Taking Time to Celebrate Personal Bests

As many of you know, I have been a competitive runner for many years. One of my favorite aspects of the sport is the camaraderie around celebrating “personal bests.” Since we race against the clock as much as we do against other people, it is fairly easy to compare performances from race to race (and, now that I am getting progressively slower each year, age-graded tables help!) While winning is worthy of celebration, it is often the personal best that gets the most enthusiastic congratulations from fellow runners.

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Beyond Straight As

Over the last week, several of you sent me an opinion piece, “What Straight-A Students Get Wrong,” by the organizational psychologist Adam Grant. Grant writes about some of the sacrifices to other, potentially more valuable learning that many make to get such grades, about the poor correlation between college GPA and career success, and about traits that are valuable for one’s career that are not measured by GPA in college. Continue reading

A Peek Inside the Classroom

DSC_9381It has been so great to see so many of you here today. One of the best parts of my job is that I get to experience every day what you did today. I get to see the ways our teachers inspire our children and instill the joy of lifelong learning. Inspiration comes from being exposed to engaging information in an environment that is psychologically safe. The way that we create such an environment involves knowing every student well, caring for their individual development, and challenging them to be their best in myriad ways. Put another way, students learn best in a culture of high expectations coupled with high levels of support. Our teachers cultivate such an environment in every class at every level here. Continue reading