Lion image on wall at Clark Hall

The Lion's Share, June 2022

Posted: 6/8/2022 Categories: District News, HOMEPAGE Headlines, Lincoln High School News, Blacklick Elementary News, Chapelfield Elementary, Goshen Lane Elementary News, High Point Elementary News, Jefferson Elementary News, Lincoln Elementary News, Royal Manor Elementary News, Middle School South News, Middle School East News, Middle School West News

 

The Lion's Share

Steve Barrett
Superintendent
Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools

 
June 7, 2022


There is no house
like the house of belonging.
     “The House of Belonging”
     - David Whyte


Few would argue against the notion that all human beings, especially school-age children, have a deep-seated need to belong to something, to feel like they’re a part of something larger than themselves. But what exactly does a sense of belonging give us in our day-to-day lives?

In their book We Belong, researchers Laurie Barron and Patti Kinney tell us belonging is the perception one has of being valued and included in a particular group or setting. They tell us belonging is often described in schools as “the extent to which students feel personally accepted, respected, included and supported by others.”

This is even more important after two years of a terrible pandemic, where isolation, angst and anxiety ruled the day. The uncertainty of each day over the last couple of years has haunted us in many ways, and many of us have very little bandwidth for another dashed hope.

So like many of us, kids are looking for permanence, consistency and a level of certainty that they will be accepted for who they are. If we can create a strong sense of belonging and connectedness, we can help students become more resilient and respond to challenges beyond what they think they are capable of achieving.

So how can a strong sense of belonging help students accomplish things and build resilience in their lives? I don’t know how to describe this, but I know what it’s like when I see it.

On Saturday, June 4, our girls track team won its third state championship (Congratulations, Lady Lions!) under coach Roger Whittaker, who has been coaching track at GLHS for the past 33 years. Coach Whitaker builds a sense of belonging with his teams that is nonpareil. They respond to challenges and are resilient, not to mention incredibly focused.

Before the state meet, Coach Whit invoked what he calls the 90 second rule with the team, which goes something like this: “We have 90 seconds to celebrate what’s great and 90 seconds to move past whatever doesn’t go exactly our way. That’s it! Then we move on to our ultimate focus.”

So these Lions bought in. Ninety to regret or 90 to celebrate. Then they moved on because, above all else, they belonged to a team and that focus mattered more than anything to them.

What’s not to love about this? Which of us could not have used this 90 second rule 1000 times or more during the past couple of years? Our girls won the state championship, but my guess is they’ll take the 90 second rule with them in future endeavors. Maybe they will go on to own their own business, or go to law or med school, or become teachers.

Whatever they do, they will be ready for it, both the ups and the downs. Education researchers might call the 90 second rule a “transfer skill.” To me, it’s a genius survival skill that builds a sense of belonging and makes champions.

Students who belong to something respond better to challenges and pick themselves up when something goes wrong. It doesn't matter whether they are part of the school band, orchestra, theatre program, choir, debate team or a sport. Students who join any of the above will learn things that last a lifetime.

Go Lions!


The Lion's Share, June 2022

Posted: 6/8/2022 Categories: District News, HOMEPAGE Headlines, Lincoln High School News, Blacklick Elementary News, Chapelfield Elementary, Goshen Lane Elementary News, High Point Elementary News, Jefferson Elementary News, Lincoln Elementary News, Royal Manor Elementary News, Middle School South News, Middle School East News, Middle School West News

 

The Lion's Share

Steve Barrett
Superintendent
Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools

 
June 7, 2022


There is no house
like the house of belonging.
     “The House of Belonging”
     - David Whyte


Few would argue against the notion that all human beings, especially school-age children, have a deep-seated need to belong to something, to feel like they’re a part of something larger than themselves. But what exactly does a sense of belonging give us in our day-to-day lives?

In their book We Belong, researchers Laurie Barron and Patti Kinney tell us belonging is the perception one has of being valued and included in a particular group or setting. They tell us belonging is often described in schools as “the extent to which students feel personally accepted, respected, included and supported by others.”

This is even more important after two years of a terrible pandemic, where isolation, angst and anxiety ruled the day. The uncertainty of each day over the last couple of years has haunted us in many ways, and many of us have very little bandwidth for another dashed hope.

So like many of us, kids are looking for permanence, consistency and a level of certainty that they will be accepted for who they are. If we can create a strong sense of belonging and connectedness, we can help students become more resilient and respond to challenges beyond what they think they are capable of achieving.

So how can a strong sense of belonging help students accomplish things and build resilience in their lives? I don’t know how to describe this, but I know what it’s like when I see it.

On Saturday, June 4, our girls track team won its third state championship (Congratulations, Lady Lions!) under coach Roger Whittaker, who has been coaching track at GLHS for the past 33 years. Coach Whitaker builds a sense of belonging with his teams that is nonpareil. They respond to challenges and are resilient, not to mention incredibly focused.

Before the state meet, Coach Whit invoked what he calls the 90 second rule with the team, which goes something like this: “We have 90 seconds to celebrate what’s great and 90 seconds to move past whatever doesn’t go exactly our way. That’s it! Then we move on to our ultimate focus.”

So these Lions bought in. Ninety to regret or 90 to celebrate. Then they moved on because, above all else, they belonged to a team and that focus mattered more than anything to them.

What’s not to love about this? Which of us could not have used this 90 second rule 1000 times or more during the past couple of years? Our girls won the state championship, but my guess is they’ll take the 90 second rule with them in future endeavors. Maybe they will go on to own their own business, or go to law or med school, or become teachers.

Whatever they do, they will be ready for it, both the ups and the downs. Education researchers might call the 90 second rule a “transfer skill.” To me, it’s a genius survival skill that builds a sense of belonging and makes champions.

Students who belong to something respond better to challenges and pick themselves up when something goes wrong. It doesn't matter whether they are part of the school band, orchestra, theatre program, choir, debate team or a sport. Students who join any of the above will learn things that last a lifetime.

Go Lions!