Nationally-known motivational speaker coming to MFL MarMac

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Trevor Ragan

Community members encouraged to attend

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

On Wednesday, Aug. 23—the first day of school—MFL MarMac students, staff and even community members won’t just embark on a new year. They’ll hopefully gain a new mindset and perspective on life, too.

Nationally-recognized motivational speaker Trevor Ragan will lead several sessions at the district that day, including an evening session for the community, highlighting the importance of growth mindset.

People all too often have a fixed mindset, said Brent Pape, a middle school teacher and also one of MFL MarMac’s TLC instructional coaches.

“A fixed mindset,” he explained, “is the mentality that you’re born with the skills you have. What you see is what you get.”

In the school setting, he likened it to a student thinking, “I’m not good at math; I’m never going to be good at math.”

Growth mindset, on the other hand, advocates that abilities and intelligence can be developed.

“I can build myself and become better by believing in and working toward my goals,” Pape said.

Ragan, who’s worked with entities like Microsoft, the Cleveland Indians and several U.S. Olympic and college teams through his “Train Ugly” program, uses research originally developed by Dr. Carol Dweck, a professor of psychology at Stanford University.

MFL MarMac staff first heard Ragan speak two years ago, at Keystone’s Premier Education Conference (KPEC). As staff began to take more of an interest in growth mindset, they felt it was important to bring in a speaker like Ragan to get everyone on the same page, said Heidi Meyer, who focuses on literacy intervention at the elementary level and is also an instructional coach.

“We knew we’d love to have the kids, staff and parents hear it,” Pape added. “We talked to the MFL MarMac Booster Club and they’re partnering with us and taking care of half the funds.”

Pape said they didn’t necessarily plan for Ragan to speak on the first day of school. He just happened to be available that day.

“We’re lucky to have him,” Pape shared. “What a way to start the year.”

Ragan will start Aug. 23 speaking to students at the McGregor Center. He’ll then head to Monona, where he’ll speak with the high school and elementary students, then the district staff. That evening, from 6 to 7:30 p.m., parents, grandparents, coaches, business owners and community members are welcome to attend a free session in the auditorium.

“Trevor’s message will be different for each age group,” Meyer said, “but it will all be about mindset, so the kids can have an idea, then the teachers and community can support that.”

Pape said learning about growth mindset has changed how he thinks and how he talks with students.

“It changed my philosophy in teaching and coaching and with my own kids at home,” he remarked.

Meyer agreed.

“It changed my life,” she said, “the way I view things and how I talk to people. It’s a powerful message that’s applicable to kids and adults. We really hope a lot of people attend. Our main goal is to get the message out there.”

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