Schools that Matter: Teaching the Mind, Reaching the Heart


Steve Van Bockern

Extending his earlier work on the Circle of Courage model of Reclaiming Youth at Risk, the author sets a vision for creating educational communities that meet the wholistic needs of students. Schools that matter foster well-being for both children and adults. These are places of safety where children experience belonging, mastery, independence, and generosity. The author provides specific indicators for developing schools that matter by meeting growth needs.




This book applies Circle of Courage principles to creating schools where all students can thrive. Traditional Aboriginal American philosophies provide a powerful blueprint for human development. Refined over thousands of years rearing children in cultures of respect, the Circle of Courage values provide profound wisdom that is useful in today’s technologically advanced but spiritually impoverished world. The current narrow focus on test scores compromises genuine achievement while failing to develop social and emotional competence. After exploring belonging, mastery, independence, and generosity, the author describes strengthening emotional intelligence in educators as a precursor for effective teaching. He highlights best practices and calls for schools which create both safety and adventure. Specific training in Schools that Matter is available to accompany this book.

University of Winnipeg Faculty of Education Publishing (2018). 158 pages.


“We were colleagues of Dr. Van Bockern on the faculty at Augustana University when we co-authored Reclaiming Youth at Risk: Our Hope for the Future. Our small green book resonated with those working with challenging children and teens. No individual has been more committed to applying Circle of Courage principles to the field of education than Dr. Van Bockern. What has been needed is a comprehensive strategy for transforming schools around the core vision and values of the Circle of Courage. This book fulfills that challenge and will be enthusiastically received by educators worldwide.”
—Larry K. Brendtro, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Special Education, Augustana University
—Martin Brokenleg, EdD, Professor Emeritus of Native American Studies, Augustana University

Additional information

Weight 1 lbs