Every Child. Whatever It Takes.


Butterfield Trail Middle School serves 663 students in grades 6 through 8 in Van Buren, Arkansas. The Whole Child approach and its tenets are at the core of the school’s mission, vision, policies, and practices. For its tremendous dedication and many accomplishments, Butterfield Trail Middle School is the 2017 winner of the Vision in Action: The ASCD Whole Child Award!

They begin their focus, as the Whole Child approach does, on a strong foundation of establishing a healthy and safe environment in the school and community. Numerous partnerships and creative use of resources allows Butterfield Trail Middle School to make sure all their students’ basic needs are met, from winter coats and eyeglasses to nutritious food.

Throughout ASCD’s work in the Whole Child approach is the knowledge that strong relationships are one of the most important factors in ensuring both personal and academic success of students. One of the ways in which Butterfield Trail Middle School excels is their emphasis on strong relationships. Teachers prioritize strong relationships with students and amongst their peers, and this collegiality extends to the greater community, too.

This episode of the Whole Child Podcast was taped live at ASCD Empower17 in Anaheim, California.

Listen to the episode below or download here.




  • Karen Endel, serving the Van Buren School District and community as principal of Butterfield Trail Middle School for the past eight years, is a National Board Certified Teacher and completing phase three of the Arkansas Leadership Academy Master Principal program. In her 34th year as an educator, Karen is an advocate for whole child education, serving as a board member for Arkansas ASCD. Karen works collaboratively with all stakeholders to ignite a passion for learning, to empower students to become leaders of their own learning for success in their future.
  • Sheri Cobley, a 6th grade math/science teacher in the Van Buren School District for the past 13 years. She serves on the Butterfield Trail Lead team, co-coordinates BTMS Fishing In the Natural State club, and helps organize STEM activities for girls at the local University of Arkansas Fort Smith.
  • Kellie Jackson, a National Board Certified Teacher in Social Studies-History/Early Adolescence and 7th grade Geography teacher at Butterfield Trail. She has served as the dance team coach and serves on the BTMS Lead Team.  She created the snack-pack program at BTMS and is a founder and facilitator of the Point the Way mentoring program for the Van Buren School District.
  • Kim McCormick, a counselor at Butterfield Trail Middle School with 10 years’ experience, 5 in the classroom and is currently in her 5th year as counselor. She serves on the Lead team at BTMS and has presented at Arkansas ASCD and state counseling and curriculum conferences. She is a founder and facilitator of the Point the Way mentoring program for the Van Buren School District, and works with graduate students in counseling internships.
  • Debra West is a member of the BTMS Lead team and the Curriculum Coach at Butterfield Trail Middle School where her duties include working with all teachers to implement programs that help ensure student success. Along with other school personnel, Debra evaluates student progress based on various teaching and testing methods, and develops plans for individual student growth.  She also works with new teachers to develop strategies for teaching practices and classroom management, as well as offering any other support they might need.

Butterfield Trail Middle School is the eighth recipient of the Vision in Action: The ASCD Whole Child Award. Listen to previous award-winning schools as they share their stories and explain how they ensure that each child in their community is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged:

The Whole Child Podcast: Changing the Conversation About Education seeks to inform and engage educators, parents, community members about what works in today’s schools. Guests include educational leaders, practitioners, policymakers, researchers, and students from around the globe who share their insights about sound education policies and practices that ensure that each student is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged.