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Thrive Center for Success June 2022 Newsletter

Executive Director Message

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Thrive has been making great progress these past two months as we have worked hard to prepare to open our doors in August. Therefore, we have a lot of exciting news to share!


First, I am happy to announce we have found our home for our first year! Church Project has graciously agreed to provide space for us to use, which includes 12 classrooms, 9 small group workspaces, a large space for cafeteria/movement/enrichment, two meeting rooms, a large gym, and an outdoor field. The property is fenced providing extra security for our students. We are so grateful for their support and can’t wait for our families to come tour our school building in July!


Our next step with the building is to have a school safety specialist inspect it and give recommendations on ways to enhance safety for our students including security cameras, motion sensors, and key card access.


Also, our team has started the hiring process and have met with a lot of great candidates for the many positions we have available to serve our families. We are beginning to fill our leadership and special education teacher positions and will be sharing updates soon regarding new team members.


At this time, I would like to welcome our newest leadership team member, Alyssa Coleman, as our LSSP and Special Education Director. We are honored to have her join our team. To learn more about her, see below.

 

In addition, Thrive has applied for several grants as we strive to ensure we have the resources needed to serve our students and families. We are thrilled to announce we were recently awarded several grants including an Autism Grant from TEA for $2.2M. We are honored to be awarded these grants and know they will go a long way in helping us provide for our students.


I want to thank the community and our incoming families for all of your support and patience these past couple of months. We look forward to bringing this groundbreaking school to our community!


Kind regards,

Elizabeth Goldsmith

Founder/Executive Director

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Principal Perspective  


During the parent meeting I referenced the term Zone of Proximal Development when describing how we group students by learning level rather than exact age. The term is common in education and comes from Lev Vygostky a Russian development psychologist who died in the 1930s. Even though I am a behaviorist I found this concept and term helpful in thinking about how we place and plan programs for students. We don’t want the program to be too hard or too easy. We also want the students to be around other peers whose language and skills are within their learning zone so that they can learn from each other. 


With an Applied Behavior Analysis approach to learning we apply this zone concept more systematically by differentiating the instruction on an individual level as necessary and making those steps as small as necessary. We want skills to be fully mastered with fluency before moving too far ahead. This means that the prompts and the reinforcers have been systematically faded. A fully mastered skill is something a student will do independently with only the reinforcement provided naturally in the environment. 


As ownership of learning increases the level of support decreases. Vygotsky called this gradual release.

 You may have done this when teaching a child to ride a bike. First you hold the bike or provide training wheels. Then you let go for a moment and grab again if needed. Finally, you let go completely and walk alongside. Eventually, you increase that distance until you feel comfortable, they can ride safely independently. Curriculum and instruction is about getting the right scope (what to teach), in the right sequence (order of lessons), with the right supports (prompts and reinforcement), at the right pace (how fast), and right duration (how long). Finding this balance is an ongoing process of adjustment.   As we get more information about your child, we will continue to plan to meet them where they are at to move them forward.  


Scott Nipper, M.Ed., BCBA, LBA

Thrive Center for Success, Principal

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Thrive Center For Success

Leadership Team Announcement 

Thrive Center for Success is pleased to announce and welcome Alyssa Dietrich Coleman, M.A., LSSP, NCSP LSSP/SpEd Director for Thrive Center for Success Charter School


Alyssa Dietrich Coleman is a Licensed Specialist in School Psychology (LSSP) and Nationally Certified School Psychologist. She received her M.A. in School Psychology from Sam Houston State University and has served as a leader in school districts within the community for the last 15 years. During this time, the focus of her career has been on identification and strength-based intervention for neurodiverse students from ages 2-21. Ms. Coleman has provided professional development for an array of educational stakeholders at the state and local levels. In addition, she has provided training internationally, having traveled to Haiti several times to support educators, caretakers, and transition teams for orphaned children in the country.

 

Developing relationships with students and families that are built on approachability and authenticity is the foundation of Ms. Coleman’s personal and professional goals. Ms. Coleman is a LoneStar LEND Fellow and doctoral candidate at Concordia University. She resides in Tomball, Texas with her spouse and two children.

Thrive Center for Success Elements of Learning


  • Incorporating Applied Behavior Analysis into academics and behavior 
  • Providing Individual Learning Plans for each child 
  • Having low teacher to student ratios depending on the needs of each child 
  • Using multi-age flexible groupings in each classroom 
  • Having staff highly trained in working with children with autism 
  • Having specialized therapists on site 
  • Using a multi-faceted team approach to monitor and track each child’s progress with regular communication between parents, teachers, administrators, and therapists 
  • Teaching our students American Sign Language
  • Transitioning students to neighborhood schools when ready 


Thrive Center for Success Guest Column 

Dr. Jeffrey A. Springer, Executive Coaching/Mentor with Spring Strategies- LLC

is Thrive Center For Success Guest Column Contributor for the June 2022 Newsletter.

Dr. Springer focuses on to Cultivate Play in your everyday experiences. 


"Cultivating Playful Entrepreneurs"

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More Play. More Questions!

