During the cold New Year’s weekend, I became distracted by something large and white in the trees behind my home. There sat a large white snowy owl who was intently watching the ground below for movement, movement that would signify a small creature, that is, its next meal. The owl sat there for a good two hours, then swooped down to the snowy ground, grabbed its next meal in its talons, and flew off. It didn’t matter what was caught; the snowy owl was successful in the endeavor to find its next meal.
Like the owl, every creature wants to be successful; it doesn’t matter whether it’s an animal or a human. We all want to be successful in what we strike out to accomplish. It doesn’t matter if it is children learning to crawl, children learning how to write their name, elementary children scoring 100 on their spelling test, middle school age children who are successful at leading their own student-led conference, or high school students who receive a letter of acceptance from the number-one college they applied to.
How do we become successful? Is it the attitude and zest we have for life, the drive for accomplishment or the feelings of satisfaction when life goes well for us? Most likely, success is defined differently for all of us. As adults, the way we support our children to become successful is all a matter of how we define the word “success.” Collectively, as a city, state or nation, there are multiple activities we can undertake to support our children’s success. Most recently, a newly formed collaborative of summer learning providers has come together to put into place strategies to combat summer learning decline. Coined as summer learning loss, students who are out of school and miss learning activities for lengthy periods of time can lose over 2 to 3 months of academic success.
Summer learning providers have taken it upon themselves to support summer learning in an organized fashion. One tactic we are using is to have a summer learning guide available to Danbury families. Since its inception in December, more service providers have joined, listing their services for families, such as mental health, wellness, counseling and summer learning college-based courses for high school students. We are also reaching out to sports organizations to list their activities in the guide. With the idea of helping students and their families be successful, having a comprehensive guide of services for students from kindergarten through college in one place will help define what we mean by successful.
Like the snowy owl, which set its eyes on being successful and stayed with the task at hand, all children deserve the same pathways to success. To view and use the summer learning guide, visit www. Danbury.k12.ct.us; under the large box on the right is the link to the guide. Also, save the date for the Community Fair on Summer Learning on Saturday, March 24 in the Danbury Dome from 10 am-2 pm. More details will follow in my next article.
Anne E. Mead, Ed. D., is the administrator for the Early Childhood Education and Extended Learning Programs of the Danbury Public Schools. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact her at 203-830-6508 or firstname.lastname@example.org.