La Cañada High School is set to challenge the entire idea of success. That will be the goal this fall when a group of LCUSD representatives, including principals, teachers, students and parents, travel up to Stanford University to attend the 13th Challenge Success Conference.
“The whole idea of it is to redefine what success means in a high school, and in a high-performing school like ours, I think that is especially an interesting question,” Principal Ian McFeat said. “It’s not about Ivy League schools, it’s not about only getting into this school or that school and somehow getting in this race and then getting there and thinking, ‘What did I do this for?’
“The thrust of this program is just looking at all of our programs, all of our systems and aligning it to what we know is best practice: How do we have students who are balanced and live balanced lives?”
Since it began 12 years ago, Challenge Success has partnered with more than 130 middle and high schools to implement policies and practices that increase academic engagement by encouraging interpersonal and collaborative skills, adaptability and resilience and the critical thinking and creativity needed to solve complex problems. It might ask teachers, for example, to rethink homework, or for administrators to reconsider the daily start time.
McFeat said educators in other districts recommended the program to LCUSD administrators, who applied.
The district is seeking local applicants to join the LCHS and LCHS 7/8 teams to make the trip. The information they gather — advertised as practical, research-based tools students can use for a more balanced and academic life — will be disseminated back in LCF upon the team’s return, McFeat said.
“You go up there and learn,” he said, “and then you’ve got to do the work.”
Those interested in joining the effort in any capacity can apply, McFeat said. Applications are available online at lchsspartans.com. They are due Monday, May 23. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Mirjam Swanson