We have had a wonderful start to the 2016-2017 school year. When our doors opened on August 29th for school, our clean, shiny hallways and colorful classrooms were filled with excited voices and much energy. We joke about wanting to capture this youthful fresh energy and save it for when the school year becomes more intense and challenging. Their excitement motivates us.
While busy in our daily work, we remain focused on building and maintaining a growth mindset within our students and ourselves. The term Growth Mindset derives from the research of the world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Dr. Carol Dweck. Dr. Dweck has conducted extensive research into mental mindsets and delineated the differences between a Fixed Mindset (the belief that intelligence is fixed) and a Growth Mindset (the belief that intelligence can grow). A growth mindset in children and adults creates motivation and improves productivity. Striving to use a growth mindset in our classrooms and within various roles will ultimately encourage and challenge students to push themselves and reach new potential.
During the month of September I have spent time in several of our schools meeting with teachers and staff, and visiting classrooms. In mid-September I visited Brecht Elementary and Bucher Elementary, enjoying the day with staff and students. One of my favorite moments occurred at Bucher where a third grader approached me while I was spending time in his classroom and gave me a “big bear hug” (his term for a “big hug”). His care for others was infectious in that classroom and the school.
In October I will be spending two days visiting at Neff Elementary and Schaeffer Elementary, followed by the middle school and high school in November. Each month holds two more school visits, so by the end of the year I will have spent 18 full days in schools with staff and students. It’s a wonderful opportunity to see firsthand the dedicated work of our staff and the academic, social, and behavioral growth of our students.