Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Expanding the Definition of Student Success

Secondary Principal of the Year Challenges Students to Find Their Passion

What defines you? That's the question Stratford High School Principal Christopher Juntti proposed to a packed auditorium as parents and students gathered to celebrate Stratford High's Breakfast of Champions Event earlier this month. 

Principal Juntti welcomed over 600 honored students and guests to the event, taking an opportunity to talk about the definition of student success, define the impact of SBISD's transformative goal known as Spring Branch T-2-4, and task students to recognize and embrace their personal strengths and passions on their journey to a future best self.

The 588 Stratford students recognized with Champions Certificates were honored for outstanding achievement in their grades for the semester having earned all A's, all A's and a B, or all A's and two B's. While the event honored academic prowess, Juntti used the opportunity to expand the thinking of those in attendance about the true meaning of student success.

For Juntti, true success is a journey of self discovery requiring hard work and a deep understanding of one's strengths.  Success is a lifelong commitment to pursuing personal goals and beliefs that starts with knowing who you are. If you don't know who you are or what you value, how can you know what success looks like for you personally?

Juntti challenged those in attendance to reflect on their unique strengths, passions and values, while sharing a few stories about his personal and professional life to illustrate his points.

"What I do for kids defines me...and knowing how you define yourself helps you to define what your personal success looks like. What drives you? Doing what you love is your homework. Figure that out and you can figure out what success looks like for you."

Juntti, recently announced as Secondary Principal of the Year, is a champion for Spring Branch T-2-4. Recognizing and building on the strengths of each child is just one of four key beliefs that are driving change within SBISD under Spring Branch T-2-4, and Juntti's call to action underscored the importance and power of this belief for himself, his students and the SBISD system as a whole. In closing, Juntti tasked students to own their success.

"It's on you. We are here to support your work. That support does not end when you walk across the stage to graduate." 

When his current seniors do walk this spring they will be a testament to Juntii's commitment and belief that all students be equipped with the knowledge, support and skills required for post-graduate success. Before that happens his students still have time to think about their 'homework' and find what they love to do. Juntti and educators around SBISD are hard at work ensuring they do.

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