January 2018 Newsletter

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Habits or Goals?

As our Eagle Scholars hold their collective breath with Semester 1 grades posted today, I'm reminded of a question that keeps popping up for me: Should we focus on habits or should we focus on goals?

Charles Duhigg digs deeply into this question in his acclaimed book The Power of Habit , Shane Parrish digs shallowly into this question in a recent blog post.

Although I recommend you read both, for the purposes of brevity, I will kick the dirt on top.

Growing up, I was always taught to focus on the goal. If I thought about, talked about, and wrote about what I wanted to achieve, eventually, it would happen. This is the stuff of Tony Robbins books and other self-help guides. And while there power in self-talk and visualization (the greatest athletes all see themselves winning before a game), they can't sustain as a way of life. We are creatures of habit who function much better when we commit fully to the process and let the goal take care of itself.

So, for a junior in high school, instead of writing down and committing to 1450 on the SAT, he might instead commit to reading challenging books for an hour before bed each night and spending thirty minutes a day on Khan Academy.

For a 6th grader, instead of "getting an A in Math," she might commit to attending every Wednesday study session under the tutelage of senior Eagle Scholar who is acing AP Calculus.

What's more, when we focus on goals instead of habits, we often underachieve. Parrish uses the following example: say you want to write a book in a year, so every day when you get up to write, that's in your mind. Conversely, if you make a habit of writing 2 pages a day, you'd finish the book in 6 months!

Goals are often so far in the future, and we know that humans are really bad at thinking ahead, which is why when I'm at my favorite restaurant I I don't say "I'll pass on the steak; I don't want to have clogged arteries when I'm 70."

If we can start with what Duhigg calls "anchors," like studying for 10 minutes before school, or doing seven push-ups before bed, they begin to snowball into bigger habits.

While we often look at students with high GPAs and test scores as exceptionally "gifted" or "bright," the truth is that most of them have just formed some really good habits. As parents and educators, it's up to us to model these and remember that we all have habits; the question is whether they're good or bad.



Duhigg, Charles. The Power of Habit. The Power of Habit, Random House, 2014.

“Habits vs. Goals: A Look at the Benefits of a Systematic Approach to Life.” Farnam Street, Shane Parrish, 17 Aug. 2017, www.fs.blog/2017/06/habits-vs-goals/.

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Thurston Updates

  • College acceptance letters are STILL rolling in for our Eagle Scholars. So far our seniors have been accepted to Michigan State, University of Alabama, University of Oregon, Albion, Alma, Michigan Tech, Central Michigan, Ferris State, Wayne State, Eastern Michigan, Grand Valley, Bowling Green, and Capital University. They'll be hearing more (hopefully good) news in the coming weeks.

  • SCHOLARSHIP ALERT! Check Naviance and the Eagle Scholars site for more info.

  • Charles McCants, Antony Gordon, and Mackenzie Gajda submitted version 1 of their Senior Portfolios. SENIORS: In order to qualify for Eagle Scholars distinction and for the Eagle Scholars Financial Award, you must complete a portfolio. Details to come.

  • The Kalamazoo College visit is on March 15th. Be sure to let Mr. Hughes know if you/your child plans to go.

  • Please welcome our newest Eagle Scholar, Janiah Batchelor, to the program. Janiah comes to us from Renaissance High School and is looking forward to joining our awesome community!

  • The Leadership Team is planning a scholarship fundraiser at Buffalo Wild Wings. Stay tuned for details.

  • T-shirts will be ordered this week for all eligible Eagle Scholars. Let me know if your size has changed since September!

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Pierce Updates

6th Grade ESP

It is important to remind our 6th graders that one bad card marking or semester doesn't mean dismissal from ESP. We understand that making the transition to Pierce can be difficult. However, students are encouraged to seek help and try their best every day. If there are specific concerns that need to be addressed please reach out to Mr. Parsons.

One of the 6th grade science teachers, Mrs. Munoz, is out dealing with a family medical emergency. The Eagle Scholars Program sends her our best wishes during this difficult time.

7th Grade ESP

Mrs. DeMauriac, the 7th grade science teacher, is currently on medical leave. The Eagle Scholars wish her well while she recovers and enthusiastically await her return in February. Her substitute, Ms. Emily Green (starts Monday) is working with Mrs. Trost to develop lessons and continue the level of instruction 7th-grade Scholars are accustomed to.

8th Grade ESP

Some 8th graders have been struggling with the social studies curriculum. It is important to remember that we expect students to embrace the challenge and seek help. There are many resources available to students both online and in school.The 8th grade social studies curriculum is to prepares our students for Advanced Placement classes in 9th grade. If you have any questions about the curriculum or the Advanced Placement Program, please feel free to contact Mr. Parsons or Mrs. Ponder.

General ESP

Pierce recently began its cultural immersion program, acting as a host school for twenty-eight students visiting from China. Two of our current Scholars spent all of the 1st semester studying with them in China. They returned earlier in January and are now acting as host families for the Chinese students. The Eagle Scholars Program is very proud to be a part of this great program.

Do you know someone who might be a good Eagle Scholar candidate? If so, the application for the 2018-2019 school year is open. Entrance exams are scheduled in February, March, and April.

Important Dates

  • Activity Night--2/6
  • NJHS Meeting--2/8
  • Pierce Has Got Talent Auditions--2/8
  • Count Day--2/14
  • Mid Winter Break--2/16 to 2/19

For all other import Pierce and district-wide dates, please refer to the district calendar.

"It is never too late to be what you might have been." -George Eliot

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