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Happiness Summit welcomes staff to 2017-18 school year

A student from every District 54 school standing in a row on stage
“Happiness is the joy one feels striving after their potential” – Shawn Achor, The Happiness Advantage.

School District 54 is focused on creating a school community that recognizes the importance of positive psychology to strengthen our core mission of Ensuring Student Success.

All District 54 staff members, as well as PTA presidents and dignitaries in the District 54 community, were invited to the District 54 Happiness Summit, an inspirational kickoff event for the 2017-18 school year, on August 17.

Superintendent Andy DuRoss welcomed everyone to the summit, which began with students from all District 54 schools taking the stage while a video played spotlighting students talking about the difference District 54 staff has made in their lives.

Click here to watch the video.

DuRoss shared why he invited Harvard researcher Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage, to speak about how happiness and optimism fuel performance and lead to success.

Superintendent Andy DuRoss welcomes staff“After finishing Shawn’s book, I couldn’t wait to share it with the District 54 staff and community,” DuRoss said. “By implementing his work in our district, we are letting our staff and our students know that we are committed to their happiness and their success.”

The summit focused on positive psychology’s ability to

  • Create a happy, healthy and engaged learning community;
  • Deepen student, family and community development; and
  • Improve performance and fuel student success.

Shawn Achor speakingAchor explained how individuals can reprogram their brains to become more positive, and in doing so become more successful. He outlined for staff seven principles that allow us to maximize our potential:

  • The Tetris Effect – if we retrain our brain to spot patterns of possibility, we can see and seize opportunities wherever we look.
  • The Zorro Circle – when we meet small, manageable goals, we gain the leverage to gradually conquer bigger goals.
  • Social Investment – the greatest predictor of our long-term success and happiness is the relationships we build.
  • The Happiness Advantage – Achor identifies five tactics that have been shown to retrain the brain to be more positive.
  • The Fulcrum and the Lever – if we believe change is possible and our behavior matters, we will be more successful.
  • Falling Up – when we experience setbacks, we can use that opportunity to learn and grow.
  • The 20-Second Rule – if we eliminate any barriers or resistance to our desired actions, we are enhancing our abilities to jumpstart positive change.

District 54 staff members will continue to explore positive psychology throughout the school year, continuing along the work employees have already done on mindset, the keys of character and quantum learning.

Not only will positive psychology support District 54 staff, it also will give staff another tool to serve the District 54 students.

“Positive emotions are contagious,” DuRoss said. “It is my hope that positivity spreads throughout the District 54 community.”