A Light Hitting Hero

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The Cubs are the World Champions! That is a statement that has not been made for 108 years. Last night’s game was one of the best ever (IMHO). Hats off to a Cleveland team that deserved to win as well. But, as we know in baseball, there can be only one winner.

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A tough battle back and forth, combined with intriguing managerial decisions and timely hitting made for great baseball drama. What stood out to me though, as the dust settled after the Cubs on-field celebration, were comments made by Ben Zobrist and Anthony Rizzo. Both Rizzo and Zobrist, undeniably heroes of the game, spoke of the players only meeting led by Jason Heyward during the rain delay and how it impacted the psyche of the team.

As the rain delay began around 11:58pm, the Cubs had seemingly lost their “mojo.” The Indians had gained momentum and tied the game off the Cubs flame throwing closer. Chapman was crying in the dugout as the rain delay was called. The tide had turned for the Indians for sure. The baseball gods sent in some rain and the tarps covered the field as the light hitting hero, Heyward, called the players only meeting in the tunnels under the stadium.

Heyward was only hitting .104 for the entire playoffs and was even benched at one point in the series. Guys like Zobrist, Rizzo, Swrarbreck, and Bryant were hot at the plate and one might have expected them to take the lead at such a crucial time for the team. No, it was the lowest producing offensive players that had the biggest impact. While I have not heard what he said yet, it was clear that Heyward’s impact was profound and positioned the mindset for the team to come out of the tunnels together, with fire and purpose.

We all know how the game ended now. The Cubs got hot at the plate and scored the runs they needed after that rain delay. Heyward struck out at the plate with runners in scoring position in the 10th when he had a chance to contribute, but he had already contributed all he needed at that point. He set the compass right for the team and led them to victory.

The message here is powerful. Everyone can contribute, even when you are not getting hits. Heyward could have let his offensive struggles get in the way of contributing, but he didn’t. Despite his flawed performance, Heyward inspired those around him to play together and believe in the team. I mean, he only had the pressure of the curse of a goat and the 108-year gap of “flying the W” on the last day of the baseball season. Well done Mr. Heyward, well done! I hope Steve Bartman is celebrating somewhere.

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“Places filled with yet….”

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“To live in places filled with yet.” These are the final words of Carol Dweck’s 2014 TEDx talk in Sweden. Almost everything we do in school is measured and quantified. The end of the year means outputs like final grades and standardized test score assessments. Performance is measured everywhere, from school to sports (baseball has a metric for EVERYTHING). I will admit, I have become somewhat of a numbers “geek” and enjoy the analysis. It helps tell the story and is extremely useful for planning purposes, however, numbers can’t tell the whole story.

The end of the school year always brings some good quality reflection time. There is a great deal of qualitative data that comes from this reflection. Stories from the year are remembered and reflected upon. Some very personal. Some include failures. Some celebrate triumphs. All remind me that nothing is ever finished when you are working in schools. A report card and a standardized test are just a snapshot of where you are now, as opposed to being seen as documentation of a finished product. Yes, the end of a school year brings with it closure, but it must equally be seen as a window to “yet.” Yet may just be my favorite word in the English language. Yet implies that there is more to come. Yet means there is more work to be done. Yet is essential for growth. Schools are in the business of growing human capital, and we must operate with the belief that nothing is fixed in the mind or body of a child (or an adult for that matter). I am working on many things, including my golf game and a consistent drive of 240 yards straight down the fairway. I am not there, yet.

I just re-listened to Carol Dweck’s Tedx talk, linked above, as I begin the process of reflecting back on the year. Take a listen if you have a chance. Dweck is one of my favorites, and she helps me get focused on what is important. I can also now say that she and I have something in common. We have both given Ted Talks.  I am no Dweck, but I can at least say we have both shared “ideas worth spreading.” Check it out on the “videos” tab on this site. May your summer be filled with popsicles, pools, family, fun, dreaming, growth, a 240-yard drive down the fairway, and more “Yet” to come.

Failure is an Option

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I am not a big Domino’s pizza fan. I was spoiled as a kid with really good NY pizza. I do like this ad I came across where they use the slogan, “Failure is an option.” Domino’s refers to the cookie pizza as a failure. I am not going to lie, I had it once and it was not bad. I also liked the commercial so much, I tried the new chicken pieces at work one day. Pretty tasty. Back to the message of the commercial. Failure is in fact an option. It is actually a very good option.

I previously tweeted with @BarbaraCorcoran of the show Shark Tank. I was asking her for advice for the young entrepreneurs enrolled in our summer online course. She was gracious to respond and share her wisdom. He advice was perfect. “Don’t be afraid to fail! How quickly you can bounce back is everything.” I wonder if she is working for Domino’s? Great advice from Barbara and a great message from Domino’s.

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One of the best ways to learn is to try something new. Sometimes that ends in a cookie pizza failure, or sometimes it ends up being the next best invention. Check out this story on 10 accidental inventions. To quote the great John Wooden, “If you’re not making mistakes, then you are not doing anything. I am positive a doer makes mistakes.” There are countless quotes that can go along with this. Wooden, Domino’s and Barbara Corcoran have it right. Failure is an option. Better yet, learning from failure is the best option. Get out there and be a doer!

My Day as Head of School, by Morgan C.

Before my day as Head of School started I thought it would be a fun and tiring day. I was right about it being fun, but not about it being tiresome. I think it was so much fun that I did not get tired.

My day started at the back door greeting students as they walked into school. I thought that nobody would want to shake my hand or take me seriously, but I was way off. Everybody shook my hand, no matter how awkward it was. I noticed that the younger kids did not have the firmest handshake, but the firmness of the handshake seemed to increase grade by grade.

There were many great parts of the day, but I want to focus on two highlights. One of the highlights was teaching PE and Business class. In Business, the kids really listened to me (more than Mr. Powers I think) and in PE I realized how hard it is to get the attention of hyped-up kids, but the whistle really helped. I also did not realize how intense it is to speak in front of students. The second highlight was performing an observation of Ms. Dosh. While observing Ms. Dosh I felt very professional and loved seeing my old classroom again. Observing a teacher, instead of being taught by one, felt very different.

In the end, it was a very good but different day today. Some teachers asked for a raise, most people called me Madame, President or Principal Morgan, and it was weird staring into classrooms where I was supposed to be. It was really cool seeing school from an adult view. This whole day felt like a different perspective for me. From watching teachers to teaching classes, in general, this has to be the best day EVER!!!!!

-By Morgan C.

A Pain Free Day for Head of School Pane

Today, I was able to work as the Head of School at The Woods Academy. The first words, or phrases, that come mind to describe the day are: fun, interesting, faster than a normal school day, sometimes annoying, but overall, it was a good day.

I learned several lessons today as well. One is that you need to be calm as the Head of School. Second is that you need to learn to say no to people sometimes. Lastly, I learned that I need to be careful sharing my plans because not all can participate sometimes. These were good lessons learned on the job as the Head of School.

There were many highlights from the day. Shaking hands as students entered the back door in the morning was great, even though it was so cold. Teaching PE class was fun. I was also allowed to have a cup of tea while I handed out the birthday stickers. We even learned that we had a student’s birthday listed wrong. So we made the correction. Skipping my classes was fun and having lunch with my friends was great as well.

The biggest challenge I faced was that everyone asked me questions. I think I had received over 100 questions by 11am. The hardest questions were the ones where people asked for certain privileges. I think this is why I learned that it is important to learn to say “no” at times.

Overall, it was a great day. I would recommend that other students should try to be the Head of School for the day. Just remember to smile a lot in this job.

– Garrick P.