Tell Your Parents You Love Them

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Back in the fall of 1998 I was working as the Dean of Students at McCord Middle School.  After school I would work as an assistant football coach at McCord for then head coach Tom Lichtenberg.  Tom was a fascinating man who was once the head football coach at Ohio University and was previously the Offensive Coordinator at Ohio State and Notre Dame.  Thus, he was a little overqualified to be coaching our middle school team.  (We did routinely beat Perry in those years.  Just Sayin!)

Back in 1998 we had over 100 boys playing football at McCord which was a huge number because we only had 450 total students in the school.  Tom would walk the halls and tell every boy he saw that he should come out and play football.  Many did.  Some had no business being on a football field, but they didn’t realize that.  They were told by the coach that they would be good at it, and they believed it.  From Tom I learned the simple power of an encouraging word.  Many times in life all someone needs is to know that a trusted adult believes in them and they will do things because of that belief that they never previously considered.  This has become a pillar in what I believe about leadership and in working with students and I learned it from watching Coach Lichtenberg.

I learned something else really important from Coach Lichtenberg.  Everyday after practice the team would gather around coach.  Everyone took a knee in front of coach (never behind coach as he would explain that Jesse James was shot in the back…not sure if that’s true, but I’ve repeated it hundreds of times since.)  Coaches like myself, Greg Ross, Dave Murphy, Mark Gallagher, Jeff Todd and Bill Wolford would take a knee in front of Coach Lichtenberg too.  He would talk to the team about the day’s practice and everyday he would remind the kids to tell their parents that they loved them.  Everyday.

That year was special for me for another reason.  My dad had recently retired from his job as a U.S. Secret Service agent and he was also working as an assistant coach on this team. So each day we would take a knee together and listen to Coach Lichtenberg remind the players to tell their parents they loved them.

As a 26 year old man at the time my dad and I had an excellent relationship.  He was the best man in my wedding and I would have considered him my closest male friend.  But, we were men.  We didn’t hug or tell each other we loved one another.  Men just didn’t do that.  We likely both believed it to be true but we certainly didn’t tell each other!

Sometime in the fall of 1998 that changed.  We’d heard Coach Lichtenberg remind us everyday and I don’t remember when exactly but we began telling one another we loved each other.  That’s continued for the past 18 years and with a stroke of school calendar luck Worthington’s spring break last week coincided with my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary.  Like many midwesterners their age my parents spend their winter (and fall and spring) in Ft. Myers, Florida.  Thus with Coach Lichtenberg’s words in my ears we piled the family into the Honda Odyssey (official family car of Columbus, Ohio) and drove the 1,167 miles to Ft. Myers, Florida.

We were able to spend last week with my parents, my sister, my nephew, my cousin, her family, and many dear old friends.  We celebrated 50 years of marriage for my parents and spent good family time together.  When we left Saturday morning to begin the long drive home, I told my parents I loved them.  I learned that from Coach Lichtenberg and he was right.  As a middle aged man I no longer take that time together for granted.  Neither should you.


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Today I have the opportunity to speak at TEDxWorthingtonED  The theme of this event is resolve and when I heard the theme I immediately knew what I wanted to talk about.  I learned resolve from one man.  A man who needs no actual name.  A man we call CG.  I’m forever grateful to CG for teaching me to work harder than I thought was possible and for teaching me to never quit in life.  He’s taught those same lessons to thousands of other kids while coaching the game of lacrosse.  My talk is is titled “Why Kids Need Co-Curriculars”  But it’s really designed to pay homage to my friend and mentor:  Chris Gallagher.  Here is what I plan to say:

“According to the U.S. News and World Report’s Annual High School Athletics participation report 55% of all high school students, almost 7.6 million kids, participate in at least one high school sport.  Is this just another example of our sports crazed culture or are there some real life long benefits to participation in high school sports?

In Worthington, Ohio we desire to see every one of our students connected to a co-curricular activity.  Longitudinal studies have shown that children and youth participating in sport, when compared to peers who do not play sport, exhibit: higher grades, greater personal confidence and self-esteem; greater connections with school and even stronger peer relationships.

In addition to these formal studies I believe participation is important because students need to learn to work hard.  They need to get knocked down and learn to get back up.  They need to build a resolve to never, never, never give in.

