1. Wow George! I have tears in my eyes just reading your post. I think it's amazing how Chris helped change your definition of "success." You gave him a chance, and what he gained from this chance really shaped the rest of his life.

    For me, success is about making a difference. Success might be a child that comes to me unable to read and starts reading throughout the year, or success might be a child that's quiet and unsure of him/herself, and starts coming out of his/her shell. Success might be about the child finding a voice. Success is about change, and when reading your story, I can see that "change" happened for sure.

    Thanks for sharing such an inspiring story!


    • George

      Thanks Aviva 🙂 The best educators are the ones that change right alongside with their students. Modeling this growth is essential to our students to see. I really appreciate your comment.

    • George

      Thanks for your comment Larry 🙂 We are lucky we are in the profession that we are. I wonder how many other professions give us these types of stories?

  2. I think we often forget how much influence we have on the children we serve. By showing the others that Chris had VALUE, you modeled something so very important. Thanks for sharing this success story, George. It's a great example for us all to remember.

    • George

      Thanks Michelle 🙂 The cool thing about the situation was that the more I got to know him and "stick" up for him, the more I realized how great a kid he really was.

  3. Kathryn-koolkat222

    Wow! You probably affected the course of Chris' life! I know that sounds like a pretty strong statement, but it's true! You made him feel better about himself, which in turn affected the way others interacted with him. That created a continuous cycle that you started. I'm sure he thinks about you often.

    Thank you for sharing such an inspiring and uplifting post.

    • George

      Luckily I keep up to date with him. We both affected each other I think, but I am not sure how much he knows that. Thanks so much for your comment 🙂

  4. George,

    A few weeks ago I had an amazing conversation with an innovative phys-ed specialist I know and she told me some things that are major paradigm shifts.

    She told me that she doesn't believe in the way we do school teams. She said that this was because it was one symptom of our hypocrisy as it relates to sports at school. In her opinion, if we applied certain practices we do to sports in any other school area, people would be up in arms about inequity. If anything, we should be making teams for the students that AREN'T elite players at our school. It was an equity issue for her. Interesting perspective, eh?

    Thanks for sharing this beautiful post. Big picture, big picture. You always remind us of the big picture. Your leadership is so appreciated in our PLN.

    • George

      Thanks buddy 🙂 I appreciate you sharing your story. The hard thing about what you are saying is that the older kids get in the K-12 system, we have to adjust to ensure that our students have the opportunities that are afforded to them in university and college. Kids get scholarships to play sports so that means money to them, so we adjust to accommodate universities, just like it is hard to get rid of grades in a high school setting since marks are so important to students getting into school. It is interesting that the institutions that should be preparing best practices in any profession, seem to push us to do worst practices in school. Many universities have to change their practice to align with what is right about education.

  5. Niki

    I was also very moved by your story, but I am nagged by this importance you placed on winning. Out of curiosity, do you still place the same value on winning? If you had a "do over", would you do it the same?

    • George

      Thanks for your comment Niki 🙂 Winning was what success was to me before this time, not after. My focus has definitely changed. With that being said though, at the high school level, many athletes are vying for scholarships in sports and how I define success, and how a university recruiter defines it are different. We need to ensure that we give opportunities for those students to follow their dreams and passions, just like we would the student that is wanting the "grades" to go into medicine. What people have to see though is that sports is more than just competition. It is a great way to connect and build friendships that will last long after our time together on a team. That is what is important.

  6. George, I define success as "moving from here to there". For students wouldn't it be better not to grade their work but to strive to help them add to their learning, life experiences, skill sets, knowledge accumulation, etc. If all students were able to "move from here to there" in their learning, all would be succeeding. It may be faster or slower depending on the content area but progressing. Sounds like success…

  7. I think there are many ways we measure success and it is different for every student we have. I think it is crucial for everyone that works with children to help them achieve some success. The way you helped this student achieve success is an amazing story. It shows how important it is to build relationships with all the people we work with.

    The success you helped "Chris" achieve is something that cannot be measured! I think we focus so much on scores and benchmarks that students are not given the wonderful gift that you gave this student. We are so focused on getting scores up in our district that we become assessment machines. One of the reasons I read your blog…religiously, is it helps to remind me that there are so many things that are more important! You have not only helped to make "Chris" achieve success, but by sharing all that you believe you have helped educators achieve it as well.

    Thanks for all you do!

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