The Positivity Project

  • Briarcliff ES joined The Positivity Project as a Partner School in 2018 as a way to support students in their social-emotional learning and growth. We believe that #OtherPeopleMatter and #OtherBulldogsMatter and strive to support students in strengthening relationships and pro-social skills so that they can be successful, happy, collaborative, creative, critical-thinkers and problem-solvers. 

     

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    The Positivity Project (P2) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to empower America’s youth to build strong relationships and to understand, appreciate, and exemplify the character strengths in us all. The mission of P2 is to partner with schools across the country and equip educators with the knowledge, confidence, and resources to teach their students positive psychology’s 24 character strengths. This family information letter from the P2 founders give parents a great overview of how we embed P2 within our school. 

    Through daily character lessons, students will focus on building stronger relationships. Why, you ask? Good question! Because relationships are the cornerstone of health, happiness, and resilience…and (according to experts) many jobs of the future. That is why P2 developed a strategy that we and other Partner Schools use to inspire strong relationships (student-to-student and student-to-teacher) and cultivate a school-wide #OtherPeopleMatter Mindset. 

     

    The Problem

    The research is clear. Our ability to build strong relationships is under assault.

     

    NARCISSISM AND EMPATHY

    Between the early 1980s and late 2000s, narcissism in college freshmen increased by 30% and empathy decreased by 40%, according to separate studies from San Diego State University and the University of Michigan.

    ACHIEVEMENT VS. CARING

    A 2014 study from the Harvard Graduate School of Education asked middle and high school students to rank what was most important to them: achieving at a high level, happiness (feeling good most of the time), or caring for others. Almost 80% of students picked high achievement or happiness. Revealingly, students were 3x more likely to agree than disagree with this statement: “My parents are prouder if I get good grades in school than if I’m a caring member of my community and school.” And, only 15% of students saw “promoting caring in students” as their teachers’ top priority.
     
     

     

    LONELINESS

    Between 1985 and 2004, Americans’ number of close friends or people that they could “discuss important matters with” dropped from 2.94 to 2.08. People who said they had no one to discuss important matters with more than doubled, to nearly 25 percent.
     
     
     

    Why are relationships so important?

    Strong relationships are the cornerstone of health, happiness, and resilience…and jobs of the future.

     

    HEALTH AND HAPPINESS

    Harvard University has a nearly 80-year ongoing study that followed 724 men, from two different socioeconomic cohorts, across their lifespans to track health and well-being. The director, Dr. Robert Waldinger, summarized their findings: “The lessons aren’t about wealth or fame or working harder and harder. The clearest message that we get from this study is this: Good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period.”

    Harvard University Study on Adult Development



    RESILIENCE

    The National Scientific Council on the Developing Child (NSCDC) at Harvard University had a simple question: Why do some children do well and show resilience, despite exposure to stressful circumstances and hardship? Their answer: “Resilience requires relationships, not rugged individualism…The single most common finding is that children who end up doing well have had at least one stable and committed relationship with a supportive parent, caregiver, or other adult.”
     

    JOBS

    Researchers at Oxford University estimate that 47% of U.S. jobs are at “high risk” for being automated within the next 10-20 years. Research out of MIT reinforces these findings, forecasting that technology’s impact on employment “will only accelerate.” The MIT researchers predict the following skills will be in the highest demand as we move into the future: persuasion, negotiation, and group dynamics; framing and solving open-ended problems; applied math and statistics; sound writing; and human interaction and nurturing.


    Persuasion, Negotiation,

    and Group Dynamics



    Framing and Solving

    Open-ended Problems



    Human Interaction

    and Nurturing



    Applied Math

    and Statistics



    Sound Writing

     

     

  • Our Solution

    Only by consistently teaching our youth about the character strengths that everyone possesses, will they see the people based on the content of their character.

    This ability will enhance our student's self-awareness and self-confidence, understanding and appreciation of others, and interpersonal relationships – which will positively influence our youth (individually and collectively) across their lifespans.

     

    The Positivity Project Model