The date was Monday, February 19th, 1990.  It was only nine days after Columbus, Ohio’s own James Buster Douglas shocked the world by knocking out the previously undefeated Heavyweight Champion of the World, Mike Tyson.  It was only nine days but it felt like an eternity.  On this February day there was an inch or two of white snow that covered the grass in Worthington.  It was the first day of the spring lacrosse season for the Worthington Cardinals 1990 squad.  The spring season in Ohio often begins with temperatures well below freezing and this day was no different.

I was there that day dressed in my black cotton Worthington lacrosse sweatpants that dragged in the snow.   The team that was returning that year was the two-time defending Ohio Lacrosse Champions.  There were high expectations for this season and nothing less than winning the Midwest Lacrosse Championship would be tolerated.  With that in mind pre-season conditioning would be a brutal exercise.

The team gathered in full lacrosse gear.  The old boxy lacrosse helmets, shoulder pads, arm pads, gloves and cleats.  Everyone wore the same black sweatpants on their legs but the guys had a myriad of other long sleeve shirts and sweatshirts that each wore on their upper body to try and stay warm.  Everything worn was cotton and everything was boxy.  There were no moisture wicking fabrics, no Under Armour or Nike Combat Gear back in 1990.  Once we were wet, we would stay wet.  If you didn’t want hypothermia you better keep moving.TheGuys

The task for February 19th and for each day that first week of conditioning was to start at the field house building and run down the hill, across the grass we call the flats in Worthington and onto the Olentangy bike path.  From there the team would run down the asphalt bike path until reaching Antrim Lake.  Each player would then do 50 push-ups before beginning to run around the 1.2 mile lake and 50 push-ups upon finishing the run around the lake.  From there the players would repeat their steps back down the trail, across the flats and eventually up the long winding hill to the field house.  The total run would take place in the cold wind and on snow covered ground, wearing athletic cleats and full lacrosse gear.  It was around a 3.5 mile run.

This morning before this event I ran farther than 3.5 miles and I go for a run most everyday as an adult.  But in 1990 I had not run one step since the November end to football season and throughout football season sprints never consisted of more that 50 yards.  3.5 miles was a virtual marathon to me at 17 years old and these conditions were brutal.

To make matters worse there is always someone on every team who actually prepared for what they knew was coming.  On this team that was Scott Cebul.  Scott had run each day throughout the winter of 1989-1990 and he was ready to set a fast pace for the team.  When the run began Scott took off.  He was like a rabbit and I struggled to keep up with Keith Poss, Raif Webster and Jon Mackey.  Each step was like pure torture.  The air was cold on my lunges.  I had no pattern to my breathing at all, and running in my black Nike high tops cleats was like running in hiking boots.

When we got to the lake assistant coach Tim Cave was waiting for us.  Tim barked orders to hit the ground and begin push-ups.  When he didn’t think our push-ups were being done with the proper form (we were wearing lacrosse gloves and holding a stick) he got down on the ground and demonstrated proper form. Eventually we were running again and then eventually we were doing push-ups again.  The last half mile of this run would begin near the ice covered Olentangy river.  From there it’s uphill all the way to the field house.

I thought I was going to die.  Really I wasn’t certain I would even be able to crawl up the hill let alone run up the hill.  And, that’s when it began.  Sitting on the open tailgate of his black Ford Bronco was head lacrosse coach Chris Gallagher, CG as he is known to everyone in Worthington.  CG was wearing shorts, dirty brown work boots and a well-worn hooded sweatshirt.  It was under 30 degrees and he looked like he was sitting on the tailgate of his truck in an early fall day.  If he didn’t acknowledge it was cold, it wasn’t cold.

As I got close to CG I heard his bellowing voice.  From somewhere hidden behind his rough brown beard I heard one word:  FINISH.  Then the Ford Bronco began to move.  The truck stayed in front of me by about 25 yards as I slugged forward.  I wanted to quit.  And then it happened again, I heard his voice:  BOWERS, DON’T YOU DARE QUIT.  DON’T YOU DARE WALK!  FINISH!  F-I-N-I-S-H!  I had no choice.  I had to finish.  I had to, and so I did.

