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Re: [Fwd: Superintendent's Message]

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  • Roger
    Thanks Alicia. Dr. Harter wrote a number of these as superintendent and they re all worth a read. I couldn t find a single link, but if you enter Bruce Harter
    Message 1 of 6 , Aug 28, 2006
      Thanks Alicia.
      Dr. Harter wrote a number of these as superintendent and they're all worth a read.
      I couldn't find a single link, but if you enter "Bruce Harter Leadership Jazz" in a Google
      search, you'll find a lot of his communications.

      On another note, just wanted to advertise our 8th College Fair and thought this would be a
      good forum.

      Info at: http://www.wccusd.k12.ca.us/events/2006/collegefair.pdf

      Roger.


      --- In wccusdtalk@yahoogroups.com, "ladyluvslife67" <ladyluvslife67@...> wrote:
      >
      > Hey Charley
      > Total agreement with you - the message he sent
      > was G-R-E-A-T. It was also quite long and I thought
      > it could have been shortened considerably. You know
      > how short our attention spans can be at times!
      >
      > I too like the idea of our superintendent sending out
      > messages of encouragement and hope that continues.
      >
      > For anyone who is interested, there is a display of
      > several of Dr. Harter's writings on various topics
      > posted at the district office. 2nd floor outside
      > of Paul Ehara's office (Communications)
      >
      > AMEDINA
      >
      >
      > --- In wccusdtalk@yahoogroups.com, "Charley Cowens"
      > <charley.cowens@> wrote:
      > >
      > > I like the idea of the Superintendent sending out this kind of
      > > message, but I think it's too long. It wight in at 1300+ words.
      > These
      > > messages should be half as long as this, max.
      > >
      > > Charley Cowens
      > >
      > > On 8/25/06, Cathy Travlos <cbt@> wrote:
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > -------- Original Message --------
      > > > Subject: Superintendent's Message
      > > > Date: Fri, 25 Aug 2006 12:33:12 -0700
      > > > From: Paul Ehara <Paul.Ehara@>
      > > > To: Paul Ehara <Paul.Ehara@>
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > September Message from Superintendent Bruce Harter:
      > > >
      > > > http://www.wccusd.k12.ca.us/superintendent/message/current.shtml
      > > >
      > > > Superintendent's Message
      > > > September 2006
      > > >
      > > > Sending Consistent Messages to Our Young People
      > > >
      > > > It's no wonder our children and young people are confused at
      > times.
      > > > Our culture sends them such mixed messages about what's OK and
      > > > what's not. For example, violence is OK in television and movies
      > > > but not OK in the neighborhood. Advertisers use sex appeal to
      > sell
      > > > products to young people, while the movement for 'abstinence only'
      > > > sends just the opposite message. At the same time that young
      > people
      > > > hear that they shouldn't use illegal drugs, they also get the
      > message
      > > > that drugs the doctor prescribes can solve any problem from high
      > > > cholesterol to erectile dysfunction.
      > > >
      > > > Mixed messages confuse children and young people. We know from
      > child
      > > > and adolescent psychology that youth need to have consistency and
      > > > reliability in their lives as they seek out their own identify
      > and stake
      > > > out their own goals. So, as school starts I'm challenging
      > everyone
      > > > who has anything to do with young people to incorporate three
      > simple
      > > > messages about school in everything they say to a child or a young
      > > > person. Those messages are:
      > > >
      > > > This is important.
      > > > You can do it.
      > > > I won't give up on you.
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > This is important.
      > > >
      > > > The "this" in "This is important" is the learning. Ask any child
      > > > or young person why he or she is in school and she or he is
      > likely to
      > > > say, "I go to school to learn." In California, our teachers
      > looked
      > > > at national content standards and have done a great job of
      > defining what
      > > > students need to learn. Those standards are all published on the
      > state
      > > > Department of Education website at
      > > > http://www.cde.ca.gov/be/st/ss/index.asp. Our teachers also have
      > put
      > > > together pacing guides to keep the focus on the most important
      > things
      > > > for all students to learn. What I'm saying is that our teachers
      > are
      > > > teaching the knowledge and skills that are crucial for success
      > after our
      > > > students graduate from high school.
      > > >
      > > > Parents, grandparents and other relatives can help drive
      > the "This is
      > > > important" message home in many ways from seeing to it that
      > children
      > > > get to school on time and go to school every day, to creating a
      > place
      > > > for and a focus on homework, and by contacting teachers or other
      > staff
      > > > when they have questions or concerns. Relatives and family
      > friends can
      > > > also reinforce "This is important" by asking about school and
      > > > persisting with that question until the child or young person
      > gives a
      > > > comprehensive answer. This is not easy, but is well worth the
      > effort.
      > > > Our children and young people need to hear "This is important"
      > from
      > > > everyone in the community and at every opportunity so that they
      > apply
      > > > themselves fully to what's before them to learn.
      > > >
      > > > Teachers give the "This is important" message when they explain
      > why
      > > > the content is important, when they insist that homework is
      > completed
      > > > and notify parents or caregivers when it's not, and when they use
      > > > tests not just to assign a grade, but to determine what needs to
      > be
      > > > taught again and if it should be taught differently.
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > You can do it.
      > > >
      > > > Learning is hard work and not all learners get it at the same
      > time, or
      > > > in the same way, or with the same amount of effort. With all our
