Saturday, November 30, 2013

What's Your Why?

Implementing the Schoolwide Enrichment Model at Austin Elementary has been an incredible journey...one of relentless effort, tremendous hard work, passionate perseverance, and unfailing courage.  Like all journeys, this one has been filled with moments of accomplishment, celebration, and wonder.   But, like most journeys, it has also been characterized by times of struggle...moments of doubt...


We've all faced those moments of doubt in our lives...at home, at work, with family or friends.  That moment when you think, "Is this really worth it?"  It is during those moments that we face a choice...keep going or give up?  Move forward...or stop?  What makes the difference?  What is it that allows us to choose perseverance over failure?  More importantly, what is it that enables us to inspire others to do the same?  According to Simon Sinek, it is an understanding of "The Why." 


This video has held great meaning for us here at Austin Elementary.  It is something we refer to when we have tough decisions to make or hard roads to travel.  It has inspired us to action and united us around a cause.  It has served as a reminder of why we...as a staff...as individuals...as a community of learners...do what we do...and keep doing it...everyday...year after year...moment after moment.

So, what is "The Why" behind our pursuit of the Schoolwide Enrichment Model?  There is not a simple answer to that question.  There are so many reasons...strong, valid reasons...for embedding this model into the framework of our school.  Development of future ready skills, increased global awareness in our learners, improved self esteem, higher levels of engagement...the list could go on and on. 

 

All of us at Austin Elementary believe wholeheartedly in the benefits of the Schoolwide Enrichment Model listed above.  However, for each of us, our own personal "why" goes much deeper than that.   It is a story...a child...a triumph...a breakthrough.  It is the joy of seeing the wonder in the eyes of a learner...or the pain of remembering our own frustration when our own interests, passions, and strengths were ignored by those around us.  It is this...and so much more. 

Recently, I asked our assistant principal, Cooper Hilton, to share his "why" regarding his support of the Schoolwide Enrichment Model.  Click on the link below to hear what he had to say.


The relationships our learners are cultivating...with each other...with educators...with members of the community...are by far one of the most valuable pieces of the SEM puzzle.  Our learners have weekly opportunities to interact with real world professionals who not only share their interests and passions, but who have found ways to weave those passions into their adult lives in meaningful, productive ways.  What could be more validating to a child than to walk and talk with an adult who, like Simon Sinek says, "believes what he/she believes!"

Let's take a look at some of these everyday heroes our learners have had the chance to work with over the last several weeks...


Michael Milligan, one of our Mustang parents, shares his knowledge of Russian language / history with 3rd, 4th, and 5th Grade Learners in "Linking Through Language" Cluster



 Coppell Police Officer Freeman Shares her Expertise in Crime Scene Investigation with 3rd, 4th, and 5th Grade Learners in "Mystery, Mystery" Cluster


 Kevin Nevels Shares the Art of Taekwondo with Kindergarten Learners During E-Time



 Ann Frosch, One of our Dedicated Parents, Works with a Young Learner in "Linking Through Language" Cluster


 Sally Wietkoff, Mustang Parent, Shares Her Love of Science with 3rd, 4th, and 5th Grade Learners in "Germs and Other Gross Stuff" Cluster


 FBI Agent, Todd Hynson, Shares His Expertise with 3rd, 4th, and 5th Grade Learners in "Mystery, Mystery" Cluster


Jennifer Manning, Mustang Parent, Taught Herself to Crochet In Order to Work With These 3rd, 4th, and 5th Grade Learners in "Chronicles of Yarnia" Cluster


 CHS STEM Academy Learner Shares Her Experience with 3rd, 4th, and 5th Grade Learners in "Rockin' Robos" Cluster



 Linka Behn, Mom of our Beloved Music Teacher, Mr. Barnette, Shares Her Knowledge and Expertise with 3rd, 4th, and 5th Grade Learners in "Animation Station" Cluster


 Mustang Moms Demonstrate Quilting Technique to 3rd, 4th, and 5th Grade Learners in
"Young Austin Quilters Guild" Cluster


Community Volunteer, Debbie Dragone, Guides Young Learners in "Build It and They Will Come" Cluster as They Develop a Small Business


Coppell Police Officer, Peter Dirks, Discusses the Role of Drug Use as a Factor in the Life of a Criminal with 3rd, 4th, and 5th Grade Learners in the "C.O.P. Academy" Cluster
C.O.P. = Children On Patrol


Coppell Police Officer Discusses Factors That Lead to a Life of Crime with 3rd, 4th, and 5th Grade Learners in "C.O.P. Academy" Cluster


Coppell Police Officers Discuss Safety with Young Austin Mustangs During E-Time


Even Ms. O'Neill Gets Into the Act, as She Shares Her Family's Connection to JFK with 3rd, 4th, and 5th Grade Learners in "Mystery, Mystery" Cluster

Why SEM?  

For Mr. Hilton its relationships...real world professionals...community connections...heroes...

What about you?  Why do you do what you do?  What gets you out of bed in the morning...and keeps you going when the going gets tough?

What's Your WHY?