That day was February 19th, 1990.  Just nine days after Buster Douglas had knocked out Mike Tyson.  The scene repeated itself on February 20th, February 21st, February 22nd and February 23rd.  I think on the 24th we were actually allowed to practice lacrosse for the first time.  I finished each run that week.  Each run hurt.  Each run hurt a lot.  And each day I heard that same booming voice: FINISH!

On February 19th, 1990 a lesson was cemented into my head that I’ve never forgotten.  When I went off to college to play college football I didn’t yet understand the level of work and effort that would be required.  In those early August practices of two a days several of my classmates quit the team and left.  I couldn’t do that.  I wanted to though.  But I couldn’t.  CG’s voice was stuck in my head. “Bowers, don’t you dare quit!”

Fast forward a few years and I was a first year teacher at Potomac Elementary School in Dahlgren, Virginia.  I was teaching 26 fifth graders and I was totally overwhelmed.  I was at school each day from 6:30 A.M. to 8:00 P.M. and the kids were winning this battle.  I wasn’t sure I was cut out to be an educator.  I wasn’t sure I really wanted to work in a public school.  I wasn’t sure I even had what it took to be successful as a teacher.  I wanted to quit.  I wanted to go into law enforcement, or maybe go back to school, or maybe do anything but this.  Some statistics show that 50% of all new teachers quit within their first five years.  But, I couldn’t be one of them.  What would I tell CG?95-96

Fast Forward a few more years and I’m at Ashland University working on my doctorate in Educational Leadership.  All I needed to do was complete my dissertation and I would earn the degree.  The dissertation is a research study and it’s judged by a committee of professors.  Anyone who has been through the process can tell you how maddening it can be.  Turn in a draft of chapter one and receive feedback from three different readers.  Often the feedback is contradictory.  You make the changes and receive feedback again.  One reader liked the changes and gives approval.  Unfortunately another reader doesn’t approve and wants you to go back to the wording from the draft before.  For two years I repeated this process month after month.  I was beginning to lose hope.  I finally understood why people end up ABD (all but dissertation.)  I could never figure that out before.  Why would you ever work that hard and not finish, but two years into the dissertation process I understood.  At times this was an effort in futility (on a side note, it is very good training for working with a board of education.)  But here I was, I’m 35 years old, I’m working a full-time job as a school principal and I have three little kids at home.  I’m really questioning if finishing my dissertation would ever happen.  I wanted to quit.  I was tired, I was busy, and it just didn’t seem worth it.  But, I didn’t quit.  I couldn’t.  I’d drive from Columbus to Ashland after work and I’d drive home late in the evening.  On those drives on I-71 I could hear CG’s voice in my head “Bowers, FINISH!  Don’t you dare quit!”  I could see CG sitting on the back of that black Ford Bronco.  It’s like he was there with me.  I had to finish.  I had to.

In life there are many, many times when quitting would be easier.  Winston Churchill famously said Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never” There’s times where it’s best to cut your loses and move on.  But in my life had I quit when I wanted to things would have turned out very differently.

The thing is, I think I probably would have quit somewhere along the line.  Obviously I don’t know if that’s true but on February 19th, 1990 I learned a lesson that I have never forgotten.  I learned it from a man who pushed me to work harder than I thought was possible but also cared about me as much as anyone I have ever known.  As a high school athlete I learned to never quit.  And that’s why kids today need co-curricular activities.

We’re soft in America today.  You know it’s true.  Our kids are spoiled.  My own kids are spoiled.  They spend their time indoors in climate controlled air, they wear soft moisture wicking fabrics and their education is personalized to their interests and their pace.  For this generation perseverance is defined by looking for the fastest video game hacks.

But, throughout every person’s life they will be faced with decision points.  Forks in the road where a choice must be made.  What will guide that choice?  What have we taught our kids about finishing what they started?  What have we taught our kids about working harder than they thought was possible and about setting a goal and doing whatever is necessary to make it happen?

Life is never as easy as we think it’s going to be.  We must prepare our students for that reality and provide them the skills they need to overcome adversity with persevere.  In our current educational system co-curricular participation is the best way to teach those skills.  And with that in mind it’s critical that we involve our students in these opportunities and we support them and view them as the key learning opportunity that they are.

