The start of school is always a time of new beginnings – a new grade level, new teachers, new classmates, and for some, an entirely new school. At Turning Point, we have another “new beginning” to add to our list: the launch of our re-branding project.
This project started about a year ago, when the Board led us on a search for a creative firm to steer us through this journey. We were lucky to join forces with DISTINC_, a cutting-edge creative firm out of Pasadena. After several months of an “Inquiry” phase during which time the DISTINC_ team immersed themselves in Turning Point’s program and culture, we formed a Task Force consisting of administrators, parents, and Trustees, whose job it was to analyze, interpret, and reflect upon the findings of the initial branding “audit.”
As we explored the many fascinating findings from our interviews and surveys, one theme kept popping up: that students and parents alike are happy at Turning Point. Students are happy getting out of their cars in the morning, and they return home happy in the evenings, too. Parents are happy feeling supported and cared for—whether as frequent volunteers on campus, or as working parents who know they can rely on the school and their peer parents to always “have their back.” And those daily reassurances are very important, to be sure. But, dig a little deeper, and “happiness” as it is defined at Turning Point takes on a much richer and more profound meaning.
How many of you were raised to believe that if you perform well at school, get good grades, get into the right high school, college, graduate school, land that key first job and work 80 hours per week “paying your dues,” that then… you will be happy?
What if I tell you that is not true? Scientific evidence in the field of positive psychology tells us that this conventional model has it completely backwards. In actuality:
- We become more successful when we are happier and more positive
- Our brains are hardwired to perform at their best, not when they are negative or neutral, but when they are positive
- When our brains are in a positive place we release chemicals (serotonin, endorphins, and dopamine) that make us feel significant, alleviate anxiety, and motivate us to take action towards goals, desires, and needs
There are many ways to define “achievement,” and no two students share the exact same definition or pursue the exact same path to get there. At Turning Point, there are many different opportunities for students to immerse themselves in learning, cultivating friendships, creating, taking calculated risks, and leading. You can see it on their faces—in the classrooms, on the playing fields, on the stage, and across campus. It is an unmistakable “state of flow” that signals the deep satisfaction which accompanies authentic growth.
As we think about the various traits that create in our students this “state of flow,” they fall into five main categories: Intellectual, Social, Emotional, Physical, and Ethical. Within these categories are many individual elements which can be configured in myriad ways to compose the “positive equation” that each child experiences here.
Every student at Turning Point has a “positive equation for achievement” that helps them pursue more challenging goals, perform better, and persist longer on challenges. It helps them navigate difficult situations more resiliently and inspires them to share their authentic selves and genuine talents with others. It is a profound marker of future success of all kinds, and creates the traits we want to see in those who will, one day in the not-too-distant future, inherit our planet.
Not only has this project provided a unique, organic, and genuine way to talk about Turning Point, it has inspired many of us here to personally evaluate our thinking around what constitutes achievement, positivity, and a well-lived life. As the year unfolds, I invite you to embrace opportunities to develop new views, reframe old thinking, and explore how the science of positive psychology can help you and your children bring even more intention and richness to your lives.
Dr. Laura Konigsberg
Head of School