      > > > students, we need to constantly affirm the message "You can do
      > it."
      > > > Students who believe in themselves and who know that hard work is
      > what
      > > > makes them successful, are not only successful in school, they
      > also do
      > > > well outside of school and in the workplace, too. Underneath the
      > > > message "You can do it" is a foundational belief that effort and
      > > > persistence are, by far, the most important qualities in any
      > endeavor.
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > "You can do it" puts the child or young person in charge of
      > his/her
      > > > learning. This message is really about expectations. When our
      > > > expectations are too low, children get the message that they
      > can't do
      > > > it. When I was volunteering in my daughter's first grade
      > classroom
      > > > many years ago, I remember a child telling me he had a "dumb head"
      > > > because he couldn't yet read as well as some of his classmates.
      > If we
      > > > allow children that young to close the door to learning on
      > themselves,
      > > > they'll truly be disabled all their lives because they'll believe
      > > > that they can't learn.
      > > >
      > > > When I go to science fairs or history day exhibitions, I find it
      > easy
      > > > to see which projects were done by the students and which were
      > projects
      > > > that the parents essentially did. If there's any doubt I my
      > mind, all
      > > > I need is to ask the student one question and his/her answer will
      > tell
      > > > me. When we see our children struggling on a challenging task,
      > we think
      > > > we're helping children by doing it for them. In reality, we hurt
      > them
      > > > when we do this. A few years ago, I found this story in Quote
      > > > magazine:
      > > >
      > > > A man found a cocoon of the emperor moth and took it home to
      > watch it
      > > > emerge. One day a small opening appeared, and for several hours
      > the moth
      > > > struggled but couldn't seem to force its body past a certain
      > point.
      > > >
      > > > Deciding something was wrong, the man took scissors and snipped
      > the
      > > > remaining bit of the cocoon. The moth emerged easily, its body
      > large
      > > > and swollen, the wings small and shriveled.
      > > >
      > > > He expected that in a few hours the wings would spread out in
      > their
      > > > natural beauty, but they did not. Instead of developing into a
      > creature
      > > > free to fly, the moth spent its life dragging around a swollen
      > body and
      > > > shriveled wings.
      > > >
      > > > The constricting cocoon and the struggle necessary to pass
      > through the
      > > > tiny opening are nature's way of forcing fluid from the body into
      > the
      > > > wings. The "merciful" snip was, in reality, cruel. Sometimes the
      > > > struggle is exactly what we need.
      > > >
      > > > Learning can be a struggle, and there's a fine line between
      > helping
      > > > too much and helping too little. Learning isn't easy and doing
      > > > quality work isn't automatic. That's why the emphasis in the
      > > > "You can do it" message is on the you - the learner.
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > I won't give up on you.
      > > >
      > > > The third message is arguably the most important. "I won't give
      > up
      > > > on you" means that even if our students fail the first 20 times
      > they
      > > > try, we'll continue to provide support and encouragement. For
      > some
      > > > students learning the multiplication tables by age 10 may simply
      > be
      > > > impossible. Yet nearly all of those students will learn them. It
      > just
      > > > takes longer and it takes much more support than it does for the
      > student
      > > > who learned them at age eight. Too many students give up on
      > themselves
      > > > and feel they can never learn, as in "smart people learn and I'm
      > too
      > > > dumb." Some "severely gifted" students give up on school because
      > > > parents and teachers think that they'll learn anyway.
      > > >
      > > > The "I" in "I won't give up on you" is crucial. Students
      > > > need to know that they have adults in their lives who won't
      > discard or
      > > > abandon them as learners. Every academically successful child or
      > young
      > > > person has at least one-and preferably more than one-adult who
      > > > absolutely, positively won't give up on him or her. These caring
      > > > adults can be parents, teachers, relatives, mentors, or tutors.
      > What
      > > > they have in common is the complete and unrelenting faith that
      > the child
      > > > or young person can be a successful learner-no matter what
      > happens or
      > > > how hard it is or what adversity comes to the child.
      > > >
      > > > Our world is full of examples of the difference that one person
      > who
      > > > wouldn't give up on a child makes. We hear about a few examples
      > of
      > > > this, like Ben Carson, the neurosurgeon in Baltimore who grew up
      > in the
      > > > inner city of Detroit. Carson credits his mother for being that
      > person
      > > > who wouldn't give up on him when everyone else saw him heading
      > for a
      > > > life of crime and prison. But there are many, many more stories
      > that
      > > > are less dramatic but just as important.
      > > >
      > > > I believe that we, the thoughtful, caring adults, can use these
      > three
      > > > messages to make a tremendous impact on the lives of all the
      > children
      > > > and young people in our lives. With all the mixed messages that
      > society
      > > > sends to young people, we need to be the ones who relentlessly
      > empower
      > > > students. These three messages are worth committing to memory
      > because
      > > > they come in handy in many situations:
      > > >
      > > > This is important.
      > > > You can do it.
      > > > I won't give up on you.
      > > >
      > > > Bruce Harter
      > > > Superintendent of Schools
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > Yahoo! Groups Links
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > >
      >
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