Finish.  Don’t you dare quit!  I learned those lessons in high school athletics and they will carry with me throughout my life.  My hope is that this year there are 7.6 million kids learning that same lesson.  Thanks Coach!”


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2015 Comes to an End

IMG_9071.JPGAs we end 2015 I’m sitting in a quiet office on a gray day in Worthington, Ohio.  My coffee is dark and hot and there is some space in my day to reflect on the past year.  What a year it has been!   It’s hard to distill my favorite memories of this year into just a few, but here goes….

Living in Worthington, Ohio my oldest daughter is attending the same middle school building that I attended in seventh grade.  While the school name has shifted from Perry Middle School to Phoenix Middle School the same maroon lockers remain from when I was a student there in 1985.  In August my daughter and I were at the school and she was practicing opening her locker.  The combination lock is always a bit tricky and it’s made trickier with years of use and wear.  As I sat on the floor while she practiced over and over again I was taken back in time to those very same lockers.  Back in 1985 as a 7th grade student at Perry I asked Katie Worden to the Valentine’s Dance.  She said yes and we were to meet at the school.  As a suave 7th grader I went to Kroger at the Worthington Square and purchased  a heart shaped box of candy to give to Katie.  Unfortunately, that’s where my courage ended and I decided to stash the box of candy in my locker until the right time presented itself to give Katie the candy.  That time never came and so it’s possible that there is a locker somewhere at Phoenix Middle School that still houses a heart shaped box of candy that I purchased for Katie Worden but that I never had the courage to give her.  On a side note, my daughter has become very proficient at opening her locker.  If she would only become proficient at bringing things home from her locker we would be O.K.

IMG_9063In 2015 I was able to officiate my first graduation as Superintendent of Worthington Schools. It’s a bittersweet memory but one that will resonate with me for a long time.  A student at Linworth Alternative, Chris Chia’s, mother was in hospice at the Kobacker House in Columbus.  It was very important to her to get to see Chris graduate and thus our team at Linworth set-up a personal graduation for Chris and three friends at the Kobacker House.  The students wore their blue graduation gowns, the school got their diplomas ready, and a cake and a number of family members came to the Kobacker House.  We held a ceremony.  I was able to speak for a few minutes and our Teacher/Director at Linworth, Chris Hasbrook, spoke as well.  The boys graduated together in the presence of Chris’ mom who passed just a few days later.  I hope to have the great privilege of presiding over many graduations in the coming years, but I am doubtful many will hold the memory of this one.  I’ll remember with gratitude the work of the staff at Linworth Alternative who made certain this day happened and I’ll remember four friends who graduated together and supported one another in a very difficult time.  When things work well this is how they work.  A synergy between the school lending support and a community coming together.  This was a community of young men but it was a true honor to be a part of.

IMG_9065.JPGIn 2015 I ran my first cross country race at our Worthington Schools Eisenhart Invitational.  Having grown up in Worthington I used to watch Jenni Beymer, Jen Hamdorf, Chris Szabo and many others run the cross country course each day in the fall.  Frankly, I thought they were crazy!  Why would anyone run if they didn’t have to?  But as an adult I’ve become a runner.  Mostly because I have to do something to stay active.  I’m not a good runner.  I’m an every day, left foot, right foot runner.  But when I realized there was an adult Eisenhart race I signed up.  It sounded like a good idea at the time. But when I got to the starting line there were only about 30 of us.  And, it was obvious to me that there were 29 real runners and then there was me.  This was not good.  I really didn’t want to be the Superintendent who finished last, but I was going to have to run this race at a very uncomfortable pace and likely I was going to finish last anyway.  And so I ran like my hair was on fire and just barely I didn’t finish last.  Next year I’ll likely volunteer to help at the event, but I’ll always remember my one and only run on the Thomas Worthington Cross Country Course.

