Through the Chagrin Falls Schools’ strategic planning process, which began in the 2013-14 school year, Chagrin Falls Schools collaboratively identified a mission for the district, “To provide an educational experience empowering students to maximize their potential.” Through its work within each of the four pillars (Curriculum and Instruction, Flexible Learning, Shared Leadership, and Parent / Community Engagement) last school year, work began toward completion of action steps relative to goals that support this mission.
Through generous Chagrin Falls PTO support, the district provided all K-12 teachers with copies of The Talent Code (and all sixth-eighth grade teachers with additional copies of The Little Book of Talent) by Daniel Coyle for reading during summer 2014, serving as a springboard into the 2014-2015 school year. This local author has done a considerable amount of research and study in the area of talent growth and development. The Talent Code, a New York Times bestseller, thoughtfully presented unique investigations of talent hotbeds around the world. Coyle revealed amazing stories and statistics related to talent in varied areas, including athletics and the performing arts to suggest powerful themes that transcend all areas of learning. He suggests, “Greatness isn’t born. It’s grown.” Throughout this book, he carefully examined how “Deep Practice,” “Ignition,” and “Master Coaching” continue to be the elements which consistently promote sustainable growth and development. Through his visits to the district last school year, meeting with K-12 teachers, student leaders, and parents from across the district, Coyle reminded the school community of the value of a growth mindset of intelligence – encouraging every student to grow and maximize his or her potential.
As the district entered the 2015-16 school year, identified action steps within each strategic plan pillar worked toward this end. Beginning in sixth grade Science, students learn about Potential Energy, or stored energy, and what it takes for it to become Kinetic Energy (or to gain motion). As students progress through high school Physics, they learn about the formula used to calculate Potential Energy. AP Physics students use the symbol “U” to represent Potential Energy. “U” is calculated by multiplying mass x gravitational pull x height. (U = mgh) “We have loosely applied this formula to our students, as each student is reflected as mass, has ongoing challenges/conflicts/and/or pulls on him/her, and has coursework, goals, hopes, interests that cause him/her to reach heights above,” said Superintendent Robert Hunt as he explained the district's REALIZE U theme. “‘U’ also emphasizes the value of our district Vision, “To provide a personalized education for all students." Thus, REALIZE U prioritizes our work toward personalizing learning and supporting each student to not only recognizing his/her potential, but also to putting it into motion, or maximizing potential. REALIZE U reflects our K-12 commitment to each student…in an impactful, memorable, and inspirational way.
As we continue into the 2016-17 school year, the REALIZE U theme inspires all of us, whether we are staff, students, parents, or members of our community, to continue to reach and maximize our potential. We continue to incorporate this message throughout all we do. For our students, we hope they realize the gifts and talents they have, whether in academics, arts, music, athletics, leadership, or giving back to our community, and use them to their fullest capacity. For our staff, we hope they realize the potential they have to make a significant impact on each and every student we educate and serve. For our parents, we encourage them to play an integral role in the educational development of their child. Finally, we hope our community realizes that they, too, play a part in the success of our school district and in the education of our students. "We all have the potential to make a difference that will last a lifetime,” concluded Hunt.