Superintendent's Student of the Week

Merit Award:  Perseverance

“Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.” ~ Winston Churchill

How can we best prepare children to thrive in the future? This question is at the heart of what every educator attempts to do on a daily basis. Apart from teaching content of knowledge and skill development, it’s becoming clear that the “noncognitive competencies” such as, perseverance, grit, tenacity, curiosity, character, confidence, and passion as just as important, if not more so, in preparing children to be self-sufficient and successful in life beyond schooling.

To that end, how do educators and school systems integrate these ideas into their practice? Are these competencies malleable and teachable? How significant a role do they play in students’ success? What are the best learning environments to encourage and foster these attributes?

Students can develop psychological resources to promote competencies, such as perseverance, grit, tenacity, curiosity, character, confidence, and passion. Research points to three facets that specifically promote perseverance, all of which have been shown to be teachable in certain contexts:

Student of the Week Receiving the award with family, their teacher, and Dr. Enderle
Student of the Week Receiving Award with Family, Teacher, and Dr. Enderle

Academic “Growth” Mindsets ~ A core mindset that supports perseverance is called the “growth mindset,” one’s ability and competence to grow through effort.  A growth mindset constitutes how students frame themselves as learners, their learning environment, and their relationships to the learning environment. They include beliefs, attitudes, dispositions, values, and ways of perceiving oneself. Compelling evidence suggests that mindsets can have a powerful impact on academic performance in general, and in particular on how students behave and perform in the face of a challenge.

Effortful Control ~ Students are constantly faced with tasks that are important for long-term goals, but in the short-term do not feel desirable or intrinsically motivating. Successful students marshal willpower, self-discipline, and regulate their attention during such tasks and in the face of adversity. While this can seem austere or “no fun,” research shows that students who can maintain effortful control in the short-term are happier and better able to handle stress.

Strategies and Tactics ~ Students are also more likely to persevere when they can draw on specific strategies and tactics to deal with challenges and setbacks. They need actionable skills for taking responsibility and initiative, and for being productive under conditions of uncertainty, for example, defining tasks, planning, monitoring, changing course of action, and coping with specific obstacles.

Perseverance Criteria:

Common traits associated with perseverance:

  • Hard work, patience, endurance.
  • Being able to bear difficulties calmly, without complaint, while maintaining an optimistic disposition.
  • Trying and trying again and again.
  • Demonstrating commitment, pride, and a positive attitude in completing a task.
  • Remaining focused on a goal or outcome, and finding ways to overcome obstacles.

We show perseverance when we…

  • Try something new that is very difficult and don’t give up.
  • Have missed a week of school but work hard to catch up.
  • Are at the end of a difficult race but cross the finish line.
  • Spend hours practicing a musical instrument in preparation for a concert.
  • Try out for something after not being successful the first time.
  • Always finish what is started.
  • Keep working at something that is difficult until it is completed.
  • Take more time on a task than expected.

The Superintendent’s Student of the Week Perseverance Award will be presented to one D123 student each week based on teacher and principal recommendation. The primary criteria for commendation will be centered on a student’s ability to consistently demonstrate the ability to persevere at school. The award is based on the life principle that choosing to persevere develops strong character and personal maturity.

The objective of this award will be to identify and affirm positive characteristics demonstrated by the student, not specifically the success or achievement that may have come from it. This award is intended to encourage those in our learning community to persevere through any clear adversity, learn from mistakes, develop a “never quit” attitude, and become a positive example to their peers to do the same.

“I have never been especially impressed by the heroics of people convinced that they are about to change the world. I am more awed by those who struggle to make one small difference after another.” ~ Ellen Goodman

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