CHALLENGE SUCCESS 2015-2016 School Year
FOCUS AREAS FOR 2015-2016
The Challenge Success initiative is now launching its 2nd year of implementation at DS and will be building on the foundation laid last year. Three overall priorities for this year include:
(1) Continue focusing on homework (including quantity and purpose/ level of engagement) as well as the overall workload for students. Also, exploring alternative assessments to final exams and establishing clear guidelines for Red Line Week. Two homework-free weekends have already been announced for the HS— the MS plans to coordinate with the same weekends to allow families time to reconnect.
(2) Assessing the pressures (time and other) created by sports and other extracurricular activities. Some changes have already been implemented regarding practice times and evening meeting/ performance start times.
(3) Building resilience among students through mindfulness/ resilience programs as well as stress management training and education.
Throughout the year, the CS team will be addressing these priorities by offering related programs, speakers, and opportunities for community conversation. A few highlights of the Challenge Success activities percolating for this year include the following:
- Continue to facilitate book club discussion groups at all schools in the District
- DSMS is offering a De-Stress CAG (Citizen Action Group) this year focused on mindfulness, meditation and stress reducing exercises.
- DSHS freshmen will be given an opportunity to attend an introductory session on mindfulness, facilitated by a DS Parent and Mindfulness Coach Sarah Stuart.
- Continue working with Guidance Advisory Council to offer additional Teacher-Parent Forums at the HS and expand them to the MS as well.
- Sponsor Challenge Success speaker presentations including a repeat performance (although different topic) by Denise Pope in late winter/ early spring.
- Continue discussions of several new ideas such as video showings; "Dialogue Nights" and “Fishbowl” discussions with students and parents and/ or teachers; shadow days for teachers/ students; visual campaign with posters, student newsletters, Twitter accounts, etc.
On Facebook be sure to “like” the Challenge Success page. You can also follow them on Twitter @chalsuccess.
Consider following John Smith (@DSHeadmaster) and Ellen Chagnon (@DSHSGuidance) since they both will be posting Challenge Success-related items.
NEWLY RELEASED BOOKS
In addition to Denise Pope’s new book, Overloaded and Underprepared, Strategies for Stronger Schools and Healthy, Successful Kids several other books were released this summer which are very relevant to Challenge Success and may be of interest: (1) The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go so Their Children Can Succeed by Jessica Lahey and (2) How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success by Julie Lythcott-Haims (http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2015/08/28/434350484/how-schools-are-handling-an-overparenting-crisis