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Fri Feb 22, 2013, 07:36 AM

Wash Post: Five habits of great students: Lessons from top-ranked STEM school

Posted by Valerie Strauss on February 20, 2013 at 11:00 am

Many factors affect how well students do in school, but among them are how the students themselves approach their work and learning. Here are some of the habits of successful students at High Technology High School in Lincroft, New Jersey, which was ranked the #1 STEM high school in the nation by U.S. News last year (for those who think rankings have any value). This was written by Jonathan Olsen (@jonathanaolsen) and Sarah Mulhern Gross (@thereadingzone), who team-teach an integrated humanities program to ninth grade students at High Technology. Jonathan and Sarah are regular contributors to the New York Times Learning Network. Jon , the district’s curriculum coordinator, teachers world history; Sarah, a National Board Certified teacher, teaches English. They have both been honored as Teachers of the Year by their school.
Students apply from 52 school districts in Monmouth County to enroll in the school and are selected based on academic records and performance on an entrance exam. According to U.S. News, the school has a 9 percent minority rate and 2 percent of students are classified as “economically disadvantaged.”
By Jonathan Olsen and Sarah Mulhern Gross

When U.S. News ranked our high school as the best science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) high school in the nation, our students were recognized as being the smartest students in the nation in the four cornerstone subject areas recently lauded by President Obama in his State of the Union address. Regardless of your feelings about high school rankings, we know that our school is filled with some of the brightest kids we’ll ever come in contact with. Over the last two years, almost 30% of our graduating seniors attended Ivy League colleges, including the over a dozen alumni who are currently on Princeton’s campus. These numbers don’t include the many students accepted at prestigious schools like MIT, Stanford, and the University of California, Berkeley. With their high test scores, 100% college acceptance rate, and well-publicized #1 ranking comes a frequently asked question: Why are these students so smart?

It only takes a cursory glance to notice some of the traits that make them stand out. As our students finish their history quiz and pack up their pencil cases, they quietly settle into their seats and begin to read. Some take out novels, others large non-fiction tomes, and still others are paging through the newspaper. A student asks if he can work on a letter to Congress about genetically modified food instead of reading today. An upperclassman sneaks into the back of the room and silently picks through the classroom library shelves, wordlessly indicating that she is borrowing a book. A sophomore knocks on the door and asks if he can have a copy of the newspaper to bring to lunch. Nothing listed above is limited to gifted and talented students. They are habits that all students should be embracing and parents and schools need to foster at every grade level in order for the next generation to be successful.

more
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/02/20/five-habits-of-great-students-lessons-from-top-ranked-stem-school/?tid=pm_local_pop

Selected pool of A-type students from middle class and rich homes. Not a surprise they do well.

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Reply Wash Post: Five habits of great students: Lessons from top-ranked STEM school (Original post)
n2doc Feb 2013 OP
Tanuki Feb 2013 #1
duffyduff Feb 2013 #9
HiPointDem Feb 2013 #15
LWolf Feb 2013 #2
iemitsu Feb 2013 #4
LWolf Feb 2013 #5
iemitsu Feb 2013 #12
LWolf Feb 2013 #17
iemitsu Feb 2013 #18
duffyduff Feb 2013 #6
n2doc Feb 2013 #11
iemitsu Feb 2013 #13
duffyduff Feb 2013 #10
LWolf Feb 2013 #16
iemitsu Feb 2013 #19
iemitsu Feb 2013 #3
duffyduff Feb 2013 #7
iemitsu Feb 2013 #14
duffyduff Feb 2013 #8

Response to n2doc (Original post)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 08:31 AM

1. Habit # 1: Be born into affluent, ethnic majority, socially privileged family. n/t

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Response to Tanuki (Reply #1)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 01:12 PM

9. +1,000,000. Connections determine "success" in life. n/t

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Response to Tanuki (Reply #1)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 01:59 AM

15. +1. what a joke. strauss is usually better than this.

 

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 08:39 AM

2. It's a given that a population like that

is likely to do well.

That doesn't mean that the 5 habits aren't good habits that DO lead to success. You don't have to be on the higher end of the demographic pool to form those habits.

