The educational journey through a PreK-8 school allows students to gain the skills they will need to be successful in secondaryschool, college and throughout their adult life. It is our responsibility as educators to provide students with the foundation of skills they will need to be successful in the future.
I recently read Valerie Strauss' column titled The surprising thing Google learned about its employees - and what it means for today's students. In a 2013 study, Google discovered the secret to their top employees' success was not their technical training, but their strong character traits. This article resonated with me as it points to the balance we must achieve in a student's journey. As the article shares, employers at Google noted the importance of the development of students' soft skills: communicating and listening well, possessing insights into others (including those who have different values and points of view); empathy, a good critical thinker and problem solver, and the ability to make connections across complex ideas.
Google went on to conduct a study called"Project Aristotle"whose outcomes revealed "the best teams exhibit a range of soft skills: equality, generosity, curiosity toward the ideas of your teammates, empathy and emotional intelligence. And topping the list: emotional safety. No bullying. To succeed, each and every team member must feel confident speaking up and making mistakes. They must know they are being heard."
Like a muscle, these are areas that need to be taught, practiced and, supported. It happens thoughtfully and subtly every day at my School. When students are working on a team project, competing for the win in physical education class, working through a complex math problem or sitting with a student from another grade in the dining room, students will encounter moments where they need to work through group and individual dynamics. These moments are woven into our students' day and they are supported by adults. Whether they're working in our project learning center, the NOVUS center, or performing STEAM activities such as Coding with Beebots and Dash and Dot, regularly we witness students naturally display the characteristics of our motto, Veritas, Pietas, Caritas (Truth, Loyalty, Compassion). These qualities all contribute to making students successful adults and excellent future employees.