Please join us for a community book discussion of Paul Tough's "How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity and the Hidden Power of Character" on
Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015
at 6:30 p.m.
in the Middle School Library and Learning Commons.
from Suprintendant Nadeau's newsletter
Last month's issue of The Atlantic, featured an article about stress and anxiety in schools (http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/10/when-anxiety-hits-at-school/380622/).
Stress and anxiety have been a topic of conversation since I've been in the district, and it is certainly true here that our counseling/social work and nursing staff have seen an increase in the numbers of children and adolescents who are suffering from anxiety in the school setting during the last decade.
This month, as we were assessing students for the Gifted and Talented program, we heard from a couple of young students who had been spending time doing "test prep" to get ready; their stress was palpable. This information left our administrative team feeling concerned about the well-being of these young learners. While we as educators strongly believe that students need a strong academic foundation, we don't believe it should be developed at the expense of their mental health.
As a result, we've selected How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character by Paul Tough to be our first Community Read. (Limited copies are available in the parenting section at the Thomas Memorial Library and through inter-library loan or can be ordered from your favorite bookseller for roughly $11.) Given the few short weeks between now and the December break, we will hold our book discussion on January 7th, 2015 at 6:30 P.M. An RSVP e-mail including location information will be sent out in December.
Good book but I was disappointed by the "solutions" offered in chapter 5. They seemed nebulus at best and contrasted sharply with his vivid, anecdotally-laced, descriptions of the problems in the earlier chapters.
In chapter 5 Paul Trough describes one solution for “good families” and another one for dysfunctional families.
For “good families” (like his own with his wife and son Ellington)
He was not worried that his son Ellington would be able to read, write, add, subtract because these skills would come to his son sooner or later (naturally) no matter what he (the father) did “simply because he (the son) was growing up surrounded by books and had two parents who liked to read and were comfortable with numbers.”
Paul Trough says in Ch 5
“the most reliable way to produce an adult who is brave and curious and kind and prudent is to ensure that when he is an infant, his hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis functions well.
How do you do this?
First, as much as possible, you protect him from serious trauma and chronic stress;
Then, even more important, you provide him with a secure, nurturing relationship with at least one parent and ideally two.”
For dysfunctional families
A plan targeted at the 10% -15% of students at the highest risk of failure who are dealing with deep and pervasive adversity at home. This plan consists of:
Comprehensive pediatric wellness center with trauma-focused care and social service support woven into every visit.
Parenting Interventions to increase the chance of secure attachment.
In prekindergarten a program like “Tools of the Mind” that promote executive-function skills and self-regulation in young children.
Place them in good schools with whatever academic help they need supplemented by social and psychological and character-building interventions outside the classroom.
In high school, some combination of “One Goal” and “KIPP Through College” – to direct them toward higher education and tries to prepare them for college both academically as well as emotionally and psychologically.