Sunday, November 13, 2016

A Letter to My 1003 Middle School Children

Your hopes and dreams matter to me. You are important, and you bring genius to our school. My goal is learn about, from, and with you in order to best serve and support you. Yes, my work is all about you. If your goal is to become a chemical engineer, my goal is to offer you learning opportunities that will deepen your knowledge in converting raw materials into a variety of products. If your goal is to become a professional athlete, my goal is to provide you with the training opportunities that will prepare you with the physical stamina to compete against the strongest of opponents. Web designer? Fantastic. I want you to be using hypertext and hypermedia in class, so that you are ready to begin designing right now. Regardless of where you are headed in this world, my job is make what you do each and every day at school relevant to you and your future.

Also, while we’re working on your #professionalgoals, I want you to have some fun. This is middle school, and technically, you’re still a kid. Let’s go places. Let’s find out what other people in the world are doing. You need to be exploring and investigating. Your challenges are my challenges. Are you ready for some off campus learning? Do you want a professional business partner? Are you interested in making decisions alongside your teachers? Yes? Great. I can arrange for all of that to happen, but I need your help.

In order to personalize your learning experience and maximize our success in working together, you’ll have to make two really important commitments that are deeply rooted in our work around leadership and character. Easy, right?

1. Work hard. I’m not expecting you to be the best at everything you do, and I certainly don’t expect you to know all of life’s answers with just 11, 12, 13, or 14 years under your belt. However, I am asking you to focus on doing your personal best. You need to try really hard, even when the work is super challenging. I believe in you. You can do anything you set your mind to doing. Really. It’s true.

2. Be kind. #Otherpeoplematter. It’s not cool to disrespect others. Making somebody else feel bad doesn’t make you smarter, funnier, or better, and being mean does not translate into wealth, power, or success. Adulthood is right around the corner, and you never know who will be your next door neighbor, your potential boss, your loan officer, or your spouse. That kid who you think is uncool now, just may be the next Nick D’Aloisio. Google him. Seriously.

Character trumps intelligence, but together, they create the human jackpot. Do yourself - and everybody else a solid, focus on both.

We have Genius Day coming up soon --- a day filled with choice, freedom, and opportunity. Your own individual learner profile will drive your schedule. Imagine if every day you could lead your own learning, and select opportunities to grow that were specifically designed and personalized for you. This could become the new normal at Carroll, and it requires your leadership.

I encourage you to set ambitious Wildly Important Goals this year and always. Shoot for the stars. Take risks, own your words and actions, and move mountains.

Opportunities and privileges are about choices --- choices that you make every week, every day, every hour, and every minute at school, at home, and beyond.

Our future is in your hands. Make your choices wisely.

You matter.

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