Tonight, our school will hold an Awards Night to recognize students for exceptional GPAs, Service Work and other academic accomplishments.
Not one student will receive recognition for work achieved in a day or a week. These kind of successes require dedication throughout the school year.
Here is a continuation of my notes on Paul Tough’s research regarding “grit, curiosity, and the hidden power of character” as it pertains to children:
“Duckworth realized self-control has limitations. She believed that a passionate commitment to a single mission and an unswerving dedication to achieve that mission are more relevant when it comes to inventing something new or creating an award-winning (movie)/project. She called this characteristic grit.”
She created a 12 (now 10) question survey that turned out to be a remarkably accurate predictor of success.
It was more accurate a predictor of graduation rates for West Point than their own assessments.
Levin, Randolph, Seligman and Peterson narrowed a set of strengths that were indicators of life success and happiness:
They then created a “character report card”
Much confusion among educators regarding “character” – is it moral? Is it “performance character?”
Wealthy families may have “helicopter” parents (parents who hover over their kids as they do homework, sports, etc) but that does NOT mean they are spending quality family time together. In fact, many high-achieving, wealthy families are not closely bonded.
KIPP used to practice a lot of disciplinary action (some of which Levin regretted)
SLANT – stand up, listen, ask questions, nod, and track – taught at KIPP 5th grade
Code-switching – you must learn and practice proper behavior for the museum, college interview and nice restaurants
Rich kids at Riverdale wear casual clothes and slouch
Kids at KIPP are taught to have good posture and track teachers…formal speech
The administrators of both schools disagree on this point – what should students be taught?
[a summary of pages 1 – 20]
ACE Score (Adverse Childhood Experiences) – A risk factor assessment for identifying childhood traumatic incidences. This score provides a probability factor for academic success/failure (as well as life success). You can take the quiz here.
There is evidence that scoring high on ACE can prove detrimental for life, even if the “victim” does not engage in any self-destructive behavior.
One shocking statistic: “ACE scores of 6 were 30x more likely to attempt suicide than ACE scores of 0.”
Funneling hundreds of thousands of dollars and replacing teaching and administrative staff are not successful strategies for improving schools. Take Fenger High School in Chicago, for example. They tried every possible strategy from replacing staff to creating a technology program. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation even financed them with a $21 million grant. Two years later, little to no results.
What works? Well, stay tuned. I will post summaries of my research every Sunday afternoon.
Mesa Academy of Advanced Studies students are so smart, that directions in my English class can be projected in two different languages.
Dear Ms. K.,
I want to thank you for giving my daughter detention today. Per our previous email, you informed me that she has been late to your class every day for several days. This baffled me, as I drop her off an hour early and you are her first class of the day. After several warnings, you emailed me to let me know that should she be late again, she would get detention. I assured you she would not repeat that mistake.
But of course, I cannot guarantee the actions of anyone besides myself.
After confronting her, she hurriedly assured me she learned her lesson. She explained that she gets hungry and her friend meets her to bring her food. Her friend is not always so quick.
Oh, are we blaming our friend?
No, no. It’s not her fault. Mom, it won’t happen again!
I try to give my daughter freedom within strict guidelines. A “C” in a class at any time means her cell phone gets confiscated until the grade goes up. How she operates within her hours and activities is up to her.
When I remind her to make time for breakfast in the mornings and to pack a snack, I am met with heavy sighs. She is too busy styling her hair and applying makeup to worry about breakfast.
So it happened again today. She didn’t eat breakfast. She got hungry and met her friend. She was late to your class. And, as you promised, she will now have to serve detention – one hour after school tomorrow.
In the car, she was shaken. She’s never had this kind of consequence from a teacher before.
“It’s my fault. I got hungry. I didn’t pack any snacks or eat breakfast. It’s my responsibility. I will pack food the night before.”
I wanted to lecture her and reinforce the lesson. I wanted to voice my dismay and disappointment. Instead, I said, “I am very proud of you for taking responsibility for this and not blaming anyone.”
Thank you, Ms. K., for doing the right thing. You are helping my daughter develop character and responsibility.
Sometimes, the best teachers are not our favorites.
The best teachers in my life have been bad bosses, miserable jobs, serious illnesses and cruel “friends.”
Where there’s pain, there’s a lesson.