Journey to Success

is the character-building program that binds together everything we teach, practice, and celebrate here at the Northeast Academy Arts Magnet School.

Built on the foundation of legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden's Pyramid of Success, our program teaches all members of our school community to strive daily for their personal best. "Success is happiness in your heart because you made the effort, 100%, to do your best!"

Included in Coach Wooden's pyramid are essential character traits such as determination, friendship, self-control, and team spirit. With support from our partner Harper for Kids, Northeast Academy focuses its lessons and messages each month on one or two of these building blocks in the Pyramid of Success. In time, these blocks build up our students' understanding of what it really takes to fulfill their potential.

Harper for Kids is a children's nonprofit organization founded by Tim & Peanut Louie Harper. Its mission is to teach children the important life skills they need to achieve their personal best in life, and to help schools incorporate Coach Wooden's Pyramid of Success into their character education.

We are excited about working with Harper for Kids to enhance our Journey to Success program at NEA — in and out of the classrooms.

Learn about legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden.
 

Journey to Success Monthly Focus

Self-Control and Poise

October's Focus: Self-Control & Poise

This month, students are discussing, researching, and developing strategies for achieving their personal best by exerting self-control and demonstrating poise. Lessons and activities will also reinforce why it's so important to rein in impulses in the classroom and on the playground. Students will personalize these concepts, and produce work that demonstrates their understanding.
WHY IT MATTERS
Studies show that kids with poor self-control are more likely to have aggressive behavior problems, and to experience anxiety and depression. However, children with strong willpower have bigger vocabularies and better test scores in math and literacy skills. More...
WHAT WE'RE DOING AT SCHOOL
Each teacher will integrate self-control and poise into his or her lesson plans differently. One may introduce the Marshmallow Test while another may read Llama Llama Mad at Mama. More great books, videos, and games...
 
WHAT YOU CAN DO AT HOME
- Download & play the app Cookie Monster's Challenge
- Sing the "Self-Control Song"
- Read books like Joey Pigza Loses Control and Noisy Nora
- Check out these books on self-control and poise from the library

Cooperation and Loyalty

November's Focus: Cooperation & Loyalty

This month, students will discuss, research, and experience the value of working together to solve important problems. Lessons and activities will also reinforce why it's so important to stick by your friends, family, and classmates — even when it's unpopular or inconvenient to do so. Students will personalize the concepts of cooperation and loyalty, and produce work that demonstrates their understanding.

WHY IT MATTERS
Studies show that children who engage in cooperative learning build stronger critical thinking skills, better inter-cultural relationships, enhanced self-esteem, and higher academic achievement. Read more...
WHAT WE'RE DOING AT SCHOOL
Each teacher will integrate cooperation and loyalty into his or her lesson plans differently. One may referee a game of "Cooperative Hoops" while another may read Horsefly and Honeybee. More great books...
 
WHAT YOU CAN DO AT HOME
- Play these fun cooperative gamesoutside together.
- At your next birthday party or playdate, give kids these problem-solving team challenges.
- Check out these books on cooperation and loyaltyfrom the library. 
 

Friendship

December's Focus: Friendship

Friends hold us through heartache, protect us from pain, and make life's victories even sweeter. We all understand the inherent value of friendship, but achieving it is not always a cinch. This month, our children will explore what it means to be a good friend, devise friendship-growing strategies, and produce work that demonstrates how much they understand the value of best friends.
WHY IT MATTERS
Studies show that children who develop strong social skills — learning to share and cooperate as early as kindergarten — are more likely to obtain a higher education and hold full-time jobs as young adults. Read more...
WHAT WE'RE DOING AT SCHOOL
Teachers all integrate friendship into their lesson plans in unique ways. One may assign an essay on the qualities of a friend; another may roleplay welcoming a new student. 
More on how to...
...Be a good friend
...Deal with bullies
...Move beyond fights

 
 
WHAT YOU CAN DO AT HOME
- Print these Friendship Task Cards to reinforce tricky social skills.
- Work with your child on homemade holiday gifts for friends.
- Read these classic books on friendshipThe Recess QueenChrysanthemum, and Have You Filled a Bucket Today?

