Why #otherpeoplematter?-8/17/19

This week, the real work at my new school started. What do I mean by that? Since I am an 11 month employee and started July 17th, much of the past few weeks have been pretty quiet at school. Sure, I set up our virtual opening and set up some other things for the school year, but late July and early August are very quiet in school buildings. Wednesday, that all changed as 13 educators from 3 different buildings came together at my new school on one of the last days of their "summers" to learn about the Positivity Project.

What is the Positivity Project?

On its website, the tagline of the positivity project is:

Empower your students to build positive relationships

Relationships, relationships, relationships- if I had to select one word that has circled into my interactions continually this past year - that would be the word. From reading many amazing books such as Culturize , Innovator's Mindset, Relentless, Tech with Heart and many more, one thing is clearer to me than ever before: the importance of relationships.

But relationships don't just happen- they require intentional effort from all of us and we can't just expect our students to just have the skills for positive relationships. These relationships affect all of us as we live in a society that increasing needs all of us to demonstrate twenty-first century skills. Using the framework of a program like the Positivity Project promotes student agency over these skills and staff agency as we model these skills.

The P2 Framework is based on the P2 Trifecta. It is comprised of 24 character strengths that everyone possesses in some degree, the Other People Matter mindset and the idea that happiness comes from deep relationships.

The character strengths are organized by parent virtues: Courage, Humanity, Wisdom and Knowledge, Justice, Temperance and Transcendence. All of us have some degree of all of these character strengths, but some, we have in higher concentrations. In fact, there is even an online test you can take to see of what strengths you have highest concentrations. I took the online test earlier this summer and not shocking at all to me, my highest strength is Love of Learning. The idea of the framework is that these strengths are like muscles- the more you use or practice using them the better you will get at them.

The second part of the P2 Trifecta is the Other People Matter Mindset. What does that mean? It is more than just the Positivity Project's hashtag- it is a way of thinking based on positive psychology and the emphasis that having stronger relationships and helping others leads to happier lives that have more meaning.

This leads to the last part of the P2 Trifecta- Happiness comes from deep relationships. Looking at the OPM mindset, you can see the connection. So many of these facets are rooted in twenty-first century skills and require all of us to not only understand others but ourselves as well. We need to be aware of others' strengths while also self monitoring and developing our own.

My new school is currently beginning Year 3 of their implementation and I am so excited to be a part of this. I love how this promotes and amplifies both student and staff agency over our relationships as we learn to better understand and develop them.

But Wednesday's training was just the beginning of my new learning. As I acclimate to a new building with new colleagues and new students, I am keeping these ideas in mind as I form new relationships. All of us bring different strengths to the table and I can't wait to learn from and with my new school community.

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