IMG_9064Finally, in 2015 I was totally blessed to be able to speak to every employee of Worthington Schools at our opening convocation.  For me this opportunity was unique and special.  It was made even more special because my parents and my wife and kids were able to be in attendance to share the day.  On this day I was able to share our six expectations for all Worthington staff bracketed by “Be Kind to Kids.”  The expectation is that everyone who chooses this profession understands that this being kind to kids is our number one job.  To nurture our students, to treat them with respect, to make sure they know we care about them and will do everything possible to help them see success.  We’re in the kid business.  Learning only occurs at high levels when it is in relationship.  The rigor of our courses is irrelevant without really getting to know our students on a personal level and helping them through this portion of their life.  Kids challenge us everyday.  They do things that make us laugh, that make us cry, and that often make us shake our head.  That just makes them kids.  But if we want them to grow and learn and be successful far beyond what we may believe is possible, if we want to produce students who will go off and make a positive difference and literally change the world, it begins simply with “Be Kind to Kids!”

2015 has been a very cool year for me and I hope it has been for you as well.  The end of this year comes with a touch of sadness but more so it comes with excitement.  2016 will bring many new challenges and many new moments.  Some will be awesome, some not so much.  Time to start running again!

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The “What” and the “How”

IMG_8949Recently I was honored to spend a significant amount of time with the Thomas Worthington Girls Field Hockey team which won the 2015 Ohio High School Athletic Association State Championship in November.  As Superintendent of Schools I’m removed from the day to day activities of our teams so it’s been a joy for me to get to know some of these young ladies and their families.  In addition, I’ve had the unique opportunity to speak publicly about this team.  In preparing to speak about the team I kept coming back to one overriding thought.  It’s not the “what” but the “how.”

As a school district, and as a community, we’re incredibly proud of what these young ladies accomplished this season.  They won the state championship!  They completed an undefeated season!  Six different players scored in the state tournament! They allowed no shots on goal in the state final.  The “what” was truly remarkable.  But the “what” is not what we’re most proud of.  What we’re most proud of is the “how.”

How do you you win a state championship?  How do you win three state championships since 2007?  How do you dominate the state tournament?  The “how” is what I’m most proud of and from my vantage point it’s two main parts.  First, this team just plain outworks the teams they play against.  They practice extremely hard and throughout the game they challenge every ball.  Wherever the ball is there is a Cardinal player.  As a team they are completely relentless from whistle to whistle.  If you like sports, it’s a true joy to watch.  To play for the field hockey Cardinals you must compete everyday.  You compete all summer when it’s 95 degrees on the turf and you compete every second you’re on the field.  They work hard!  Second, these young ladies are leaders in the classroom.  They compete in the classroom like they compete on the field.  They are excellent students and they put their academics first.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  These are amazing young ladies, but they’re still high school girls.  They’re not perfect and they don’t do everything right.  But I believe it’s the “how” this team goes about their business that is what can be positive about high school sports.  Learning to work hard, harder than you ever thought was possible, and seeing success for that work is bound to carry over throughout their lives.  And really that’s what matters most.  Their picture will forever hang on the wall at Thomas Worthington High School but it will eventually fade and be covered with dust.  What will stay with them forever is a work ethic and an ability to compete throughout their life.  

In high school sports the “how” is always more important than the “what.”

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The Night I Disrupted Parent Teacher Conferences

Heavy1As Superintendent of a large suburban school district with 19 schools and nearly 10,000 students there is somewhere I should be every night of the week.  I have formal meetings to attend or  student athletic contest or performances.  Most nights that is exactly where I am and on those nights that I get to watch our students, I really enjoy it.  

Last week I was out at something each and every night.  With that in mind I determined that last night I was going to be home with my family.  It was a nice October night and with some extra time my daughter and I determined that we would go to the elementary school and throw the lacrosse ball against the solid brick wall.

For athletes hoping to improve their lacrosse skills throwing the ball against the brick wall is one of the best possible skill building activities.  We began by throwing 50 with our right hand and then 50 with our left.  My daughter had her stick and a ball and I had my stick and a ball.  Before long I was transported back 30 years in my mind and I was channelling my inner Cory Kahoun as I banged the ball against the wall.  (Cory Kahoun was a Lacrosse All- American)  Each time I would throw the ball a little bit harder or attempt to catch the ball in a little different position.  (This is likely when at my age I’m apt to throw my back out or tear a hamstring, but that’s not for this story…)

As Superintendent, I was lost in my mind and enjoying throwing the ball around with my daughter.  Families were coming in and out of the school and many would stop and say hello.  It was really a nice evening for me and hopefully for my daughter.  Unfortunately, I had forgotten that this week is conference week at many of our elementary schools.  Our first grading period ended on Thursday of last week and most elementary school teachers have scheduled personal conferences with the parents of the students in their classes sometime this week or next week.  In Worthington, we no longer have a set night or day for conferences at the elementary and some occur before school in the morning, others late into the evening.

