April 2019 Newsletter

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100% of proceeds go toward Eagle Scholars Award winners' college education. Awards will be presented at Honors Night. These are students who have gone above and beyond the requirements of the program. This is a tax-deductible donation.

"I hope they get hurt...but not too badly"

The other day, when the sun came out of what felt like eternal hiding, and the temperature topped 40, neighborhood families flooded our local park like a pack of wild dogs after a wounded caribou.

Kids launched off play structures, scaled twisty slides, and swallowed sand that had marinated in snow and ice since October. Parents stood on the perimeter chatting and watching apprehensively as their kids did what kids do: test the limits around them; try, fail, try, fail, try and fail again. My boys, three and two, spun on the merry-go-round at warp speed.

I thought: “I kind of hope they fall but don’t get hurt badly.”

I think my counterintuitive reaction was in light of the celebrity college admissions scandal. Really, I just don't want to become a snowplow parent. If you haven't heard of this phenomenon, it's a ratcheted up version of the helicopter parent. While helicopters parents are known to be over-involved in kids' decisions about the obstacles they face, snowplow parents simply remove those obstacles. So yes, this is the only reason Full House is in the news right now.

To be sure, neither resonates with my experience as a child – my folks never used car seats and would sit me in a swing for seven hours while they painted houses. So I’m not sure if I turned out pretty laid back in spite of or because of the paint fumes.

What I see nowadays though, is a lot of parents over-advocating for their kids, to the point where their kids lose agency in some very important decisions and challenging situations. This, of course, extends to teachers, counselors, and coaches. If we see our role as removing obstacles for kids, what happens when we’re not there anymore?

No wonder anxiety and depression in young adults has skyrocketed over the past few years. Mix this adversity-aversion with social media that peddles a fictionalized version of everyone else, and what results is a potentially lost generation.

Perhaps the greatest paradox of parenting (and teaching) is that we must protect our kids while we empower them. We must encourage them while we challenge them. We must trust them while we question then.

As parents and educators, how do we know when to push and when to back off? How do we know when to allow a kid to fail a test and learn a lesson, rather than fight her tooth and nail to study?

There are no easy answers to this, but ultimately, I believe that if we trust that the child, with proper guidance, has the capacity to make decisions and deal with the consequences of those decisions, he/she will continue to develop into the adult he/she was meant to be.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go pick my kids up. They fell off the merry-go-round.

For more on this topic, check out this article.

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Pretty cool data...

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Thurston Updates

Important Dates:

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4/9: SAT (Juniors only)

4/11: Albion College visit (Juniors only)

5/22: U of M-Ann Arbor Visit (Freshmen only)

5/23: Honors Dinner

5/30: Kalamazoo College visit (Juniors only)

5/30: Honors Night

6/3: Eagle Scholars Program Orientation

6/3: AP Kickoff night

Acceptance letters are rolling in for our seniors from Howard University, U of M Ann Arbor, Michigan State, Pratt, Leiden, Wayne State, EMU, CMU, Northern Michigan, University of Findlay, Ohio Northern, and others. Still waiting to hear from Harvard, Yale, Oxford, Stanford, Boston University, New York University, Kalamazoo College, Hope College, and The University of Chicago.

The Eagle Scholars Award application will be available in February for qualifying seniors. Last year we disbursed over $2000.

You/your child should be thinking about what AP course(s) to take next year. AP courses for 10th graders: AP Government, AP Psychology, AP World History. Remember that all students must take AP Lang in either 11th or 12th grade.

Thursday study sessions are now in the cafeteria (2:45 - 3:45) Pizza is provided for $1 per slice.

Tutoring runs Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday in the Media Center from 2:45 - 3:45.

Redford Youth Leadership Conference

Hope College Overnight Visit

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Pierce Updates

Important Dates:

subscribe to the calendar here

4/9: PSAT

4/15: Place Out of Time Field Trip (6th graders)

6/3: Eagle Scholars Program Orientation

Wednesday study sessions are back in full swing with a bit of a twist. We've started an epic, semester-long game of Team Trivia, in which ESP middle schoolers demonstrate their knowledge on a variety of subjects while Mr. Hughes demonstrates how old and out of touch he is. This, of course, only happens once we've gotten in some solid study time, often using the Pomodoro technique.

Among other curricular highlights, 6th graders are gearing up for the U of M visit for Place Out of Time and preparing to dive into Earth Science, 7th graders are finishing up their Outsiders essays, and 8th graders are grappling with the timeless Lord of the Flies, by William Golding. As we race toward the end of the year, 8th graders are showing they're are ready to move into the high school phase of the program with positive momentum.

We're also looking forward to welcoming a fantastic group of Eagle Scholars for next year in grades 6 through 9. To be sure, many of our current seniors didn't enter the program until after 6th grade. This underscores the importance of providing students the opportunity to access the program when they are ready, willing, and able.

"Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth." --Marcus Aurelius

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