As one calendar year closes out and another opens, many people spend time taking stock of their lives, marking goals achieved and those all elusive “not there yet” goals. This week, students and their parents are looking at report cards for the first trimester. In Middle and Upper School, we ask students to reflect on their performance, to “take stock” of their goals for themselves and which ones they met. It is an important part of the learning process with that goal we are all marching towards: making students agents and active participants in their own education. Yes, at Tuxedo Park School, we grow good people, kind people. We also grow people who are self aware and understand how they learn best; we teach them which study strategies work best for them; we ask them to articulate their thought processes; we ask them to take intellectual risks–and when they fail, we are glad because they need that experience of NOT having something go their way, of finding out how their strategy (or lack of strategy) worked against them. There are very few things we can predict about the world they will enter as adults, but we do know they will need to be comfortable with failure as they test and invent new technologies and products, as they solve old problems in new ways. So that report card? It’s important. As adults, we must model a growth mindset: right now, you are a student who struggles with x and is doing amazingly well in y; right now, you need to try a new strategy for this problem. We honor effort and make sure students understand that effort and resilience are the key to future success. So as you read that report card, honor effort, celebrate success, and use failure as a teacher would–as part of the learning that happens to those who really try. And if there is a concern about anything in the report card, please be in touch with your child’s teacher.
As we enter the home stretch to break, we take stock of academic achievement, we enjoy all kinds of artistic accomplishments at our concerts and culture study, and we express gratitude for a school that stretches each child.