“You is kind. You is smart. You is important.” In this quote from the movie The Help a wise maid who is also employed to raise and care for the children of the family she works for encourages a young girl because this kind of encouragement was absent from her own parents. It reminds me of how my mom encouraged me as a child. She made me feel strong and gave me hope. Just like a shot in the arm, this “momma inoculation” was full of hope, and the boosters came often when she would talk about my strengths and encourage me to use them.
Don’t get me wrong, raising me wasn’t a bed of roses. I was spanked often and with whatever object was closest to this wonderful lady with a passion no presidential candidate could muster. However, she always came back with my strengths. Encouraging me, loving me and guiding me with a fervor that only a mom could provide.
In today’s high stakes standardized testing world, schools often lead with weaknesses. We do this because our kids need to pass from one educational standard to another and not capturing a learning concept can result in problems that will continue until mastered. My question has always been, “What’s the inoculation when our kids feel weak from failure?” I don’t want to glaze over it or move around it. Part of being an adult is learning how to achieve in spite of life’s daily struggles and failure is important for growth.
In Wylie ISD, we believe that kids should not only meet an educational standard, but an emotional standard that includes hope, well-being and engagement that keeps our kids moving forward in a happy and healthy way. How do we do it? Just like my mom, by inoculating them with hope and encouraging them with their strengths.
Discovering Your Child’s Character Strengths
Every kid in our school district takes the VIA strengths survey from the University of Pennsylvania and learn about their strongest character traits. This 10 minute survey provides each student a report of their own strengths.
We realize there is no replacement for the power of parenting, so we would love for you to take the survey as well. Just click the button below and get started. This would be a great way to get the conversation started about what makes your child special.
From K-12, every classroom will comprehensively discuss student strengths. Our Intermediate kids have already taken the survey. Next week, every 5th and 6th grader will dive into their own strengths and learn how to use them. Below is an example of a list each student will get from the survey.
It ranks their individual strengths and highlights their Top 5 Character Strengths. Our goal is for kids to understand the power of their strengths and for educators to help them harness the power. When a kid is engaged, they are performing at a higher level they are using these strengths and this translates into an achievement. When they know their strengths and realize their power, they are more hopeful…so more engaged.
Because this is so important, we have a special activity for 5th and 6th grade students that they are sure to enjoy. We are combining fashion with strengths as every kid will get a Wylie Way strengths shirt. They will use a Sharpie to highlight their Top 5 Strengths.
We love your kids and want the absolute best for them. I hope that allowing them to discover their strengths will provide each child a little more hope, well-being and engagement. Focusing on strengths and booster shots of hope, that’s the Wylie Way!