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Course Correction: Project 180, Day 83



A little heavy-hearted this morning. After too much deliberation, I have decided to make some midpoint adjustments to Project 180.  And though I know I will no doubt disappoint some that I was unable to continue the good fight or “soldier on,” I am not giving up; I am not quitting. I am adjusting. Trust me, it breaks my heart to not see it fully through, but I believe, in the end, I am making the best decision for my kids, for I am giving them the option to find success in the way that works best for them, even at the cost of compromising my principles.

Here is the letter that I will send home today with my kids.

Dear Parents/Guardians,

We live. We learn. After much consideration and reflection on my current approach to grading, I have decided to provide an option for those who desire it. It was not a decision lightly made, for I earnestly believe in what I am doing, but I also acknowledge that, for some, Project 180 has not provided the necessary motivation for them to grow and succeed. In the end, I want all kids to grow, and if some need a return to tradition for that to happen, then I am willing to make adjustments to my approach.

But that’s not as simple as it seems. First and foremost, I made a promise. I promised all my kids that I would give them an A, no matter what, and while I am not necessarily going back on my word, for that offer still stands, I do feel like my sincere sentiments then are shallow sentiments now. And that will take me some time to reconcile–with the kids and with myself. Second, I will now have to juggle two different approaches, which is fine, but it will take more time and effort. But if that’s what’s required, then it’s time and effort well spent. Third, I am compromising my convictions. I really do believe that we must and can do education better. I do not believe that we should maintain the status quo because of its familiarity. And while it does not sit comfortably with my spirit, my convictions are ultimately secondary to the primary concern: supporting kids. All kids.

And so, I offer a choice, a choice that needs to be a family decision. In that regard, I hope this is something that you and your child consider carefully. I would hope that it would be an opportunity for your child to reflect back on his/her performance this past semester, letting that somewhat guide the decision moving forward. As many know, the Project 180 approach has been successful. Many of your children have taken ownership and responsibility for their learning through the 180 opportunity, and I hope in earnest that  you allow them to continue to be successful as they continue down this path. But ultimately the choice is yours. For those who choose to return to tradition, I completely understand, and I welcome your decision. Again, if it will help your child grow, then that’s all that really matters. Truly.

Thank you for your time and attention with this matter. Thank you, too, for allowing me to live, learn, and grow. If you have any questions, please email me at msyrie@cheneysd.org.

____ We would like to continue with the Project 180 grading approach for spring semester.

____ We would like to change to a traditional grading approach for spring semester.

Student Name (print): ____________________________________________

Student Signature: ____________________________________________

Parent/Guardian Signature: ____________________________________________

Please return by Monday, January 30, 2017

Gotta admit, I am feeling a wee lost at this juncture in the journey, but I’ll get back on track. In moments like this, I have to trust my compass: kids. The dial directed me here, and I am going to trust its direction. I am sorry for disappointing any of my faithful. I hope you find some sense in my decision. I will continue to fight and soldier on for what I–we–believe in; the front line has just shifted a bit. Turns out to be a battle with many fronts. The journey continues.

Happy Monday, all.



5 Replies to “Course Correction: Project 180, Day 83”

  • I recently told Jenna that I hadn’t taken the time to follow your posts because I am buried with my Freshmen. As always, you are taking the approach that will allow students to determine what is best for their learning. Kids know you care, as do the colleagues you inspire!

  • I find this journey fascinating. Thank you for having the courage to break new ground. Course corrections are a necessary part of growth. I can’t wait to see what the future brings. Granted, it may take years to see these seeds bear fruit. Thanks so much for sharing.

  • Some habits die hard. I am greatful to work with a teacher who is willing to take chances and try challenge the status quo.
    While I am not yet ready to take such a bold leap I do believe growth is the whole motivation behind education.

    I hope you are at peace with the decision and that kids (and families) do not take their decision lightly.

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