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West 2nd Graders Teach School Board To ‘Fail Up’

West 2nd Graders Teach School Board To 'Fail Up'

Like school board Secretary Ashley Custer, left, Pottsgrove directors Tuesday were challenged to rescue a pen from a garbage pail

WEST POTTSGROVE PA – Failure IS an option, second-grade students demonstrated Tuesday night (Jan. 9, 2018) to members of the Pottsgrove Board of School Directors, but only if they recognize the need to “fail up” and persevere in the face of obstacles.

The notion that anything but success can be good may sound foreign in some educational settings, but as Principal Terri Koehler, science teacher Jean Randall, and librarian Jennifer O’Leary patiently explained, it’s become a mantra of sorts this year at West Pottsgrove Elementary School on Grosstown Road. Past failures, its students are learning, have led inventors to profitable discoveries, new ways of doing things, and startlingly different approaches to achieve what was formerly thought to be impossible.

That’s the essence of the school’s call to “Fail UP!, Randall said: not to accept failure, but to keep working to overcome it and ultimately win.

West 2nd Graders Teach School Board To 'Fail Up'

A team led by director Patti Grimm, at right, stapled together a tube to effect its pen rescue

Four second-grade students made the point by challenging board members to rescue “The Little Red Pen,” a character in one of the library’s books, from a garbage pail. The adults were given a limited set of objects from which they could create make-shift tools, instructions that they couldn’t rescue the pen with their hands, and a deadline of about three minutes in which to accomplish the task. Directors were divided into four groups, a child leading each of them, when the clock started ticking.

When time was up and a hand-bell rang, three of the four groups had mastered the job and rescued the pen. One had (ahem!) its difficulties  but, to that group’s credit, even it extricated the pen seconds past the deadline.

An audience in the school gym applauded. Directors and administrators laughed. The kids took a bow.

And everyone seemed to benefit from the lesson.

West 2nd Graders Teach School Board To 'Fail Up'

One team didn’t quite make the hand-bell deadline, but it persevered and saved the pen seconds later

Also Tuesday, the board:

  • Approved school resource officer contract extensions with the Lower and Upper Pottsgrove police departments;
  • Named new committee chairpersons and members in what President Matt Alexander said was a deliberate attempt to shuffle personnel for “fresher” thinking; and
  • Revisited earlier discussions on the increased need for substitute teachers in district classrooms.
  • The Post will report these and other stories separately in coming editions.

Related (to the Pottsgrove Board of School Directors’ Jan. 9 meeting):

Photos by The Post Publications


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