Saturday, August 31, 2013

Grit-lurking to learn more about the research behind GRIT

AP Annual Conference 2013 Keynote: True Grit-Angela Lee Duckworth

     Our Cluster is very interested in helping all of our students attain/develop the resilience and grit needed to gain admission and to be successful in college. To be honest, most of our students will attend college. We have high expectations for our students. We are not, however, a "No Excuses" school.
     Our student population, as a public open enrollment charter school, differs only from the local school districts in that we are  schools of choice. Our parents choose every morning to bring their students to our schools. We do also provide city bus passes. So, our parents have grit. They made the choice and stick to their choice daily for the educational benefit our Cluster can offer their children.
Our test scores tend to be above the state and regional scores.  We desire to continue to encourage our students to strive for their own personal success.
    LISA Academy Cluster, under the direction of APSRC, is implementing Dr. Jane E. Pollock's GANAG lesson planning format to use research-based neurological best practices with our students. We know that all students can learn-but that the students must do the work to achieve their dreams.  With this in mind, my mind was piqued by  Educational Leadership, Volume 71 Number 1 regarding resilience.  We need students who can stick to it, who can stay the course. The majority of our AP students have this ability. Our regular students, are quite a different story. They have learned to be persistent in ducking assignments. They have learned to function as a pack. Both of these are useful skills, but will not help these students achieve the fruitful life of their dreams.
     I began my journey into Grit by reading Angela Lee Duckworth's interview in Educational Leadership regarding grit. I committed the time to re-view the entire 45 minute AP Conference Keynote. It was well worth my time. In addition to the myriad data sets that we currently use to inform the educational decisions in our cluster, we also need to seriously implement  research-based psychological best practices with our students. This Keynote was well worth the 45 minutes. Our AP and regular teachers will view this video for professional development. Grit is defined by Duckworth as "perseverance and passion for long-term goals,"  which is exactly what our Cluster desires for our students.
     What is your school doing to encourage grit with your students? What are your best practices?
Please share.

Perkins-Gough, D. (2013, Sept). The significance of grit: a conversation with Angela Lee Duckworth. 
      Educational Leadership. Retrieved from

Thursday, August 22, 2013

First week of school 2013-A simple question.

I've have the privilege to serve as the Cluster of Director of Curriculum. Huh? I lead the development and implementation of curriculum across 5 campuses in Central Arkansas. I spend 2 1/2 days on each side the Arkansas River at LISA Academy. This is a thrilling time for LISA Academy. It is a thrilling time for me, personally. After 7 years on the West campus in a variety of positions, I am now straddling the river (perhaps unfortunate phrase) serving 5 schools on two different campuses.

Our first week continues to be inspiring. Our triad of passionate teachers, parents and students have made this first week of this year very satisfying as an educator. Our teachers on both sides of the river have spent the summer creating common units and common assessments so that LISA Academy can become even more data driven. Watching colleagues begin/continue to collaborate for the good of our students has been heartening.

Having worked in a 6-12 school for 8 years, I am especially enjoying spending time on our elementary campus. The smallest darlings and their parents kept me smiling all day on Monday.  I am truly blessed by this experience. Bouncing between similar, yet divergent campuses is a challenge, but it helps keep my eye on the importance of the Triad of passionate teachers, parents and students.

My question is simply. How does your campus keep the passion level high?