Second graders this year are working together on a group assignment: learning to recognize and change mindsets. The 77 students and their four teachers gather twice a week to talk about how to identify and overcome “dips” in life - and the importance of the right mindset in addressing and overcoming life’s challenges.
To demonstrate this, the students this week heard from Superintendent Dr. Adam Fineske, who recounted a time in his own life when he overcame a fixed mindset: defeat at his initial inability to ride his bike.
“I was confident I could do it. But I rode just a few feet and fell. I got up, rode a bit further, and fell again,” Dr. Fineske said, recounting the story from his youth growing up in Toledo. “I went home, slammed my bedroom door, and cried.”
“He was in a fixed mindset,” said teacher Jennifer Powers, in describing that moment for the students.
But Dr. Fineske kept working at the challenge, encouraged by his mom. “After a few more tries, I made it farther and farther before falling. All of a sudden, I was riding my bike for blocks. Perseverance had won, and I rode that bike every day for miles upon miles the rest of the summer.”
“How did his mindset change?” Mrs. Powers asked the students. “Remember that people around you can help you out of the ‘dip.’”
The teachers - Mrs. Powers, Kristin Prevette, Kerstyn Weaver and Holly Morgan - call the all-grade meetings and joint assignments “Community 2030” (as these students will graduate in 2030). Together, they will recite positive messages together to the beat of rap music and conduct book exercises gleaned from “The Big Life Journal,” a growth-mindset journal for young people.