KICK-OFF a SUCCESS
"Whether you think you can, or think you can't, you are right" (Henry Ford) frames the YATST theme of "Great Expectations...or Not?". Is it really that simple? Five Vermont high schools confronted this question at the January 25 kick-off. The day began with an exploration of the individual and educational system's forces which impact expectations, envisioning schools where:
- teaching practices are driven by a growth mindset which believes that ALL students can learn at high levels through effort
- academic failure is no longer an option
- stereotypes no longer influence teaching practices or limit an individual's learning potential
- there is equal access to an excellent education for ALL students
Barbara Cervone, Founder and Director of What Kids Can Do, Inc., then framed the task of these YATST teams: Explore community-wide perspectives on expectations through videotaped conversations with students, teachers and parents. Short clips from the videotapes will then be selected by themes, based on their potential to provoke dialogue about expectations. These will be used as powerful tools for community dialogue and change throughout the spring. The goals of this work are to:
- students’ expectations of their own academic performance
- teachers’ expectations of ALL students’ academic performance
- parents’ and community’s expectations for children’s high academic performance,
- reframe academic failure or struggle as a natural step in a learning process, rather than an indication of limited learning capacity,
- dispel the common myth that intelligence is fixed and predetermined.
The teams will meet again on April 3 to share their interview experiences, preview video clips, and begin planning venues to provoke community dialogue. Participating schools are: Burlington High School, Cabot School, Hazen Union, Peoples Academy and Mt. Abraham Union. Winooski will also be joining this effort. This work will be showcased at the May 11 statewide YATST/ Vermont Rural Partnership conference and will be one aspect of the YATST keynote address at the upcoming BEST Institute. This work is fully funded and supported by the Vermont Department of Education.