In a world where local and state-level standardized tests and state accountability reigns, creativity is often sacrificed or devalued in secondary educational settings. Researchers Bronson and Merryman (2010) stated that prior to 1990,


“The correlation to lifetime creative accomplishment was more than three times stronger for childhood creativity than childhood IQ”


However, the trend has reversed with prescribed academic curricula which provide little time for student inspiration. An underlying reason creativity is missing is due to devaluing of creativity within schools (Bronson & Merryman, 2010). Without true intentional focus, “its left to the luck of the draw who becomes creative: there’s no concerted effort to nurture the creativity of all children” (Bronson & Merryman, 2010, para. 8). The current system prevents educational leadership from being the transformational entrepreneurs our students demand to progress and fully reach their individual intelligences “taking away from higher order thinking skills, which has been proven to have long term benefits for students and is a much needed 21st-century skill” (Lewis, 2019). Like schools, countless organizations seem to be structured to force round pegs into square holes, absent of play and thus diminishing the efficacy of its leaders along with those they are leading. According to Hallowell (2011), a clear majority of leaders acknowledge the value of work ethic, “but there is a great need for them to also see play as a vital role in improving and reaching highest potential and performance” (p. 36). 

An environment of play places an emphasis on personal growth and can build a culture which encourages leaders to look for collaboration, hence bridging their colleague’s talents to accomplish a common goal. Play in the workplace allows for deeper conversations to take place, laying a foundation of empathy and concern perpetuating a thriving organization. For leaders, considering play as an invaluable benefit can represent a potential paradigm shift for most cultures and serves as a barrier to achieving the peak performance needed in all successful teams and individual performance. Without leaders implanting play, the outcome of learning becomes a predictable absence of inventiveness. Hallowell’s (2011) concept,


“Play leads to all great discoveries, needing to be internalized and becoming a standard for operations in order to see organizations thriving and reaching their highest performance potential


In many cases, students end up waiting until college or beyond to experience and explore their passions. Many students attending our universities across this nation have left their inner child far behind. Most educators and researchers agree play not only benefits children's mental and physical health, it teaches them risk taking and problem-solving skills, promoting imagination, independence and creativity, but according to Jenkin (2013a) “Play's use in education beyond early years, however, is a much more contentious issue” (p. 3). In this debate, beyond kindergarten, laser focus on curriculum geared towards standardized testing drives classroom pedagogy. In a world of ever evolving high tech, the emphasis of play leading to creativity and innovation within higher education is not clearly designed. From concentrated and intentional role-playing kindergarten to devoting significant classroom time to state exam preparation, play is squeezed out by rows of desks in every school classroom. Along the way, the emphasis diverts from learning as exploration and investigation to learning for results. The quest for learning becomes lost as students move away from their early childhood years to adolescence. Preschool children ask on average 100 questions a day. As children move to be middle school age, the questions all but cease. The questions stop along with a decrease in student engagement and interest (Bronson & Merryman, 2010, para. 29). These facts lead to the question, why do students stop asking questions and engaging? According to Bronson and Merryman (2010),


“They do not stop asking questions

because they lost interest. They lost interest because they stopped asking questions”


Even successful students who possess a naturally innovation aptitude, their full creativity surface is only scratched. According to Conklin (2015), “play not only fosters creative thinking, problem solving, independence, and perseverance, but also addresses teenagers’ developmental needs for greater independence and ownership in their learning” (para 7). The extension of play deemed by many play theorists as essential across all learning environments, curriculum, and educational levels gets buried in the definition of “work” where there is no room for play. Researchers add, “creativity should not be found only in the art room but into homeroom” (Bronson and Merryman, 2010, para12). The influence of play needs to be incorporated into other aspects of education beyond art and music. Early childhood development in kindergarten is a basis for play and creativity to be reinforced throughout the educational system. The play “gap” is visibly and tangibly obvious within the secondary school years. Conklin (2015) explains that adolescents, in comparison to children in early childhood years, are “largely left out of these important conversations” (para 2). Moreover, Conklin argues that adults, too, need play.



In a classroom or in the boardroom, “life without play is a grinding, mechanical existence organized around doing the things necessary for survival” (Hallowell, 2011, p. 124). The fundamental aspects and their role in summit performance reveals play is critical for connecting those that have been selected to achieve excellence. Woven into what perpetuates a life that is enjoyable, one will find play. Brown (2009) exhorts, “play is a catalyst. The beneficial effects of getting just a little true play can spread through our lives, usually making us more productive and happier in everything we do” (p. 67). It is in the arts, travel, discovery, good conversation and laughter, literature, athletics, our clothing choices; much of what we think of in defining our own culture comes out of our play (Brown, 2009). Although hard pressed to narrow and confine play to a single definition, at the heart of play, Hallowell (2011) suggests, “play is the viral essence of life. It is what makes life lively” (p. 2011).

 

Dr. Jeffrey A. Springer

Executive Coaching/Mentor - Spring Strategies- LLC

"Cultivating Playful Entrepreneurs"


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Employment Opportunities

Thrive Center For Success is currently hiring, please visit job postings on our website at www.thrivesuccess.org.  All interested applicants will need to complete the online application on the website to be considered for an interview.



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6606 FM 1488 Suite 148-622, Magnolia, TX 77354

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