Each year since I have become a superintendent (August 2014), the importance of opening day has grown. This is the one day that I stress about more than anything else throughout the year. This day unleashes the energy that feeds the culture and behaviors of the district and sets the stage for the year to come.
Last year in the opening message I referenced Urban Meyer's book Above the Line and it’s core principle, The R Factor, which is applicable year after year. And yes, even as a Michigan fan, I can bring myself to say that :)
The R factor is a simple equation that says
Before the opening of this year, the administrative team and I had the pleasure of hearing Tim Kight, the developer of R Factor, again and then completed his train the trainer workshop. During that professional development, Tim said something that really resonated with me and seemed to be the missing puzzle piece to the 2017.18 opening message.
Tim Kight put what we do as educators into perspective when he said “We are human systems first and education systems second”.
So what does that really mean? Whether you are in Mechanicsburg or any other school district, it means that what we do is not grounded in the words on paper that make up our goals, our vision statements and our core beliefs. It means that what we do as educators begins with the core beliefs that rest on our hearts. Let me say that again, what we do as educators begins with the core beliefs we have for our students that rest on our hearts.
That’s the beauty of R Factor and E+R=O. This equation is not something new, it’s merely a tool that will help us stay focused on our why, which is what rests on our hearts.
Mechanicsburg has opened the last few years with a hashtag. The hashtag is a way for us to consistently keep our priority at the forefront of what we do and allows us to tell our story of education in Mechanicsburg. If we don’t tell our story, someone else will do it for us. Don’t leave that to chance!
Knowing our why comes right back around to the notion that we do what we do because of the beliefs that rest on our hearts.
Tim Kight also talked about the notion of the edge, which is where the average version of ourselves, meets the best version of ourselves. I was really intrigued by the notion of this edge because I wake up each day hoping to bring the best version of myself to this district and to my family. I wake up each day with the intention to be the best version of myself but that is not always easy.
Why isn’t it easy? In order to break through the edge, to be the best versions of ourselves, we must develop skills that we don’t have the talent for.
Lesser Version of You
Average Version of You
tapping into maximizing natural gifts and talents; build skill and talent and then push through the edge. Can’t negate having to work to your limits.
Comfort Zone - No Growth
Best Version of You
“Elite” (journey to elite)
This is learned behavior and not attributed to your natural talent
The best version of ourselves takes work beyond our talents and requires 5 important things. The best version of ourselves requires us to lead with our hearts first rather than rely on talent alone.
Breakthrough happens when we:
- Embrace productive discomfort,
- Give relentless effort,
- Use mistakes as an opportunity to begin again,
- Defeat Fear, & lastly breakthrough happens when we
If those 5 things don’t describe the staff of Mechanicsburg Exempted Village Schools and educators in general, I don’t know what does. As educators we are working on the best versions of ourselves every day!
With this opening blog in the books, I am so glad that opening day has come and gone and we can begin this school year together, knowing that student success rests on our hearts.
Thank you for taking a few minutes to read the 2017.18 opening blog. I look forward to sharing our educational journey with your this year as we #KnowOurWhy.
Yours in Education,
Danielle Prohaska, Superintendent
Mechanicsburg Exempted Village Schools