Expanding Our Notion of Success

A-B Challenge Success Newsletter- February 2017

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FOCUS: ENGAGEMENT

The Glossary of Ed Reform defines student engagement as the degree of attention, curiosity, interest, optimism, and passion that students show when they are learning or being taught, which extends to the level of motivation they have to learn and progress in their education.


Ten years ago, the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) embarked upon research to understand the answers to two questions: What Do Students Want and What Really Motivates Them?


They found the responses centered around the following four goals:

  • Success (the need for mastery),
  • Curiosity (the need for understanding),
  • Originality (the need for self-expression),
  • Relationships (the need for involvement with others).

Challenge Success Partnership

In the spring of 2016, ABRSD entered into a partnership with Challenge Success, out of Stanford University. Challenge Success aims to "provide schools and families with the information and strategies they need to create a more balanced and academically fulfilling life for their kids." The team at Challenge Success collaborates with educators, families, and students to implement best practices and policies in areas such as assessment, homework, and schedule.

Challenge Success Data: Student Engagement

Last spring, we administered the Challenge Success survey to students in grades 6-12. We asked them how often they felt engaged in school using several items regarding how often they enjoyed their schoolwork and found it interesting; how often they worked hard and put effort into their schoolwork, and how often they found their schoolwork valuable and useful. Responses are summarized below.

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Students were also asked to indicate what makes their classes most interesting to them (they were able to choose one or two choices). The most commonly selected answers are summarized below.

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Challenge Success Mantra

At Challenge Success, we believe that our society has become too focused on grades, test scores, and performance, leaving little time for kids to develop the necessary skills to become resilient, ethical, and motivated learners. We provide families and schools with the practical, research-based tools they need to create a more balanced and academically fulfilling life for kids. After all, success is measured over the course of a lifetime, not at the end of a semester.

Web Resources to Consider

Challenge Success Co-Founder Dr. Denise Pope: Engagement

Engaging kids in learning - Denise Pope

Books to Consider

Let’s Talk! Bridging the Cultural Gap Between You and Your Child

Monday, Feb. 6th, 7-9pm

ABRHS Auditorium: 36 Charter Road, Acton, MA 01720

Asian-American youth today face a variety of stressful situations, ranging from social and familial pressures to an increasingly competitive academic system. Students who experience intergenerational conflicts in the home have an increased risk for psychological difficulties. Studies have shown that students who receive quality social and emotional support from caring adults have the potential for improved attitudes and behaviors, greater academic success, and reduced levels of emotional distress.


Let’s Talk! with Dr. Josephine Kim is an opportunity for parents and guardians to explore ways of promoting both the success AND well-being of their Asian-American children.

Through the session, learn about how cultural expectations and differences manifest in daily interactions between you and your child, and how sound attachment and communication skills can be used to buffer stressors in children’s lives.


The focus and motivation of this presentation is to provide a forum for Asian and Asian American members of our community to engage in a conversation about these topics. Students in grades 6-12 are encouraged to attend with their parents/guardians.

This event is open to everyone in our Acton-Boxborough community.


Special thanks to the Acton Chinese American Civic Society (ACACS) for co-sponsoring and partnering with the district on this event.

Dr. Josephine Kim

Josephine M. Kim, Ph.D., LMHC, NCC is a Professor in the Prevention Science and Practice/CAS in Counseling programs at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is also on faculty at the Center for Cross-Cultural Student Emotional Wellness at Massachusetts General Hospital. She is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in the state of Massachusetts and a National Certified Counselor whose clinical skills and experiences span many contexts including residential facilities, hospitals, community agencies, and public and private schools.