Relationships First

Relationships First

0.50 USBE Credit
Super Creatives have more consistency in their success because of who they surround themselves with. Relationships matter. This microcredential represents educators who intentionally form and maintain powerful relationships and help their learners understand how to do the same.


To earn this 0.5 USBE credit microcredential you will submit two evidence items from the list below to demonstrate your effective and consistent relationship-building in both your instruction and your personal practices. You will also complete a short written or video reflective analysis. Click Earn This Microcredential to learn more!


You will be charged $25 by the badge provider. You'll be charged at the point you submit your badge for final review.


Relationships, in this context, are not about creating friends. They are about knowing how to create a circle of people you can form a strong bond with and culture of trust, respect and responsibility as well as a commitment to world-class execution. There are psychological limits on how many of these deep relationships one can maintain.


Relationship Circles: Relationship Circles are bounded by sociological and psychological limits about how many people a person can maintain a certain depth of relationship with. University of Oxford researcher, Robin Dunbar, found that there are optimum numbers for different depths. Your core 5 and 15 people are likely the most impactful.


Teacher leader H is working with her teacher team to help each one identify their core 5 people they will professionally most be connected with that are accessible on an almost daily basis to provide mutual support to them. They will also identify their next circle of 10 people that can have the most influence on their work by providing calibration experiences or relationships needed to help shape their environment.

The team has scheduled an activity twice a year with learners to help them connect with adults and peers within the building as well as external mentors and choose who their inner circle of 5 people are and their next circle of 10 who can provide social emotional and academic guidance.


Student Work: Submit 2-4 learner work samples, in which they document who is in each of their circles and why. This evidence should demonstrate your effective instruction on relationships and their influence on creativity. Be sure to follow your district/charter guidelines for student privacy.

Lesson Plan: Submit a lesson plan of your design that you have used in your instruction. This lesson plan should center on an intentional structure for matching learners with adults and other learners with routine time/space and use of protocols to help make these connections happen.

Unit Plan: Submit a unit plan of your design that you have used in your instruction. This unit plan should demonstrate your effective and consistent instruction on relationships and their influence on creativity. This unit plan should include routinely scheduled learning activities to help learners and educators intentionally identify people who are candidates for their circles along with mentoring about how to build and maintain these relationships.

Candidate's Choice: Submit another type of evidence demonstrating your effective and consistent instruction on building and maintaining productive relationships and their influence on creativity.

Candidates are required to make 2 evidence submission(s).

Review Criteria

Criterion 1: Learners and educator are clear about who is in their inner circle of 5 and next circle of another 10 people and why.

Criterion 2: There is routine time and space as well as mentoring assistance to enable learners and educators to form and maintain these relationships.

Criterion 3: Attributes of and how to form powerful and healthy relationships of trust, respect, responsibility and commitment to excellence are part of the mentoring process.


  1. Explain how understanding the importance of Relationships and identifying inner and outer circles has been implemented into your lesson plans.

  2. Discuss how your learners have benefitted from understanding the importance of Relationships and how they are better supporting Relationships personally and academically to help them be more effective.

  3. What are your next steps as an educational leader in forming new or deepening important Relationships and what will inspire new actions, protocols and decisions that can be implemented to support this process?

Review Criteria

Criterion 1: Authenticity – did you actually do it, what have you learned and what are you going to do next?

Criterion 2: Specific next steps for further implementation that will impact more of your practice – what you are going to do more and less of.

Criterion 3: Clarity and focus of impact on learners, where it made a difference and where there are still challenges in the process for the next iteration of implementation.


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Kristen Rowe
Kristen Rowe


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