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Redmond Proficiency Academy

Redmond, OR – Redmond Proficiency Academy is a charter school serving students in the 6th through 12th grades. Their mission is to provide students with a proficiency-based education in a personalized learning environment through the creation of learning opportunities that are aligned to state, national, and industry standards.  They value the individuality of their students and strive to create an inclusive school environment in which all students aspire to high levels of academic achievement and personal growth.

Sandy Cloud, the school’s Community Liaison, organized a group of faculty who read and discussed The Art of Learning.  The result was a podcast on the school’s “Three Minds, One Book” series, hosted by Executive Director John Bullock, and including Science instructor Amy Mitchell and Spanish instructor Troy Longstroth.  Over the course of their conversation they touched on ideas such as the importance of Investment in Loss in science and language learning, Using Adversity, Building Your Trigger, and Loving the Game. They shared ideas about how to include a depth over breadth approach to teaching in an educational system in which there must be a breadth of study, and how to encourage students to discover and follow their passions, even when it is difficult to do so.

RPA is using their Yoga classes, Band classes, and Freshman Seminar classes to teach the Power of Presence through various forms – gratitude, silence, meditation, slowing down – in order to create space for students to hear their inner voice and allow time to slow.  These practices will give students a chance to see more clearly, know the choices available to them, and handle stress in healthier ways.

South Carolina Consortium for Gifted Education

CHARLESTON, SC This organization promotes and supports the preparation of teachers and other professionals responsible for the education of gifted and talented students. Dr. Jean Chandler, an Executive Board Member and Regional Trainer for the consortium, is leading book discussions with regional teachers for the gifted and talented. Individual participants are presenting chapters and considering how the content can be applied to teaching strategies to help students maintain balance in their lives and maximize their achievements. Chandler is further creating Socratic seminar-style curriculums for the 8th-, 9th-, 10th-, 11th- and 12th-grade students participating in the “Junior Scholars” leadership institute she teaches. She is also reviewing the book and the relationship its principles bear to giftedness in the organization’s newsletter.

Groton-Dunstable Alliance for Youth (GDAY)

GROTON, MA. This organization’s mission is to reinforce healthy and respectful behavior among children, teens and communities. Says Alice Anne Barbo, its former president:

“The Groton-Dunstable Alliance for Youth (GDAY) used the books donated by the JW Foundation as a part of our Parent-to-Parent Network book discussion series.  We provided copies to the libraries in our towns and each school in the district, and also distributed them at GDAY events leading up to our book discussion. We encouraged families to view Searching for Bobby Fischer as a gateway to familiarize people with Josh Waitzkin and plant the seeds about the Art of Learning.  Many staff members at the Groton-Dunstable Middle and High Schools used this movie as well to encourage student/parent/guardian discussion about balance, fair play, and family values.

After the book discussion, GDAY continued to provide the books to local organizations that support youth development in our communities. The Groton-Dunstable SPED-Pac (Special Education Parent Advisory Group), GD-STEM (Groton Dunstable Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education foundation), the GD Athletic Boosters, and GDAY all have copies available to loan to community members including and not limited to parents, teachers and coaches. Copies of the book and a list of discussion points used in our Parent-to-Parent Network event were given to each area principal for use by school staffs.”

Alice reports that those who read the book through the book discussion and movie presentation programs learned valuable lessons and, more often than not, passed the book along to others. GDAY continues to showcase the book at their events, back to school nights, and other community outreach opportunities. “It is often said that things happen for a reason. I am pleased that networking with The JW Foundation happened to GDAY,” says Alice.