KNIGHTDALE, N.C. (WNCN) – It may not be the most traditional way of teaching but it’s changing lives at Knightdale High School of Collaborative Design.

Students who may have had no chance of going to college or even graduating are now doing just that.

You can see the new approach as you watch teachers shake the hands of students or listen to the conversations in the classroom.

The teaching model is called “Capturing Kid’s Hearts.”

It’s an approach that is just as much about getting to know each student, and each student getting to know each teacher, as it is about learning.

“Knowing, OK this is a safe place for me to either succeed or to fail and if I do, then if I do I’m going to have people to help me get back up and learn,” said biology teacher Cally Hudson.

She said the change in her students has been dramatic and that it’s also changed her.

“You wake up in the morning and you’re like, ‘OK i’m going to go to work today’ and I usually think, ‘OK, I’m going to see this kid today. I can’t wait to ask them what happened at their basketball game that they were talking about’ or something like that.”

“What we notice in the hallways is that kids are a lot calmer because they’re going to a classroom they feel comfortable in,” Jim Argent told CBS North Carolina.

Argent is the school principal.

He said he knew they had to try something different.

“In order for kids to truly be successful you have to have relationships and you have to have instruction that is engaging and rigorous and innovative and really meaningful to students,” Argent said.

Mahogany Atkison is a student who said the approach to teaching has made a big difference in her life.

“Before I had troubles. I was like a troubled student. Now I want to go to ECU and I want to be a nurse practitioner and do big things,” Atkinson said.

Argent said that’s the point.

“We want every student college ready and if a student chooses not to go to college we want it to be because they choose not to not because they can’t,” Argent said.

Knightdale High School was just recognized as a “National Showcase School.”

It’s one of just 52 schools in the country honored for the success of the program.

“To have them validated, to have our teachers to be able to say yeah we’re doing something special that really makes me feel good,” said Argent.