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Response to LWolf (Reply #2)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 08:47 AM

4. No, but one does have to be exposed to good habits to adopt them.

Segregating the privileged from the rest of the population and then holding them up as models is elitist and its being used to argue that public schools need to be privatized. Yet we hear almost nothing about the majority of charter schools, whose students do no better, and often worse, than students in regular public schools.

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Response to iemitsu (Reply #4)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 07:58 AM

5. Of course it is.

Elitist, I mean.

I don't support any kinds of privatization, charters included, and I don't support segregating the elite.

That doesn't negate my point, which is that those 5 habits are good for any learners, anywhere.

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Response to LWolf (Reply #5)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 06:14 PM

12. I agree that the 5 habits, identified in the article, are good habits and

I believe that these habits ought to be modeled in all classrooms for all students. Unfortunately, exclusive charter schools work against this goal.
I try to promote these qualities everyday in my classroom, by example, via discussion, and through formal and informal assignments.
Yesterday, I took a copy of this article to class and shared it with my students, mainly because the article reinforces what I preach to my students all the time.
I especially appreciated that the school identified reading as the most important factor for achieving academic success. I absolutely believe this to be the case and say so nearly every day in my classroom. If one can read she/he can figure out anything they need to know.
The other traits, that are sponsored by the school, are vital for the successful student too.
Both writing and collaborating with others help clarify one's thoughts and increase one's ability to communicate effectively.
Being prepared and thinking for ones' self is as important a traits as the others. I encourage my students to over-prepare, to read or write more than is asked and I insist that they trust no one to interpret the world for them, even those whose motives are benign.
Some students come to class equipped with these behaviors and some others develop and nurture them, as a result of being exposed to the habits at school. This used to be a clearly evident process in classrooms, but due to many political, economic, and social pressures, the classrooms I see today are less diverse and often lack students who can model the "good student" behaviors.
Too many families are struggling just to survive and they lack the resources and energy to sponsor these good habits in their children. They love their kids and they want the best for them, but they aren't able to provide intellectually stimulating environments or monitor or reinforce the behaviors they want their kids to manifest (they often don't have those skills either).
Its too bad that every kid can't have the dynamic school environment that High Tech High can provide but the public purse should not underwrite the enrichment of the few at the expense of the many.

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Response to iemitsu (Reply #12)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 06:11 PM

17. You don't have to persuade me.

As I've already said, I don't favor charters or any form of privatization. Not when it comes to education, health care, or anything else.

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Response to LWolf (Reply #17)

Mon Feb 25, 2013, 01:00 AM

18. Me either, you commie.

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Response to iemitsu (Reply #4)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 01:06 PM

6. Probably the most offensive example of this elitist mentality is the Davidson School

It is a charter school in Reno, Nevada, on the University of Nevada campus, that caters to the "profoundly gifted." It's been profiled in the NYT magazine. It absolutely makes me sick to my stomach these kids would be further segregated from the general population and be kept on being told how "special" and "profoundly gifted" they are when they could simply be in the general public ed population in AP classes or GT classes.

I've got news for people: There are very few slots available in the economy for the "profoundly gifted." Being "profoundly gifted" has little to do with whether they will make any more of an impact on society than we mediocrities. Connections have everything to do with who gets ahead in this society.

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Response to duffyduff (Reply #6)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 01:16 PM

11. Connections have everything to do with who gets ahead in this society.

And they will make those connections at Harvard, Yale, MIT and the other top end schools they go to, with the children of the 1%. Don't kid yourself, the Corporotocracy needs its technical class, and it is easier to keep them happy if they are separated early from the 'stinking classes'.

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Response to duffyduff (Reply #6)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 06:38 PM

13. Very good points you make about segregating gifted students

and about the nature of being "gifted" in the first place.
"Profoundly Gifted" is an odd label and does not sound as if it is a particularly good thing. It makes it seem as if these kids struggle with some aspects of life while excelling at others. Or, at least, that they're not quite normal. If this is so, then its all the more reason to socialize them along with the rest of the population, not separate them and surround them with exclusively profound students.
Plus being profound doesn't put meat on the table (I'm sounding like my mother).
Its difficult for me to understand how the public has been bamboozled by the privatization movement. I recognize the influence the Reagan years, and the money invested in misinforming the public, and some other tricks played on the public as causative agents of popular perceptions but one would think that even the most ill-informed would recognize when they were being robbed.

