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Habits of Mind

The Vision of a Habits of Mind Learning Community of Excellence

We are often asked, “How would you know when and if the Habits of Mind have been infused?” We usually respond by saying that we’d know it when there is a “harmony of heart and mind”: when it is mindfully infused throughout the curriculum, instructional practices, assessment strategies, the people in and the culture of the schools — not just a Habits of Mind school but truly a “mindful school” dedicated to improving society. There is implementation fidelity in evidence. Furthermore, we believe this is never-ending journey towards infusion rather than a status to be achieved. It becomes a “way of being” rather than a ”thing to do.”

– from Costa, A & Kallick, B. (2009) Learning and Leading with Habits of Mind: 16 Characteristics of Success. Alexandria, ASCD

CHSVT Habits of Mind Mission Statement

CHSVT is a mindful school that infuses the Habits of Mind into its practices and policies. Students will learn to become critical thinkers and develop a sense of inquiry, exactness, and flexible thinking from new perspectives.

Vermont Department of Corrections Commitment Statement

The Vermont Department of Corrections is committed to integrating the Habits of Mind as strength-based cognitive skills of success that can be taught, coached, role modeled, and practiced. The Habits of Mind should be displayed through graduated practice as participants show growth in using the Habits in increasingly difficult situations.

7 Guiding Principles for Habits of Mind Integration with Corrections Education

  • Explicitly establish expectations via the Habits of Mind. Habits are at the center of what we teach, model, and coach.
  • Consistently employ the Habits of Mind throughout the classroom, workplace, and school community. Habits are internalized through hearing and applying them throughout the day.
  • Apply the Habits to multiple settings, varied circumstances, contexts, and situations. Habits are utilized when solving multiple life, workplace, and educational problems.
  • Operationalize the Habits of Mind as actions. Habits are performed daily to increase capability.
  • Develop a vocabulary for deeper thinking and learning through the Habits of Mind. Increase fluency and meaning of the Habits.
  • Reflect on the Habits of Mind to set goals for improvement. Monitor, discuss, and inform decisions through the Habits.
  1. Model the Habits of Mind in all we do. Habits help us coach for growth and improvement.

         — Adapted from Costa, A & Kallick, B. (2014) Dispositions, Reframing Teaching and Learning.  Corwin Press

CHSVT Habits of Mind Timeline

Community High School of Vermont (CHSVT) began using the Habits of Mind (HOM) in 2003, when it initiated the Workforce Development Program (WDP) with funding from a US Department of Education Life Skills grant. Since that time, CHSVT has developed a partnership with the Institute for Habits of Mind (IHOM). Steps that CHSVT has taken on its HOM journey include:


  • Faculty members use Dispositions, Reframing Teaching and Learning to infuse CHSVT Student Learning Outcomes, HOM, Common Core State Standards, and 21st Century Learning Outcomes as educational outcomes for CHSVT students


  • CHSVT receives International Learning Community of Excellence Certification from IHOM


  • HOM curriculum and assessment practices enhanced through workshops and coaching to ensure that students are learning to use HOM, and three  tracks are defined to meet Corrections population needs:
    • Education - intelligent behaviors, with explicit education in each HOM
    • Workplace Fundamentals - practicing HOM to develop positive work ethics
    • Pro-social Thinking - skill-based application of HOM for productive, non-criminal thinking


  • CHSVT participates in a four-day IHOM HOM Foundation Course training
  • HOM are integrated into established CHSVT Student Learning Outcomes
  • HOM are infused into new CHSVT Curriculum Framework, offering integrated HOM in all courses instead of a single HOM course
  • CHSVT HOM Growth Plan is developed


  • HOM bookmarks, posters, colored classroom cards, description posters are printed, displayed, and distributed to all CHSVT campuses


  • Art Costa, Bena Kallick and Michelle DeBellis lead a two-day HOM conference in Vermont hosted by CHSVT
  • Faculty members receive copies of Learning and Leading with Habits of Mind, 16 Essential Characteristics for Success to guide their work
  • Bena Kallick and Michelle DeBellis return to Vermont, assisting CHSVT administrators to initiate creation of an integrated HOM action plan
  • Faculty members receive copies of Habits of Mind Across the Curriculum, Practical and Creative Strategies for Teachers to provide tools to integrate HOM with coursework


  • CHSVT partners trained in HOM, and all seventeen CHSVT campuses use and teach HOM


  • WDP Workforce Development Program Manual revised


  • WDP Strength-Based Supervision Staff Training curriculum written to provide on-going support for WDP staff


  • WDP Workforce Development Program Manual published using HOM as “cognitive attributes for managing life’s challenges”
  • WDP Habits of Mind Curriculum revised and reprinted


  • WDP Habits of Mind Curriculum written and implemented at three of seventeen CHSVT campuses, in St. Albans, Newport and Windsor, Vermont, and made possible by a US Department of Education Life Skills grant


  • HOM introduced as model behaviors for staff working with WDP participants, using Habits of Mind: A Developmental Series

For additional information about CHSVT and the Habits of Mind, see:

16 Habits of Mind. After Arthur L. Costa and Bena Kallick, Habits of Mind: A Developmental Series. 2000.

Dispositions: Reframing Teaching and Learning. Costa, Arthur L., and Kallick Bena. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin. 2014.0

Habits of Mind across the Curriculum: Practical and Creative Strategies for Teachers. Costa, Arthur L., and Kallick Bena. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2009.

Learning and Leading with Habits of Mind 16: Essential Characteristics for Success. Costa, Arthur L., and Kallick Bena. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2008.

Research Demonstration Project. Workforce Development Program, Vermont Department of Corrections. Funded by US Department of Education, Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools, Corrections Education, “Life Skills for Prisoners”. Published June 2005, Revised January 2007.

Strength-Based Supervision: Supportive Authority, Intentional Interventions, and Habits of Mind. Written by Chico Martin and Diane Robie with contributions from Joe Aldrich, John Gorczyk, Brian Bilodeau, Christine Leslie, and Dana Lesperance. Developed in collaboration with the Vermont Department of Corrections by Vermont Consultants for Language and Learning (dba) Nine East Network, Montpelier, Vermont. December 1, 2006.

U.S. Department of Education Grant Performance Report (ED 524B) for the Vermont Department of Corrections Life Skills for State and Local Prisoners Programs Grant. Submitted to the Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE), US Department of Education, December 2007.

Vermont’s Workforce Development Program Evaluation: Offender-Specific Goals. Submitted to the Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE), US Department of Education, December 2007.

Vermont’s Workforce Development Program Evaluation: Organizational Culture. Submitted to the Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE), US Department of Education, December 2007.