Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Familiar Echoes in President's Speech

President Obama's back-to-school speech to the nation's students yesterday sounded a number of themes that go to the essence of our work. We believe that creating affinities and using a student's areas of interest to build his skills is an important part of the learning process. President Obama agreed, and noted "Every single one of you has something you're good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is."

We believe that asking for help when you need it and working with supportive adults can be key to a student's success. The President thinks so too, and told his student audience, "Don't be afraid to ask questions. Don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it... Asking for help isn't a sign of weakness, it's a sign of strength. It shows you have the courage to admit when you don't know something, and to learn something new. So find an adult you trust -- a parent, grandparent or teacher; a coach or counselor -- and ask them to help you stay on track to meet your goals."

We know that students who struggle in school may have learning issues that make school a particular challenge. Providing strategies for these students to help them to overcome their areas of weakness and to build upon their areas of strength is key to what we do. President Obama's words of encouragement to students reflect something we deeply believe, " can't let your failures define you. You have to let them show you what to do differently next time."

We've seen the amazing progress that students can make when they build on their strengths and use effective strategies to remediate their areas of weakness. We're glad to see that President Obama's speech addressed this important subject.