It was the late into the evening part that kind of slipped past me last night.  While my daughter and I were banging the lacrosse ball against the brick wall one of our outstanding teachers was attempting to hold a parent teacher conference in the very classroom where our ball was continuously bouncing off the wall.  This teacher was doing everything right.  Unfortunately she also had to come outside and remind this Superintendent that conferences were going on in her classroom and maybe we could find a different wall to throw our lacrosse ball against.  Yikes!  I’m likely the first Superintendent in history who was attempting to spend time with his daughter and instead disrupted the very parent teacher conferences I think are so important.

So, tonight I’ll likely take my daughter to watch our students play or perform.  And, I’m in the process of writing my hand-written apology for disrupting conferences.  Sometimes life is interesting!

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Creating a Growth Mindset

CPC8g4EW8AAdsh3Fostering a growth mindset is critical for all of our students in Worthington.  On Monday 9.21 we posted a blog on our sister site Absolute Excellence titled “Why a Growth Mindset?”  This post is intended to build upon that post.

We want all of our students to experience and believe that “hard work pays off” because we know it’s true.  As we work through the transition to new standards and work toward our Future Ready Skills we can’t expect students will find this easy.  This provides us an opportunity to cultivate a growth mindset as we intentionally design lessons and experiences to help students build their skills.

Growth mindset has been a topic of much research and work in recent years.  There are many online resources parents can reference.  Carol Dweck, a leading Stanford psychology professor, has written about the effect praise has on a student’s mindset and how we might unknowingly be reinforcing a fixed mindset with our students.

Dweck says that the impact of praise is closely linked to how students view their intellectual ability, and they tend to hold one of two beliefs.

  1.  Intelligence is a “fixed trait”.  Students with this fixed mindset become excessively concerned with how smart they are.  They seek tasks that will prove their intelligence and avoid ones that might not.  The desire to learn can take a back seat.  Students who think this way tend to:
  • Care a lot about whether people think they are smart
  • Avoid learning challenges where they might make mistakes
  • Try to hide mistakes rather than trying to correct them
  • Believe that if they have the ability, they shouldn’t have to try hard
  • Believe that needing to apply a lot of effort means they are dumb
  • Not deal well with frustration and setbacks, sometimes giving up or cheating
  1.  Intelligence can be improved! When students believe they can develop their intelligence, they focus on doing just that.  Not worrying about how smart they will appear, they take on challenges and stick to them.  They don’t necessarily believe that anyone can become an Einstein but they do understand that even Einstein had to put in years of effort.  Students with a growth mindset tend to:
  • Care about and invest in themselves in learning
  • Believe that effort is a positive thing, causing their intelligence to grow
  • Try hard in the face of frustration and failure
  • Look for new learning strategies

The way students think about learning has major implications on how and what they actually learn.  We’ve all met students we knew were promising, only to have their performance not match up with what we know they are capable.

While we can’t shape the years of experiences that have led to the development of a growth or fixed mindset, there are some things that teachers and parents can do to set students on the path of developing a growth mindset.

Here are some ideas:

  • Talk about adopting a growth mindset in class or at home–tell stories about former students who thought they would never learn the subject but who, with persistence and effort, ended up being successful in the class.
  • Talk about what is will take to effectively learn the course material–make explicit your expectations for the amount of time students should be putting in and the types of activities they should be engaging in outside of class.
  • Emphasize that “fast” learning, or getting assignments or exams done quickly, is not the same as “deep” learning.  Often students who take longer to “get it” learn the material more deeply.
  • Break difficult or complex tasks down into their component parts so that students will see for themselves their own skills building up over time.
  • Think about setting achievable micro-goals to encourage students’ consistent, incremental progress.  Small wins repeated over time can lead to a growth mindset (and increased confidence!).
  • When students succeed, praise their efforts and strategies as opposed to their intelligence.  Praise for intelligence can actually undermine motivation and performance, as children praised for intelligence increasingly view intelligence as a fixed trait; in the face of failure, these children will display less task persistence, less task enjoyment, and overall worse performance.

