PORT JEFFERSON STATION, NY – Andrew Harris is a Special Education Resource Room teacher working with students between the ages of 14 and 18. He describes his students as bright and hard working children with minor learning disabilities, who would benefit from special projects in addition to support with their regular schoolwork.
Harris applied to our book donation program with an interest in starting an Art of Learning book discussion group with some of his students. He hopes that the learning experiences and principles outlined in the book will inspire his students as they develop their own learning paths. “I want my students to appreciate and enjoy the process of learning,” Harris explains.
In addition to the book group, Harris plans to incorporate some of the Resilience principles such as Valuing Process Before Results and Investment in Loss, into his math and writing lessons. With multiple avenues of exposure to the concepts, he believes the students will more easily incorporate the ideas into their own lives.
BURLINGTON, NJ Susan Ringenary, a Special Education teacher at this middle school, is utilizing The Art of Learning concepts to bolster the confidence levels of her 8th-grade students and give them a concrete set of tools that enables them to view themselves as equals and their disabilities as obstacles that can be conquered. The school’s principal and guidance counselor are also familiarizing themselves with The Art of Learning principles and supporting Susan’s important efforts to help these students transition smoothly from middle school into high school.
CONCORDIA, KS. Melissae Stiles is a facilitator working with gifted students through the special education department. The goal of her team is to help her 13-17-year-old students who face the challenges of asynchronous development realize their maximum potential with the tools they have been given. She is working in partnership with Ginger Lewman at the Turning Point Learning Center (a magnet school) on a Google wiki site that allows student participants to process and engage in conversation about The Art of Learning concepts virtually with the guidance of adult and college student mentors. The goal is to enhance the students’ introspection capacities pertaining to their learning and mastery processes.
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.
CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO. Tanda Smith, a teacher of gifted 5th- and 6th-grade students, is placing The Art of Learning books in her middle school’s library so that parents, teachers, and personnel in the district’s Special Education Services department will have access to its teachings.
TROY, MI. Special Education teacher, Greta Gubbins, will be utilizing The Art of Learning to provide professional development for the school’s child study team.