Last week’s New York Times Magazine featured an article entitled, “What if the Secret to Success is Failure”. It is a fantastic article that features a NOLS Gateway Partner, KIPP schools and a NOLS feeder school, Riverdale Country School. Aside from the relationship with NOLS it would appear that these two school systems would have little in common. KIPP is a charter school system with campuses around the country. Nearly all of their students are African-American or Latino and they come from under-served communities in numerous urban areas. Riverdale is a prestigious New York City private school with a tuition that exceeds that of many colleges.
So what is it that has these two organizations featured in the same article? It is their emphasis on character as an element of education. Dealing with adversity, stick-to-it-ivness, call it what you will it involves the concept that students sometimes “fail” and that is alright. That is where the learning happens.
I highly recommend this article. Character education is a big part of what NOLS does though our leadership curriculum. It is what all schools need to do if we want to turn out students ready to succeed in the real world.