Photo: Marysville Special Education Teacher Janice Holstine (left) uses growth mindset to help students like Omar persevere.
It’s been a bumpy school year for Shadow Project student Omar, 13, but goal setting and growth mindset—the belief that perseverance through struggle leads to success—are helping the Marysville eighth grader get ready for high school.
At the beginning of this quarter, Omar wrote a letter to himself with the goal of boosting his grades and working on his attitude.
“I’m a little behind and my grades aren’t great, but I’m working on it,” said Omar, who struggles with reading comprehension. “My goal is to get my grades better and turn everything in on time.”
Omar’s special education teacher Janice Holstine, M.S., says: “Omar is working hard, coming in at lunch to make up work, and he wants to finish the quarter strong. He just doesn’t quit.
“Perseverance is important,” said Janice. “A lot of times, my kids don’t succeed they way they see others succeeding. With goal setting, they get to see where they’ve been in the past and where they are now and they’ll see a growth. That helps them change how they think of themselves from negative to positive because they’ve taken those steps and keep on going when they’re struggling.”
Janice uses books and school supplies from The Shadow Project as an incentive for students’ to meet goals. “But sometimes, they don’t meet their goal for the quarter and that’s okay,” she said. “We look at the roadblocks and what they need to change to improve next time.
“Now that Omar has this mindset of ‘I’m getting ready for high school, I have four years to succeed, and I’m off to college,’ he’s starting to pick himself up by the bootstraps and ask for help.
“He is ready for high school.”