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Posted: May 15, 2017

This week’s HOPE & JOY comes courtesy of Andrea McCarty and Melissa Hutton. Thank you for sharing this special story about student growth! Have a great week!


Jett came to first grade new to Camas and with a packet in hand from his former teacher from out of state. The packet contained several work samples from Jett’s previous classroom. Attached was a sticky note with something along the lines of, “This student needs to grow a lot.” The note perplexed me and I wondered, “Had Jett’s parents opened the envelope and read the note?” “What were their perceptions of school for their son?”

I noticed right away that Jett was a hard-working first grader, but his positive attitude stood out from the beginning. I could tell that new learning was challenging, but his positivity shined. Jett had a growth mindset of persistence and resilience before I had even learned about growth mindset. He was also very charismatic and sweet with both adults and classmates. Early testing indicated Jett qualified for LAP reading. I met with Jett’s parents a few times over the year and encouraged them to keep doing what they were doing, reading together every night and being positive about school and Jett’s effort.

Fast forward to last summer and I saw Jett at Go Fourth! I think we were both excited to see a familiar face. The teachers that worked with Jett commented on his effort and sweet personality. He was just the way I remembered him in first grade. Jett had a great two weeks at Go Fourth, and on the last day I asked him how the experience was. He commented that it was a lot of fun and he was really excited to get books. He also said that every kid at Go Fourth was just like him and they worked hard at reading, too. We tried really hard at Go Fourth to match books to kids based on interest. Jett was very insistent to get his hands on a book about unicycles because he had a goal to learn how to ride a unicycle. Unfortunately, we could not find such a book, but it made us laugh.

Jett just came to my classroom last week as Principal of the Day. With confidence he asked if he could read a book to my class. He wanted to read his favorite book, A Bad Case of Stripes. As I watched him, I was struck by his confidence and continued attitude of persistence! He substituted a few words here and there, but overall he did a fabulous job! My class was so engaged. Best yet, he asked them questions at the end!

After reading the story, I asked Jett to share with the class what kind of a reader he was in first grade. He answered with honesty that he had to work at it and that it was a little tough. He told the first graders to keep working and trying. I read an article that ended with the thought that if students only knew how much it means to a teacher to see them grow, learn, and thrive. I find this true, and I’ve been fortunate enough to see this in Jett.

And Jett will be trying out for our end-of-year Talent Show by riding his unicycle that he got for his birthday last summer.