience.

  • Others shared their similar strategies for cultivating trust and cheered Brown on for empowering her students to speak up.

  • All of these positive effects of the "I Need" box are to be applauded. So too is the fact that Brown has inspired other educators to try it in their classrooms. 

    "The response has been overwhelming from the post," she tells CafeMom. "Many other educators have said they were going to implement it. Other teachers on my campus have already done so. I’m so excited that it’s spreading, because of the good it will do for all the students."

    Cheers to that.