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of participants reported stronger relationships with their students as a result of participating in Innocent Classroom.

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Free children to achieve.

Innocent Classroom teacher training rebuilds the relationship between educators and their students, especially students of color. Our workshops equip teachers with understanding and practical strategies for connecting with every child — and channeling those relationships into learning and growth.

In five years, we have transformed the dynamic at over 170 schools in districts with some of the country’s widest gaps in achievement.

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Our education system fails millions of our children. Poor grades, negative behavior and low graduation rates are accepted as the norm — with lasting consequences for students’ education and our social fabric.


We have not prepared teachers to teach all our children. The gap between educators’ lived experience and the students they teach grows every day, fueling the negative stereotypes that undermine achievement.


Our children are not who the world says they are. Regardless of virulent negative stereotypes, every student is innocent or has the potential to reclaim his or her innocence. Every child is worthy of the investment of passionate educators.

Our Solution
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Teachers hold the key. By running toward the children who need them most, teachers unburden students of the weight of negative expectations: from guilt to innocence, from failure to achievement. This relationship transforms lives.

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Every child has unlimited potential. By building one-on-one relationships with their students, teachers nurture an environment where self-worth grows and personal and academic success can flourish.


As more teachers take up the challenge, it changes the school: vocabulary shifts, practices evolve, and the culture rallies around students who are most wounded. Schools make progress as a community — classroom by classroom, year after year.

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Students… expect to be seen as disruptive, angry, argumentative, defiant, and unmotivated. But if someone hears them, respects them, cares about them, and tries to see their good, they change. They become approachable. They want to listen and learn.

Innocent Classroom Participant,
Minneapolis Public Schools

Proven to narrow the achievement gap.

Innocent Classroom is having a significant impact in districts with some of the country’s deepest divides, including Omaha, Nebraska and Minnesota’s Twin Cities. Our approach to building relationships improves student performance and teacher practice where other programs fall short.

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