Posted by: darcymullin | April 21, 2011

Whatever it Takes

I have been thinking a lot lately about the kids in my elementary school who are likely to struggle as they move through the system.    What is it that will make the difference for them? 

Rick Dufour did some amazing work at Adai Stevenson High school.  He has written extensively about the role a Professional Learning Community has when it comes to interventions for kids.  Systems are important, but I would argue the most important interventions come from the heart.  DeFour argues that as schools we need to do whatever it takes to restore hope for our students.  My favorite quote is:

“The most powerful fuel for sustaining the initiative to improve a school is not the desire to raise test scores but rather the moral imperative that comes with the desire to fulfill the hopes of those we serve ant those with whom we work with.”

Our most vulnerable children can often be the most challenging students we work with.  We know that we will be investing time in these students.   How do we want to invest our time?  Writing referrals, doing investigations, blaming parents?  Not me, I would rather spend my time doing whatever it takes. 

As always thoughts and comments appreciated.





  1. Nice post, Darcy

    Reminds me of a passage I read from Nino Ricci’s novel, The Origin of Species:

    He had gotten an idea for another of his projects, about a character, K., who woke up one morning to discover he had somehow got trapped in a novel. Suddenly the most casual objects became meaningful; conversations, rather than the wordy things they had been, became aphoristic and terse. It wasn’t long before K descended into paranoia wondering at the menacing haze of significance that seemed to surround the smallest act. Bit by bit his life was stripped down to its most basic elements, parent, antagonist, spouse, the blood-stained dagger, the smoking gun; all the rest, the hundred meaningless people he might have met in a day, the endless hours in front of the TV, replaced by disorienting jump cuts and elisions, action piling on action until it seemed the whole of creation had become a flood tide whose sole aim was to raise the frail vessel of him to some monstrous height in order to smash it. Then, out of the wreckage, just as baffling as the rest, came the ray of light, the not-so-distant shore. Hope.

    The demands of our daily learning experiences can sometimes feel intensely magnified with all of their nuances and challenges. However, as it is for ‘K’ in his fictional conundrum, so it is for all of us in reality: the ‘sight’ of hope is what keeps us and our students moving forward.

    Thanks for sharing

  2. You are absolutely correct! As you know at our school we a comprehensive model of intervention. The reason why it is working effectively is that we are willing to “skate into the puck” (canucks have gotten away from this lately) and go the extra mile to help kids. It takes effort and somtimes its messy- but effective. I always refer to a. Recent story of our admin team visiting the home of a student/family in crisis. Unconventional, not always advisable – but given the circumstances, necessary.

  3. …and as an administrator we should apply this philosophy to our staffs too ~ do whatever it takes to take them from where they are as far as we possibly can take them. Thanks for the reminder about why we do what we do.

    • Excellent points gentlemen…staff are an important factor and should not be overlooked. Johnny, I love the hockey metaphor, can you do something to help our Canucks?

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