Where to you fall on the fixed vs. growth mindset?

The following resources may help you in building a growth mindset:

Growth Mindset Graphic

Building Your Intelligence Graphic

Cultivating a Growth Mindset at Home

Growth Mindset Resources

Growth Mindset TEDx talk:

Fostering a Growth Mindset in Struggling Students talk:

You Can Learn Anything

The Growth Mindset Playbook

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Worthington Schools – It’s Worth It

On August 18th we released our new video “Worthington – It’s Worth It”  I hope you have taken the time to watch the video and that you enjoy seeing some familiar faces.  This is our attempt to share “the story of Worthington Schools.”  Several teachers, community members, and students, are featured in the video.  Here’s what they actually said:  (It’s fun to read, because I think they hit the nail on the head and point out some of what we’re really proud of in Worthington Schools.)

“Worthington Schools has a strong tradition of excellence and our community has high expectations for our schools.  In Worthington we strive to provide a well-rounded education for all of our children.  This means we have a rigorous curriculum, we have caring teachers who strive to make a positive difference and connect with our students and we offer many activities and clubs.  We call this a “Both / And” approach.  We’re not striving just to make a difference on test scores, we want our students engaged in curriculum, we want them engaged in activities and clubs and sports that provide them a well-rounded opportunity.  Our students in Worthington walk out college and career ready.  They’re ready for the workplace, they’re ready for college, but more importantly, they’re life ready.  They’re full of grit and perseverance.  In Worthington we do this with a stable and lean budget.  Every dollar we spend is analyzed carefully to make sure it’s best spent for student success.  We invite you to take a look at our Worthington Schools website, connect with us on social media and better yet come see first hand what a Worthington education looks like in our schools.” – Dr. Trent Bowers, Superintendent

“I definitely think the teachers here are all very genuine and they all love their job so that actually like makes the students like want to come to school.”  – Caroline (middle school student)

“First of all, we chose Worthington for a lot of different things.  One of which was obviously the schools.”  – Phil Giessler (Worthington Grandparent, Realtor)

“Being a product of the district, having taught for the district, and being a parent of children within the district, it has such a community feel to it.” – Jen Shaver (Parent)

“Everybody that’s there is just so involved.  There’s always events that I’m volunteering for or that everybody’s involved in. We’re always trying to get the whole community involved.” –  Stephanie Woodrow (Parent)

“Well I have to say we have a really amazing parent community.  Families are so involved, it feels really good to live here and work here, I know people on a professional and a personal basis.  It’s really cool to see kids in the neighborhood.”  – Kate Kennedy (Teacher)

“Ms ______ is my favorite teacher.  She’s nice and she helps us a lot.  She’s loving!”  – Camden (Elementary Student)

“As we have a child at high school, middle school and elementary school we’ve seen the diversity of programs offered and the quality of programs.  The teachers are phenomenal!”  – Jennifer Button (Parent)

“I graduated from Worthington Kilbourne and went on to Ohio State to play soccer and study finance there.  Just going to Worthington City Schools my whole life has really prepared me for college and post graduation and getting a job and starting my career.”  – Sage Gardner (Graduate)

“My boy is going to go to Harvard.  Worthington prepared him for that.” – Jason Liu (Parent, Business Owner)

“One of the things that the Worthington Schools does give us is a sense of diversity.  And by allowing our kids to meet other kids whether it is ethnic diversity or religious diversity that’s something that really enables them to learn what it’s like to live in the real world.” – Rabbi Rick (Parent, Religious Leader)

“My younger daughter Erin attended Kilbourne just for her freshman year and wanted to explore the Linworth Alternative Program.  She’s a junior now and not only does she love the program, she is thriving there.  To have that option and that choice just meant the world to us.  That she could attend school and actually like school.”  – Kathy Riebel (Parent)

“Both of the high schools have several different programs to help get your child prepared for college.  Especially the STEM program and the International Baccalaureate Program, so it’s worth the effort to come to Worthington.  Most definitely.”  – Rebecca Billingslea (Parent)

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