Habits of Success, an overarching element of Summit Learning, is (in my opinion) the glue that keeps the puzzle (below) intact. The Habits of Success are the ‘non-cognitive skills’ that we exhibit on a daily basis; they include the attitudes, behaviors and dispositions that we invoke to drive our individual successes. Learning, practicing and polishing these habits is critical for both school and career success

The Habits of Success are broken down into five key skill sets; Self-Management and Perseverance, Social Awareness and Interpersonal Skills, Decision Making Skills and Responsible Behavior, Learning Strategies and Academic Behavior, and Positive Mindset.

Self-Management and Perseverance

Self management involves setting goals, managing your time and developing the focus needed to overcome distractions. Perseverance, also known as grit, is the continuous effort to accomplish a goal despite the difficulties encountered. When we launched Summit with the fifth and sixth graders, we spent a considerable amount of time teaching self-management strategies. We practiced setting short and long-term goals and discussed methods for evaluating the goals we set for ourselves. Subsequent conversations also focused on strategies for managing personalized learning time (PLT), developing a list of ways to overcome distractions and discussing what to do when facing a challenge or setback. At the beginning of the year, most of the students’ goals were grade-oriented and or/content specific. For example, students wrote, ‘I want to get an A in all subjects’, ‘I want to learn geometry’, ‘I want to learn more science’ and ‘I want to get better in math’. These basic goals reflected the students’ rather short-sighted view of goal setting. We have had many lessons and discussions since then and things have certainly improved. As the year has progressed, our conversations about goals have shifted; rather than focusing only on a specific project or a particular content area, we share strategies that can be used to complete any project or assignment (i.e. create milestones for when a particular part of a project should be completed or build an outline and then add in details to make a full draft).

We have also started to discuss strategies for improving our stamina for learning and ‘growing grit’. These conversations have been very meaningful and quite interesting; often times, students share their personal stories about the challenges they have encountered and the steps that were taken to overcome those difficulties. With great delight, I listen to the students tell their stories and describe how they were able to ‘grow some grit’. It is remarkable to see such a high level of engagement as the children listen and learn from one another. The students’ ability to self-manage their learning continues to take shape and evolve. I look forward to seeing how these skills continue to support student growth and learning.