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Response to LWolf (Reply #2)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 01:13 PM

10. I argue book success has little impact on whether the child makes a pile of money as an adult

There are a lot of us out here who were tossed aside after having some "success" in the real world.

Forces outside of your control determine how you end up.

I don't like articles like this because it makes the assumption that students can control their destiny when it is largely out of their hands.

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Response to duffyduff (Reply #10)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 06:10 PM

16. I'm not sure what you are trying to say here.

What is "book success?"

How is that connected to being "tossed aside" (by whom?) after having some "success" (what success?) in the real world?

Are you trying to say that nobody should bother to learn, to improve their minds and skills, because some "forces outside their control" will negate those efforts?

Should we be teaching our young people to give up before they've even started, or to blame "outside forces" for everything that goes wrong in their lives, rather than teaching them to take responsibility for themselves and work to oppose "outside forces" that cause hardship?

Or?

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Response to LWolf (Reply #16)

Mon Feb 25, 2013, 01:29 AM

19. Excellent questions LWolf.

While it is certainly true that there are many "forces" in our lives that we cannot control it is also true that the more we understand and the better our thinking skills, the easier it is to anticipate what the "forces" might be and what influence, on our lives or pocketbooks, they might have.
Even having a solid storehouse of knowledge and good thinking skills does not always mean one can beat the "forces" or negate the power they exert but it does provide one the perspective needed to gracefully learn from and to move on from, when the "forces" dictate conditions in our lives.
Many Americans seem to think that the only value in an education is measured by the dollars it adds to one's lifetime earnings.
Having the ability to think for one's self and the background knowledge and skills that come with being interested in figuring things out is its own reward.
Money can't buy the satisfaction that comes with being able to figure things out, with being able to solve problems, and with taking care of one's self and one's loved ones. No one can give you that feeling, you have to earn it.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 08:41 AM

3. Interesting, all a district has to do is track kids if they want more successful students.

The process for selecting the students who get to attend High Technology High results in a segregated school environment, one which Federal law prohibits for public schools (unless the school is a charter).
So perhaps the most important "habit" of these kids is hanging out with privileged white kids.
If these kids were still in the regular high school mix then other students would have their behavior as a model. Removing the highly successful kids from comprehensive high schools increases the numbers of less successful kids in those classrooms.
So, under the guise of choice we are re-segregating the public school system, of course the choice one has to make, for this system to to work for them or their children, is to belong to a privileged socioeconomic class.
I have no argument with the idea that student's habits and attitudes largely dictate their success. But if what we discover, when looking at student success, is that a family's socioeconomic success is tied to their children's success in school then we should not adopt school policies that will work to extend the privilege of the few at the expense of the many.
The gap between the rich and everybody else in this country is shameful. It is not a surprise that as families struggle to survive their children struggle in school.
Fix the income gap and much of the school success gap will disappear.

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Response to iemitsu (Reply #3)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 01:08 PM

7. Study habits have nothing to do with "success," however that is defined

There are a lot of "successful" people who have been thrown into destitution because they REALLY don't have control over their economic destiny.

BTW, most kids don't bother going to the Ivies or to the US News-ranked "top schools," which is a bullshit ranking anyway.

Kids will look at cost and they will look at proximity to home and family.

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Response to duffyduff (Reply #7)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 11:28 PM

14. Study habits and the knowledge acquisition that comes along with those habits

may not be directly correlated to financial success but they are priceless assets when it come to figuring out the world and those who populate it.
Clearly, most of those who are financially successful have connections, who help them gain entrance into the industry or field where they achieve success, or they are simply in the right place at the right time. Many of these may even have to work hard to achieve success. But, and I think you're right about this, good study habits probably don't figure highly in the requirements these successful characters need to find their niche.
In fact, good study habits might get in the way of the social networking often required for success. I suppose that those inclined to over-thinking might not be best prepared to make the cut-throat decisions that are good for profit. It may be better for business for one to know the latest sports scores than to understand philosophy, history, or politics (subjects which are taboo to talk about with prospective clients).
Still I wouldn't trade the things I've learned and the perspective I've gained, from constant reading for any riches in the world.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 01:11 PM

8. "Great students" do NOT equal "success" in life

The article is a bunch of bullshit.

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