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 Nathan D. Quesnel
                                                                                                    Superintendent of Schools


1110 Main Street, East Hartford, CT 06108             Tel: (860) 622-5107          Fax: (860) 622-5119       www.easthartford.org

 

November 1, 2018

Dear Team,

Happy Halloween!  Smack in the middle of the week, with a full night of “Trick or Treating” behind us…someone out there has a great sense of humor.

I wanted to start off my monthly message thanking each of you for a great month of October—while I am not sure where the month went, I cannot tell you how much I appreciate all the incredible effort I see as I get a chance to visit across the district.  I am beyond proud of both the progress we are making and the journey we are on—sincere thanks!

Continuing to cycle back to our themes of the year, I wanted to pitch a new thought as you plan your month ahead.  One of the signature ingredients to designing moments that raise above the everyday is intentionally creating moments of pride for ourselves and everyone we come in contact with.  In their best seller, The Power of Moments Dan and Chip Heath define these as times that “capture us at our best—showing courage, earning recognition, conquering challenges.”  Here are three great opportunities to create moments of pride in our day:

  1. Recognize Others: Take advantage of the power of a compliment, award, public acknowledgement or private note of gratitude.  Don’t let the month go by without harnessing this power and watch out for the “boomerang” result.
  2. Multiply Milestones: Take a major challenge that is currently facing you, your team, your colleague or your students and break the challenge down into a series of small achievable goals.  Commit to these small milestones in writing and publically share if possible.  Now comes the fun part, begin the journey and as you climb your way to each milestone and celebrate each success in the according manner,  build momentum, learn how to “win” and redefine the phrase of “possible.”  
  3. Practice Courage: This may be the hard one.  When we think of the great moments of history or even our own lives, we recognize that many times these moments centered on a decision to stand for something greater than ourselves.  Maybe I stood up for justice, I stood up for the truth or, I stood up for someone else.  While many would argue that these are spontaneous points of opportunity (or failure), Dan and Chip suggest that success in these moments can come from a well-rehearsed battle plan, built around preparation.  So what does it mean for us?  This month, you can prepare for moments of pride by practicing and rehearsing a courageous plan or a response to a situation that may be facing you.  This starts with first of all knowing where you stand…Malcom X once said, “A person who stands for nothing will fall for anything,” he was right.  Where do you stand when it comes to how we talk about our kids, our community, our colleagues or even our loved ones?  Where do you stand when it comes to an uncomfortable conversation about truth, ethics or right and wrong?  While all too often, we walk away from these moments saying, “I wish I had said…” here is our opportunity to get ready and prepare.  Practice courage this month…build a moment of pride!

The beauty of powerful moments is that we don’t have to sit around and wait for them to happen…we can create them.  Looking forward to creating these moments with you in November! 

See you in the halls,

Nate

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