Alertness and Skill

January's Focus: Alertness & Skill

Focus is fickle. And fleeting. And fantastic when it kicks in.
When developing brains are happy, they release a chemical called dopamine that promotes alertness. When kids are tired, bored or confused, the dopamine dries up and attention fades. In other words, teaching a child to focus is akin to training his brain — no easy task. This month, we will give our students tools for boosting their alertnessreward them for maintaining focus, and celebrate the many varied skills hiding among our student body.

WHY IT MATTERS
A decades-long study of more than 1,000 kids suggests the ability to concentrate is the strongest predictor of life success. "This ability is more important than IQ or socio-economic status... for determining career success, financial success and health," says Daniel Goleman, PhD., author of Focus: The Hidden Drive of Excellence.  Read more...
WHAT WE'RE DOING AT SCHOOL
Teachers integrate skill and alertness into their lesson plans differently. One may play the Freeze Time game, while another may invite students to demonstrate their unique skills. 
More on...
...How to teach attention
...How green time and exercise boost focus
...How discrete fidgets can help with focus
 
 
WHAT YOU CAN DO AT HOME
- Learn why adequate sleep is absolutely essential for focus. 
- Research common attention problems and symptoms of inattentive ADHD.
- Insist on an hour of exercise each day.
- Read these classic books on alertness:
Listen, Buddy,
Big Anthony: His Story, and High-Wire Henry.

Fitness and Action

February's Focus: Fitness & Action

Over the last 15 years, the number of children diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes has grown by nearly 50% — a jump caused by what health experts are calling America's "obesity epidemic" and inactive lifestyles. This is serious stuff.
"Together, obesity and diabetes increase a child's lifetime risk of heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure, blindness and amputations," according to USA Today. In other words, maintaining an active, healthy daily routine is incredibly important to our kids' health. This month, our Journey to Success emphasizes the importance of fitness and action, and rewards our students for their physical feats. 

 
WHY IT MATTERS
A recent report from the Institute of Medicineasserts that “children who are more active show greater attention, have faster cognitive processing speed, and perform better on standardized academic tests than children who are less active.” Reports in The Washington Postand ADDitude magazine also report that exercise improves classroom behavior, focus, and social relationships.
WHAT WE'RE DOING AT SCHOOL
This year's focus on growing healthy, strong kids has included monthly trots, shuffles, and jaunts around the school that will continue this month — snow or not.
More on...
...Fun fitness games for kids
...Physical challenges anyone can engineer
...70 great activities for kids of all ages
 
WHAT YOU CAN DO AT HOME
- Turn off the TV, Xbox, and Wii. Play together! 
- Get outside and play in the snow. 
- Insist on an hour of exercise each day.
- Read these books for more great ideas:
ABCs of Yoga for Kids,
Move and Run (Healthy Habits), and Green Beans Potatoes, and Even Tomatoes.
Click here for more great book ideas.

Determination

March's Focus: Determination

Genius matters less than grit. This is the finding of acclaimed education experts who say that intelligence is not the greatest indicator of success. Kids who demonstratedetermination, persistence, and passion are the ones who go furtherst in life.

"Praising intelligence harms kids," says Stanford psychology professor Carol Dweck. "They don’t want to do anything hard, because they don’t want to show that they’re dumb. Instead, give praise for efforts, strategies, focus, and perseverance. This kind of praise focuses kids on the processes they engaged in to be successful.” 

And so you can see why this month's Journey to Success focuses on determination.

 

WHY IT MATTERS
Twenty-five years of research show that student success is strongly correlated with "grit" — otherwise known as a fierce persistence and drive to overcome challenges and achieve big goals. In other words, mind-set matters a lot. And teaching our kids to persevere through setbacks and frustration is arguably our most important job.
WHAT WE'RE DOING AT SCHOOL
Mistakes are unequivocal proof of effort and risk. At Northeast Academy, we celebrate mistakes for bringing us one step closer to success!
More on...
...Why failing is good for kids
...How big goals translate into big success
...How not to raise a quitter
WHAT YOU CAN DO AT HOME
- Praise your child for sticking with it, not getting it perfect 
- Allow him to fail 
- Talk about determination after watching videos like Kid PresidentAmazing Kids of Perseverance orBarcelona '92.
- Read books likeAmazing Grace,
Princesses Are Not Quitters, and The Most Magnificent Thing.

 



 

Hard Work

April's Focus: Hard Work

"Nobody is great without work," according to a Forbes magazine article titled "What It Takes To Be Great." "It's nice to believe that if you find the field where you're naturally gifted, you'll be great from day one, but it doesn't happen. There's no evidence of high-level performance without experience or practice."

