Our continued engagement with the Chester Upland School District continues to produce remarkable gains in academic achievement, student engagement, parental engagement, and school environment. Each breakthrough in these areas enables our collaborators at Toby Farms and STEM Academy to fulfill on their missions to transform education for their students. Underpinning these gains is a fundamental shift in thinking around purpose and possibility.
We firmly believe that every teacher wants the very best for their students. When I chose education as my profession was when I realized that those who had the biggest impact on my life, other than my family and friends, were my teachers. Almost every one of them believed in me. As a teacher, I could bring something unique to young people in an important time of formulation. I could imbue in my students a mindset of curiosity and wonder—sparking their passion to learn, grow and be the best they could be. Our education project in Chester, PA exemplifies that a teacher’s commitment to believe in every student’s innate ability can be the access to bringing out their best.
When educators think and collaborate in new ways, the life of a student can change forever. In February, we launched the Breakthrough Mindset Curriculum with teachers and staff at Toby Farms Middle School. The curriculum uses evidenced-based approaches to build mindsets that promote new levels of student success. Specifically, it equips educators with leadership competencies that help them build a culture of collaboration and trust, drive more effective instruction, and ultimately impact student learning.
The Possibility Fund was by started a small group committed to a big idea—reframing intractable challenges to create new possibilities in distressed communities. We were founded on the premise that everyone can, and should, have access to a bright future. This future begins by leveraging the resources and commitment which exist in every community to revitalize, reenergize, reinvest, and rebuild our communities from within.
More than ever, we can easily become consumed in what’s not working that we miss what is working. Taking stock of our collective wins and accomplishments is a powerful practice because it changes the way people think—about progress, about aspirations, or simply about the future looking different. Here are five bright spots that could change your perspective on today’s state of affairs:
There are two significant factors at the heart of a student's success—structural and psychological factors. Structural factors include socioeconomic background, access to resources, and strength of community institutions. Psychological factors include beliefs about individual and collective abilities, expectations for success, and perceptions about institutions and the communities they reside in.
Chester, Pennsylvania is the oldest continuously settled community in Pennsylvania. From its origins in 1644, it experienced its first major growth period stimulated by World War I. The rapid expansion of Chester’s industrial base in steel manufacturing and shipbuilding created the need for workers to support this growth provided many jobs in Chester and the vicinity.