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Got Grit: Teaching Success

CINCINNATI (Josh Knight) -- Some believe youngsters have forgotten what hard work is all about but Bridgetown Middle School has a new program that helps make sure students know what it takes to succeed by asking the question, "Got grit?"

Bridgetown  Middle School students like seventh grader Ben Murray started off this year different from years past.  They were supposed to set goals, write them down, and work on them over the year.

Ben said, "I said all A's and I missed it.  I think I had two B's and they were really close to being A's."
But Principal Adam Taylor says that's all part of the process.

"What we want the kids to realize is that in every successful story, there were a hundred failures along the way," Taylor said.  "We looked at grit as, alright, we know the kids can learn and achieve at high levels. How do we extend that even further."
Taylor launched the campaign school wide; bringing a new vocabulary into the classroom.

Pheobe Strohmaier has taught for three years at Bridgetown Middle.

"They worry about challenging themselves because they think that if they challenge themselves and fail, they think that they aren't as good as they thought they were.  What we want, is to push the students to challenge themselves, realize they are going to fail along the way and that's the only thing that's going to make them better," said Strohmaier.
If the students completed their goals they got shirts.  Principal Taylor said some of the student's goals were academic, some of them were very personal or family oriented.  All were set in hopes of overcoming certain fears that the students may have had in the past.
Elizabeth Cohn's goal focused on sports and her grit paid off.  She is a diver and she got first at championships.

She said, "I think that my practices and everything were the one thing that made it possible obviously, and maybe just wanting to work toward it harder."
Elizabeth says she'll take her new "grittiness" as she heads to high school, "Definitely, whenever I'm doing something that will be hard to persevere, I just have to think that I'm going to keep going and I'm going to do my best  and do it until it gets done."
The campaign has been so popular among students and parents Principal Taylor plans to expand it next year.  He even hopes  it can  be used in other schools around the state.

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