Wednesday, October 26, 2016

We all can learn from children! #ISD2835

Yes, children are energetic, enthusiastic, impressionable, and knowledgeable. We all can learn from children as we did recently from a 1st grader in Mrs. Leiferman's classroom. During a conversation in her classroom a student informed her that "Making mistakes is really ok. That is what makes your brain grow." This mindset is exactly what we are looking for in our students and staff!

We want all individuals to understand that our brain is capable of learning news things at all stages in our lives. Quite simply put, making a mistake allows the opportunity for your brain to grow. In essence, if we engage and support a growth mindset, we become committed to continuous improvement.

The key to this is to consistently model as adults this commitment for our students. Therefore, let me challenge all those reading this blog to the following questions:

1. How do you model a growth mindset for your students, children and others?
2. What specific example can you think of that modeled this growth mindset?
3. Think about the benefits you have realized by allowing your mind to grow and develop. How have these situations enhanced your development as a professional?
4. What can you do to help develop your growth mindset?
5. What is one thing you'll do tomorrow to model your commitment to a growth mindset for your students and/or children?

Making Sense of the Mission #ISD2835

"Our District will empower learning, energize achievement, and enhance community. 
Excellence without excuse!"

Bright lights, big city. The catch phrase. The moral of the story. The gusto. We've all heard these things before. Most organizations that exist or want to continue their existence have a mission statement, something that identifies their "it" factor. The Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton School District (JWP) is no different than most.

Successful organizations not only have a mission statement, they measure their success in attaining the intended meaning of the statement. Let's take a closer look at the JWP mission statement.

Empower Learning
At JWP we believe in empowering our students to learn. After all, this is a skill we hope they cherish and develop throughout their lifetime. We empower their learning by providing them with tools that can be utilized for learning 24 hours a day for roughly 265 days per year. In our district, the tool of choice is a Chromebook.

Throughout each school year, our teachers show them innovative ways to learn from a variety of resources both online and offline. The skills learned and mastered provide our students with ongoing opportunities to engage in learning opportunities. Empowered learning leads to continuous growth and success in our students.

Energize Achievement
Our teachers work hard to motivate students to put forth their best efforts and gain the most from learning opportunities. This motivation is typically inspired through consistent assessment and feedback. When students are able to track their growth and development in "real time", they tend to respond in positive ways. In many cases, we witness students celebrating the thrill of victory in accomplishing an academic goal.

Through our commitment to the Solution Tree Model of Professional Learning Communities, we strive to conduct frequent formative assessments to inform teaching and learning. It is our belief, that these assessments, coupled with feedback will provide the necessary motivation to energize achievement for our students.

Enhance Community
The JWP School District believes it is of utmost importance to ensure our students are provided with a safe and welcoming school environment. Our staff has worked relentlessly to provide such an environment.

Our Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program has provided a structure to ensure our students are recognized for their outstanding actions and achievements. PBIS has been a proactive approach to ensuring a positive school climate exists to enhance our school community.

JWP has worked tirelessly to ensure community partnerships were developed to further enhance and expand our school community. Our staff has worked to develop work-based experiences for several of our students. These real world applications support our students and community.

Excellence without Excuse
As you can see, our district believes in living out our mission statement. To learn more about how the JWP School Community lives their mission, please feel free to contact me directly (507.234.5181 or

"Our District will empower learning, energize achievement, and enhance community.
Excellence without excuse!"