GRIT: Four simple letters speak volumes this school year

by Mary Jo David

To inspire teachers to inspire their students, this year, Stockbridge Community Schools has adopted the district-wide theme of GRIT.

Amy Hodgson, the district’s director of curriculum and instruction, shared some powerful words used to define GRIT—words such as determination, perseverance, fortitude, tenacity, and courage. All are concepts that will serve teachers and students well during the 2023-24 school year.

After gathering feedback at staff meetings last May, the District School Improvement Team met during the summer to expand upon this theme. As with so many concepts nowadays, GRIT is serving as an acronym for the 2023-24 school year, and at the Welcome Back Breakfast, members of school administration took turns presenting what each letter in GRIT stands for.

G  =   Growth. There’s always room for improvement. –Meghan Kunzelman, Heritage School Principal

R  =   Rowing.  Power results when people work together to move in the same direction.
–Steve Keskes, Director of Grants and Academic Innovation

I    =   Inspiring. Creative ideas serve to inspire fellow teachers and students.  –Brad Edwards, Smith Elementary Principal

T   =   Together. There is power in togetherness. No one at SCS should feel  they are working or learning alone.  –Jeff Trapp, Junior/Senior High Principal

Following the presentation by these administrators, all members of the staff were given t-shirts and succulent plants (the latter to serve as GRIT reminders in their work areas) to keep the theme of GRIT front and center throughout the school year.

Staff members are also encouraged to fill in GRIT cards when they witness another staff member applying the concepts of GRIT in their work. GRIT cards can serve as modern-day reminders of what strong-willed teenager Mattie Ross conveyed in her tribute to Rooster Cogburn in the movie, True Grit, when she said, “You, sir, have true grit!”

Meghan Kunzelman, Heritage principal, and Amy Hodgson, director of curriculum and instruction, are enthusiastic about the launch of this year’s SCS district-wide theme of GRIT. Photo by Judy Williams

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