Sometimes we limit our options based on our limited understanding of what is possible and what is available. When we do, we feel confined by what we imagine to be real. The good news is that there is always more going on than our own point of view would allow us to see. By taking time to become receptive to new possibilities, we expand our horizons and open up new avenues of expression.
El Rincon Elementary School Principal, Dr. Cassandra Ziskind, is continually striving to provide opportunities to our students that allow them to dream big and succeed in ways that they may not have been aware were possible. One example of this effort was the Code.org training that recently took place at El Rincon. Teachers were given tools and strategies for implementing computer programming lessons into every grade level. The intention is to build computer literacy, foster an empowered view of what students can achieve in the realm of computer science, and open this exciting field up to anyone and everyone.
Code.org is supported by generous donors including Microsoft, Facebook, the Infosys Foundation, Google, Omidyar Network, and many more. The non-profit offers professional development to interested schools. Code.org affiliate, Steve Zanotti, who provided the training at El Rincon Elementary, noted that very few schools are able to organize a day when all of the staff are present to receive the full-benefit of the training. Dr. Ziskind wanted to provide all of her teachers with a professional development experience that would inspire them in new ways and use their time effectively.
Just like the students in our district, who are on the forefront of the ever–expanding frontiers that technology provides, we all benefit from thinking outside of our own pre-conceived boxes. It helps if we sincerely desire to get the best out of life and believe that it is possible. When we do, we look at the world differently. Rather than feeling limited, we keep our mind open to new ideas and perspectives. We also see the people around us in a new light. It is this thrill of discovery, and the excitement of wondering what else might be available to us, that feeds us as we embark on the journey into the unknown.
When students are struggling in school, it is often because they do not hold a vision of success, or they lack the tools that can unlock their potential. This is why the leadership that Dr. Ziskind provides is so important. By working together as a team, we uncover the stumbling blocks, and provide new strategies and perspectives that empower young people to reach new levels of success. Just like Code.org, we show them that they can be successful and that challenges are nothing to be afraid of.
I have personally seen students, who had labeled themselves as bad readers, flourish in their studies by finding out what they were struggling with and then bringing in new energy and ways of approaching those challenging areas. I know of a student who went from nearly giving up on school to getting all A’s in his classes. It only took us meeting as a team and connecting him with the right teachers and classes that brought out his best, while challenging him in ways that motivated, rather than discouraged him.
You might be feeling stuck in your current situation. You might believe that your options are limited. The truth is that there are limitless possibilities that you are not currently tapping into. If this is the case for you, it is time to slow down and shift your thinking in the direction of wonder. By simply wondering what else might be possible for you, you become receptive to all of the ways that life has been attempting to nudge you onward and upward. Code.org and El Rincon Elementary School are proof that everyone can be successful when provided with the right ideas and effective tools for implementing those ideas.
Edward Biagiotti is the Inclusion Specialist for Culver City Unified School District. He is also co-host of the popular radio show, Funniest Thing! with Darrell and Ed, to find out more go to www.DarrellandEd.com or email him directly at: EdwardBiagiotti@ccusd.org