Expanding Our Notion of Success

A-B Challenge Success Newsletter - December 2016

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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, parents, and students to implement best practices and policies in areas such as assessment, homework, and schedule.


This month's newsletter will focus on fostering RESILIENCE in our students. According to the Harvard Center on the Developing Child, "the essence of resilience is a positive, adaptive response in the face of significant adversity."

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Fostering Resilience in Our Students

When Maria Trozzi, co-founder of Boston Medical Center's Good Grief Program, spoke to families in the district on 11/14/2016 about the five factors she associates with resilience:


  1. Managing feelings: It is important for students to know what they feel, express their feelings, and manage their feelings in order to manage behavior. As she shared, "All feelings are okay. All behavior is not."
  2. Delaying gratification: This is the voice inside my head that says, "I am the boss of me. I can control my impulses and delay gratification."
  3. Displaying grit: When students display grit, they are showing resolve. They believe strongly that they have the ability to reach their goals.
  4. Being mindful: Students who are mindful purposefully pay attention to their thoughts, body, and feelings within the moment.
  5. Showing kindness/empathy: It is important that students are able to put themselves in others' shoes and demonstrate care and compassion.


All of these factors support student resilience. To read more about fostering resilience, visit: http://www.fosteringresilience.com/.

Did You Know?

In spring 2016, we administered a Challenge Success survey to our nearly 2900 6th – 12th grade students. Students responded to a few questions about how many of their teachers cared about them and supported them. When students know that they have adults who care about them, they are able to show flexibility and resilience when faced with stress or an adverse situation.


The charts below indicate that the majority of students in Grades 6-12 reported that they have at least one adult in the school to go to if they encounter a problem or challenge.

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Video Resources: Resilience

InBrief: The Science of Resilience
InBrief: How Resilience is Built
“Our current fast-paced, high-pressure culture works against much of what we know about healthy child development… our largely singular focus on academic achievement has resulted in a lack of attention to other components of a successful life – the ability to be independent, adaptable, ethical, and engaged critical thinkers.” (Pope, et al. , 2015)
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Books and Resources to Consider

Empathy Games, Apps and Websites

These tools will help to teach students empathy for others. Arranged by age, be sure to scroll all the way down to see apps for older students!

Reducing Anxiety in Students w/ Jessica Minahan, M.Ed., BCBA

Wednesday, Dec. 14th, 7pm to Thursday, Dec. 15th, 9pm

16 Charter Road

Acton, MA

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that one in four 13- to 18-year-olds has had an anxiety disorder in his or her lifetime. Without intervention, these children are at risk for poor performance, diminished learning, and social/behavior problems in school. Understanding the role anxiety plays in a student’s behavior is crucial and using preventive strategies is key to successful intervention. Effective behavior plans for these students must avoid the reward- and punishment-based consequences from traditional behavior plans and focus instead on the use of preventive strategies and on explicitly teaching coping skills, self-monitoring, and alternative responses.

Easy to implement preventive tools, strategies, and interventions for reducing anxiety, increasing self-regulation, executive functioning, and self-monitoring will be discussed.


This learning event is for all parents/guardians and grandparents with children preschool through grade 12, and for any interested community members.

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.