This month, our Journey to Success examines the meaning of "hard work" and "deliberate practice" — what that looked like for a young Tiger Woods or Bobby Fischer, how it impacts lifelong success, and why there is simply no substitute. 

 

WHY IT MATTERS
"Genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration." This quote from Thomas A. Edison has inspired generations to dream big and never give up. Among those dreamers is Tesla and Space X CEO Elon Musk, who says his secret to success is "working super hard." And research confirms it: There are no shortcuts to lasting success.
WHAT WE'RE DOING AT SCHOOL
"Our most important talent is having a talent for working hard, for practicing even when practice isn’t fun." At Northeast Academy, we stand by study findings like this one every day of the school year.
More on...
...How hard work trumps talent
...Sports examples
...Will Smith on his "sickening work ethic"
WHAT YOU CAN DO AT HOME
- "Children who do have a set of chores have higher self-esteem, are more responsible, and are better able to deal with frustration and delay gratification." 
- Talk about hard work after reading books likePerseverance: The Story of Thomas Edison
- Read books likePrincesses Are Not Quitters and Turtle's Race with Beaver.

Confidence

May's Focus: Confidence & Self-Esteem

It's OK to fail. No, strike that. It's healthier and smarter to fail. And learn something. And try again. That is how our kids learn the value of resilience — and how they come to believe they can do anything, if they work hard enough.

"Self-esteem depends on your internal ability to generate positive feelings about your accomplishments — it’s not something other people can give you," according to aScholastic magazine article titled "How to Build Healthy Self-Esteem In Children.""And though it seems counterintuitive, kids actually develop it by struggling and sometimes falling short when they face new challenges."

This month, our Journey to Success examines "confidence" and "self-esteem" — how they emerge after failure, why they must originate internally, and when they are likely to take a hit.

 

 

WHY IT MATTERS
It's a chicken-or-egg question: Does self-confidence breed success, or does success breed self-confidence? The answer: Yes. Without self-esteem and a fundamental belief in your abilities, you won't try to achieve greatness. And without victories along the way, you won't maintain confidence to push past failure — it's reciprocal. A growth mindset promotes future achievement.
WHAT WE'RE DOING AT SCHOOL
"I have not failed once; I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work." — Thomas Edison
At NEA, we believe every misstep is a learning opportunity; and every second chance is a gateway to greater confidence.
10 activities to build a child's self-concept
Self-esteem builders
Where stars find confidence
WHAT YOU CAN DO AT HOME
- Replace "good job" with more meaningful and esteem-building compliments 
- "Real protection means teaching children to manage risks on their own, not shielding them from every hazard."
- Read and discuss books like Have You Filled a Bucket TodayI Like Myself and I'm Gonna Like Me.
- Watch "3 Tips to Boost Confidence" together

Team Spirit and Enthusiasm

June's Focus: Team Spirit & Enthusiasm

If you've ever sat in the bleachers at Fenway, you know that team spirit is a powerful force — for good or for evil, depending on your allegiance. Though we may disagree on Yankees vs. Red Sox, all parents know that kids learn valuable collaboration and communication skills while working and cheering alongside teammates.

This month, our Journey to Success examines "team spirit" and "enthusiasm" — how they propel us to achieve more as a whole than we could individually, and how to encourage them in healthy doses.
WHY IT MATTERS
Some of the world's most successful companies — Apple, JetBlue, REI, Nike — got that way by inspiring employees to believe in, love, and work hard for strong brand principles. In short, they built an infectious team spirit, which benefits everyone from shareholders to consumers to employees. Believing in your team makes all the difference.
WHAT WE'RE DOING AT SCHOOL
To cap off our first year on the NEA Journey to Success, we're celebrating our school spirit and enthusiasm at our final JTS assembly on Thursday, June 9. We will celebrate our May and June Professor's Classes, and enjoy a final video featuring our students with Inch and Miles. You can watch along here. 
WHAT YOU CAN DO AT HOME
- Go see a baseball gametogether and root, root, root for the home team
- Show your hometown pride and enthusiasm by attending the Taste of Mystic this weekend
- Celebrate America's 240th birthday with aparade and a popsicle
- Cheer for Team USA at the Summer Olympicsin Brazil
- Read together all summer long!