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The Stories

Some of the real stories:

The stories that show us that we are on the right path…

As we have been working with schools, there have been so many humbling examples that consistently remind us that we are on the right path. One in particular that stands out was while we were guiding West Tech through their process of identifying their core values…we had gotten to the point where we had a list of 11 phrases that were the culmination of students, teachers, parents, staff and community partner input.

We sent that list out to everyone for their review and feedback and also asked them to wordsmith it. In one of the English classes there was a small group who came up with the West Family acronym. As we sifted through all of the feedback and responses that was the one that stood out…with a little tweaking and adding in a few key words from others they settled on the final version.

We called in the group that came up with the West Family acronym and surprised them with donuts and congratulations and invited them to be the ones to introduce the West Family Core Values to the teachers and staff at the next staff development day. One of the girls said, “If we would have known how big this was it wouldn’t have been easy.” We could tell she was so humbly proud and in awe of being recognized! Come to find out she had recently been in trouble at school and was having a tough time.

When we saw her again at the staff development day she was beaming and said, “thank you” to Sandi a few times…she told her, “thank YOU, you are amazing and I appreciate you and the great job you and your group did.” The few teachers and school leaders around Sandi after the student walked away agreed that this was a defining moment for her and they had already noticed a difference in her. She was ready to be seen and heard as the unique and amazing person she is.

Students and Teachers Thriving…

There are so many awesome examples of students and teachers thriving in the schools we have worked with to define their core values and create positive environments on purpose; hearing students say that they are sad to leave school at the end of the day because they love being there so much and getting up at 5 am to start school at 7am is soooo worth it, hearing school leaders say that their school spirit has never been higher, hearing a superintendent say that those students at that school are happier and more respectful than most he has encountered, hearing teachers say they were on the brink of leaving a school until they established their core values and began creating their culture on purpose & now she would never dream of teaching anywhere else.

The Reason we do this Everyday…

We also hear stories of students and teachers and administrators who are struggling every day; the teacher who says he’s afraid he’ll never get through to the kids in his art class because they are told they have to be there and when he tries to make it fun and engaging they cuss at him walk out; the teacher who sends a student to the dean’s office for a dress code violation when the story at the other end is that the student is homeless having just been kicked out of his home 2 days prior and is working at Wal-Mart to try to save for his own apartment and those are the only clothes he has because his grandfather wouldn’t let him take anything with him when he kicked him out; the administrator who feels stifled and longs to be empowered to make a difference versus being bombarded with another program or another initiative that they don’t believe in.

We keep working every day to change the course of education in this country and around the world. We believe that education needs to be revitalized into a system that embraces our differences and celebrates our unique gifts in a way that gives a voice to every individual as an integral part of their school community!

We will keep adding stories along the way and invite you to share your stories here too: