Superintendent's Message >> Subscribe
With the start of the New Year, many of us begin to think about changes we want to make in our lives. We often think about dieting, exercising more, and other life style changes we want to implement. Unlike other common New Year’s resolutions that are frequently short lived, what better changes can we make than to implement some new strategies at home that will make our children more successful in school and for the rest of their lives?
A few really simple changes can make a lifelong, positive difference for our children. Recently, I read an article about Dr. Ben Carson, Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center. Carson,an African American, was born in Detroit where he lived with his mother Sonya and older brother Curtis. In elementary school, he was at the bottom of his class and made fun of by other students. Carson said, “Worse than thinking I was stupid, I thought I wasn't capable of knowing what everybody else knew.”
Carson’smother wanted to ensure her son’s success, despite the fact that they were poor. To do so, she limited her sons to two television programs per week. While she had only a third grade education herself, she required each of her sons,starting in fifth grade to turn in to her two book reports a week.
In one year, Carson rose from the bottom of his class to the top. He said, “If for all of those years you think you’re stupid and then you think you’re smart, it’s like winning the lottery; it’s really better than winning the lottery.” Carson was right since most lottery winners are worse off five years after they win the lottery than they were before. Carson continued to make even greater achievements.
Carson graduated with honors from high school and attended Yale University earning a degree in psychology. He went to medical school at the University of Michigan and became a neurosurgeon. At 33, he became the head of pediatric neurosurgery at John Hopkins, the youngest chief ever. In 1994, he established the Carson Scholars and has given more than 4300 scholarships of $1000 each to students in 42 states. He also started the Carson Reading Project and has established 50 reading rooms to encourage students to read.
What can we learn from Ben Carson? Most of us know that our children need a quiet place to complete their homework and that the best time to complete this work is shortly after they arrive home and take a short play break and have a healthy snack. What would happen if we followed Mrs. Carson’s lead and also limited television and required our children to read two books per week and then write a book report? I believe many of our children would soar just as Ben Carson did.
Mrs. Carson also believed in her sons and followed up on what she wanted them to do. She knew that they had unlimited potential. So do the children in Garvey and we are committed to helping them do their best. We do know that we need your help and hope that you will make and stick to that most important New Year’s resolution that will change your child’s life.
Please talk to your child’s teacher about other small changes that you can make that will make a huge difference in 2013 and for your child’s future.
Sandra D. Johnson, Ed.D., Superintendent