Dear Bernardo Heights Parents and Community,
At BHMS, we support our District mission of College and Career Readiness for All Students. For our students to achieve this goal, they will need to be critical and creative thinkers, problem-solvers, collaborators, and have the ability to persevere. We believe that meaningful work can teach students to enjoy effort, to love challenges, to be resilient, to persevere, and to place value on personal improvement. We are working as a school to design and present learning tasks in ways that help students develop a growth mindset, leading to short-term achievement and long-term life success.
Carol Dweck, author of the book Mindset, conducted research identifying two distinct ways in which individuals view intelligence and learning. Individuals with a fixed mindset believe that intelligence is simply an inborn trait—they have a certain, fixed amount. In contrast, individuals with a growth mindset believe that they can develop and grow their intelligence over time (Dweck, 2007).
According to this research, these two mindsets lead to different behaviors. Students who view intelligence as fixed, tend to value looking smart above all else. They may sacrifice opportunities to learn if it requires them to risk performing poorly or making mistakes. Students with a growth mindset, on the other hand, view challenging work as an opportunity to learn and grow.
Students with a growth mindset meet difficult problems with excitement and look at mistakes as opportunities to learn/grow.
This year, the BHMS staff has embraced the opportunity to foster a growth mindset in our students. We encourage students to take on challenges with determination and to understand that making mistakes is often a valuable part of learning. We are deepening our understanding about the brain and promoting a flexible mindset. Our morning announcements and Bobcat Character lessons will connect our growth mindset goals to students’ lives. Prior to October MAPs testing, we will encourage students to reflect on their prior MAPs scores and assist them in setting goals for growth for this school year. We are working to replace the phrase, “I can’t” with “I can’t yet.”
Parents can help us in this effort at home. One way to create such a culture at home is by providing the right kinds of praise and encouragement. Research has shown that praising children and adolescents for the process they have engaged in, the effort they applied, the strategies they used, the choices they made, the persistence they displayed, and so on, yields more long-term benefits than telling them they are "smart" when they succeed.
Parents should also emphasize that fast learning is not always the deepest and best learning and that students who take longer sometimes understand things at a deeper level. Parents can also ask their children to identify areas for improvement, help them establish challenging personal goals.
We look forward to sharing our learning and our progress with this process this school. On behalf of all of us at BHMS, I want to personally thank you for your partnership with our school efforts.