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Defining Success for Your Students - Inside and Outside the Classroom

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What does the word “success” mean to you?  In an academic setting success is often designated with a number or letter grade, while many educators would use completely different terms to describe the success of their students.  In fact, in a recent Business Insider article, “How Successful People Define Success,” none of the 12 business, political and artistic leaders listed academic status as their measure.  Instead they highlighted criteria such as relationships, satisfaction with yourself and your choices, working hard, and improving the lives of others.  These social and emotional skills far outweigh the letter grade posted on a report card once a quarter.  A teacher may not remember the final grade given to a student but he/she will definitely remember a child who consistently shows empathy, responsibility, and service to his/her fellow classmates.  As you begin to define your measure of success for your classroom, program, after-school setting, or district, carefully evaluate the characteristics you would most want to see in  graduating students.  Productive, self-sufficient, contributing members of society are defined by so much more than a letter grade. What would it take to start teaching and measuring those criteria as well?

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