Growth Mindset: Preparing for College, College Success & Beyond!

Growth mindset is not just a new age philosophical trend, it truly is a way of life and a strategy for good mental health, and thus success! The College Access Program (CAP) curriculum/course is all about incorporating growth mindset. Students learn growth mindset throughout grades 9-11 in preparation for the CAP 12 course: protected and structured time for counselors to guide seniors through a  5 unit curriculum that is essentially the process they will follow in pursuit of college admissions- foundations, feasibility, discernment, enrollment and transition into college.

Why is it so important to pour these teachings into our students? What happened to just teaching pure undeniable hard work?  Well that’s easy, some students will say they have worked hard and still just don’t understand math for example, but then again they have never understood math so they are not surprised that regardless of their hard work, they still did not do well. How many times have you heard it? How many times have you said it yourself? This is the epitome of a fixed mindset.

Research shows that the mindset you have changes everything about how you approach challenges and opportunities—including whether you use the word “challenge” or “opportunity” for the same circumstance. And we all know that high school is full of both challenges and opportunities. We teach students that these two dynamics are actually one in the same, furthermore, that there is success and lessons learned and at the end of each opportunity.

Come senior year we hope our students would have mastered this concept, being able to open themselves to a host of different college options to find the best fit place where they will thrive and reach goals. They will also have the innate understanding that:

  • Belief in the development of whole self, including a healthy balance of mental, social/emotional and physical well-being…
  • Self-confidence in his ability to succeed…
  • Sense of belonging, especially in the school environment…
  • Understanding that postsecondary education and life-long learning are necessary for long-term career success…
  • Belief in using abilities to their fullest to achieve high-quality results and outcomes…
  • Positive attitude toward work and learning…

…is essential to reach their full potential in college and beyond!

 

Advent Season

As this Advent season begins, I look backward at this past year’s experiences, as well as look forward to new and exciting adventures that are waiting to be born.  I can’t help but pause at the loving influence that Fr. Mike Mandala had on my life.  December 7th would have been Fr. Mike’s 72nd birthday.  I still see his joyful face, eager for life, even as he continued to slow down due to the illness that ultimately claimed him. 

About a month after Fr. Mike’s funeral, I received his set of keys to Verbum Dei and was asked to close down his Verbum Dei cell phone account.  But before I did, I thought I should call whomever might have his phone to warn them that phone service was about to end.  When I called Fr. Mike’s cell phone, I was immediately greeted by the jovial and welcoming voice of Fr. Mike’s message, still alive with his enthusiastic and uplifting manner.  I was compelled to call multiple times because I needed to hear his voice and didn’t want to be the one to finally silence my friend.  When I struggle with the loss of a loved one, I often want to hang on to those things that remind me of their goodness and inspire me to be a better man.  Fr. Mike was that kind of person.  May this Advent season connect you to your faith, your friends and your family the way that Fr. Mike did for so many of us.