I Challenge You.

I’m not sure about you, but my Facebook page has been flooded with individuals completing the “Ice-Bucket Challenge” to raise awareness/funds for ALS.  The support for this cause has been unbelievable and it truly shows the nature of the human spirit.  I’m proud to say that I too took this challenge (twice) and became drenched in ice-water.  Kudos to the individual(s) that came up with the great idea.
With that concept in mind I’d like to introduce a new challenge.  I know that there will be many new challenges that feed off of the previously mentioned, but this challenge is free and requires not a single cent to be transferred from your pockets.  It is actually quite simple.  I challenge you to have a conversation with somebody new each and every day for the next two weeks.   That’s it.  That is the challenge.
I presented this challenge to the students, parents, and educators of Griggs County Central during our first teacher in-service and our Back to School event.  I actually challenged them to do it for the entire school year.  A simple conversation with somebody that you don’t normally associate with each day is all this takes.  It can be two sentences back and forth and its over.  It can be simply greeting somebody in the hallway or on the street.  Give a smile and a simple hello.
Each and every one of us has a story.  Each of us wants and needs to feel like we belong.  Every student that walks through our doors has a battle or two or three or more that they are currently fighting.  I challenge you to lend a helping hand.  We all need to feel appreciated, and we all have an obligation to make our society a better place to live.
When you turn on the news you constantly hear the negative things happening in our world.  Whether it be crime, nasty politics, war, etc; we hear it every single day.  Our world is a much better place than what is portrayed in the media.  The Ice-Bucket Challenge is evidence of that.
One of the topics that seem to pop up in the media is the idea that our schools are failing.  Schools are not meeting Adequate Yearly Progress as defined by No Child Left Behind.  It is true; most schools are not meeting this benchmark.  Does one test truly measure a school’s effectiveness?  Has common sense become uncommon?  If you answered “no” to the first and “yes” to the second I think you are on the right track.
Here is how to ensure your school is succeeding.  Have a conversation with somebody new each day.  Make students/teachers feel appreciated.  Show an interest in them and they will show you what success is all about.  Teach real-world competencies such as creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication.  Give them these four tools, and show them that they matter and they will begin to solve some of the problems that we have yet to find the answers.
I recently saw a quote that stated about sixty-five percent of our elementary students today will work at jobs that have not yet been invented when they graduate.  This is a staggering statistic.  The main job of a school district is to ensure students are college and career ready when they walk out your doors for the last time.  This can be a daunting task given the previously mentioned statistic.  Here is the answer.  Have a conversation with somebody new each and every day.  This will show them that they matter.  This will give them motivation to achieve.  Teach students real-world competencies that they will need in every single job when they graduate.  Allow children to be creative.  Ask driving questions (even if those questions yet to have a real answer). Allow students to work together as a team.  This allows them to learn cooperation, and better yet it yields face-to-face interaction (something that seems to be fading us in our society).  Finally allow them to communicate their work to the world.
It’s a simple challenge that requires you to pay nothing but receive the unlimited.  Start the conversation and show people that they matter.  I challenge students, parents, educators, business leaders, community members, and everyone else that has a beating heart.  For the next two weeks have a conversation with somebody new each and every day.   If you’re really brave do it for the rest of the year and maybe the rest of your life.

Disclaimer:  When I blog I simply write my thoughts as they come out of my head.  My blogs are not written to be precise with zero grammatical errors.  When I write for professional purposes I will have it critiqued, but not my blogs.  Sorry if I used the wrong there, or their, or they’re.  I’m notorious for that.  Also a comma here, there, everywhere, or nowhere could have been added or omitted.  My blogs are my thoughts and only that.  Enjoy : ).

Travis Jordan
Superintendent
Griggs County Central
Twitter: @Supt_Jordan

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