Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Extraordinary LASD Teachers Embrace a Growth Mindset

Each year we hire new teachers into Los Altos School DIstrict. It is an annual process as teachers retire, move away, or depart for family reasons. We are looking for specific qualities in our teacher candidates. Qualities that will allow them to continue to provide the very best learning experiences for our students through their entire career in LASD. This is a lofty expectation, but one that is essential to the success of our students. As I was pondering how to welcome our newest members of the team, I was reminded of a message I had read in a book. This message embodies our goal as a school district. It is a message that captures my desire for each teacher, each student, and my own children as well. The message in this book had long been my belief, but now it had been put into words  on the pages of a book. Below is the letter I shared with each of them.

We like to think of our champions and idols as superheroes who were born different from us. We don’t like to think of them as relatively ordinary people who made themselves extraordinary.
Dr. Carol Dweck,

You are coming to an incredible public school district.  A place where students thrive, in no small part, because of the outstanding work being done in our classrooms each and every day.  A place where teachers strive to be their very best and refuse to settle for ordinary results.  A place where the entire learning community - parents, teachers, support staff, and administrators - is pulling in the same direction.  All in support of the students we serve.  You are now a part of something extraordinary.

You were not selected to join Los Altos School District by chance.  Through the interview process and reference checks, special qualities were identified in you.  These are qualities we prize in our school district because we know they ultimately benefit student learning in the classroom.  One of those qualities is a “growth mindset”.  Dr. Carol Dweck of Stanford University captures and describes this idea very well in her book.  I am sending a copy of the book to you in the mail for your reading.  Please give it a read this summer when you have time.  Understanding and nurturing this mindset within yourself will help you continue to grow as an educator and, most importantly, as a person.

Below I have listed some other resources that will give you insight into the work we are doing as a school district that is a leader in revolutionizing learning for all our students. Please take some time to check them out.  Again, welcome to LASD.  We are thrilled to have you teaching our students.  And, please don’t forget: dare to be extraordinary in everything you do.  Our students are counting on you.

I look forward to seeing you in August!


Jeffrey Baier  •  Superintendent

…a leader in revolutionizing learning for all students

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