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Using the 7 Mindsets to Shift School Culture

March 21, 2019

In San Antonio earlier this year I sat down with Jeff Waller and Tracey Smith. Although conferences like the one I was attending that day tend to feel a little overwhelming, it was such a treat to sit for a moment and hear about their work. Jeff Waller is the co-creator of the 7 Mindsets, and Tracey Smith is the principal at Brookwood Elementary School in Forsyth County, Georgia. They spoke about the way the 7 Mindsets have helped them shift school culture in schools like Tracey’s across the country.

I was first introduced to the 7 Mindsets a few years ago when attending and presenting at the TCEA Conference. Last month when I met Tracey and heard about the shift in school culture that took place in her elementary school, I knew I had to dive in deeper. On the plane ride home I devoured an overview of the 7 Mindsets — and you might have even seen the picture I snapped in my Instagram stories too.

Shifting School Culture

As a school leader, Tracey Smith embraced the 7 Mindsets model in her school. She created a Positive Learning Environment committee consisting of one person from each grade level. Their goal was to focus on one mindset a month. The committee decided how they would spread this message across the school.

Instead of focusing their monthly faculty meetings on logistical items that could really be sent in an email, Tracey emphasized the impact of the mindsets on shifting school culture. These meetings put team-building front and center and introduced their “Mindset of the Month.”

What are the 7 Mindsets?

The 7 Mindsets are a set of principles that fit perfectly into work you might currently be a part of (or would like to explore) related to social-emotional learning. If you haven’t heard of them before, you can learn more about all seven on this landing page. Here’s a quick overview:

  • Everything is Possible: Dream big, embrace creativity and expect results
  • Passion First: Pursue your authentic talents and deepest interests
  • We Are Connected: Explore the synergies in all relationships and learn to empower one another
  • 100% Accountable: Choose to be responsible for your own happiness and success
  • Attitude of Gratitude: Seek positives from every experience and be thankful for all you have
  • Live to Give: Inspire and serve others while maximizing your potential
  • The Time is Now:
  • Harness the power of this moment, and take purposeful action today

7 Mindsets in Action

The Positive Learning Environment committee at Tracey’s school uses the 7 Mindsets portal to put this work into action. This online space helps them choose where they will place their focus each month. They had mandates for incorporating social-emotional learning into their curriculum. So it was an excellent fit for finding high-quality resources that shift school culture at the same time.

Learn how one school is using the 7 Mindsets to shift school culture and make a committment to adding social-emotional learning to their curriculum.

When speaking about the work at her school, Tracey shared this quote in a recent article:

“We’ve seen a direct correlation between talking about growth mindset and higher test scores, but to me, the clearest sign that the mindsets lessons are reaching our students is that we’ve seen a big decrease in Monday tardies. Our tardy bell rings at 7:40, and now kids want to be here, because our mindset lessons start at 7:40. They don’t want to miss them, because they love them.”

If you’d like to learn more about the 7 Mindsets, are interested in a curriculum that incorporates social-emotional learning, or are ready to shift your school culture this year, visit their website. You’ll find lots of information on the 7 Mindsets and resources to help you get started!

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Dr. Monica Burns is a former classroom teacher, Author, Speaker, and Curriculum & EdTech Consultant. Visit her site ClassTechTips.com for more ideas on how to become a tech-savvy teacher.

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