In a Pettigrew state of mind(set)

SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — School gives kids a chance to learn about the world around them, but education is about looking inward, too. Charlie Fullerton is a fifth grader at RF Pettigrew Elementary School. Social studies is this student’s favorite subject, but Charlie also enjoys something called the “7 Mindsets.”

“They make me feel, honestly, a little bit better about myself just kind of thinking about what they really mean and just how that impacts me and my friends and my family and all the kids here at Pettigrew,” Fullerton said.

Alex Paradise, who’s also a fifth grader here, likes these mindsets as well.

“I really like them because they make me feel like I’m equal with everyone and also it helps me think about myself more than others … it helps me talk to more people,” Paradise said.

“We have bulletin boards up around the school with the questions, the mindset of the month, and then we’ve been doing things like the kids have been doing a poster contest for the mindset every month,” Pettigrew instructional coach Heidi Reynolds said.

Reynolds teaches at Pettigrew about how to instruct these seven mindsets. A book read by the teachers in 2021 led them to another text.

“We found this book by the same company called ‘The 7 Mindsets,’ and we found that they have this whole social-emotional curriculum for students, and so we thought, ‘Oh this would be so wonderful and really needed,” Reynolds said .

The different mindsets deal with possibility, passion, connection, accountability and gratitude, among other topics.

“You can learn how to have a gratitude of attitude and learn about how you can love the things you have, instead of the things other people have and what you want to have,” Paradise said.

“Heidi has put a ton of time into this, into our school to make this happen, and if it wasn’t for her, we wouldn’t have this opportunity,” Pettigrew 5th grade teacher Ashley Kracke said.

Ashley Kracke is also the Sioux Falls School District’s teacher of the year.

“I have enjoyed teaching the seven mindsets,” Kracke said. “It’s always been a goal at Pettigrew, it’s been a goal within my teaching practices to not just teach the academics, but teach the social part of life, and so the seven mindsets does that perfectly.”

“I really like how we can relate to them and how, so we’re doing this poster contest, and we can draw about how kind of we think about them, and then we hang them up in the hallways and I kind of just like how they really teach us a lesson,” Fullerton said.

“It’s been teachers coming to me saying this is exactly what we needed, it’s easy to use, and we’re, they’re seeing the difference in kids,” Reynolds said. “And, like, almost every day, a teacher will come to me and tell me something that a student said about their mindset.”

Kids at Pettigrew began to learn about the mindsets in October. Kracke provides an example of how the kids received one mindset.

“So our students created these beautiful posters that they were able to write down quotes and positive messages about embracing life, embracing the moments,” Kracke said. “And we sent them to the Sanford Children’s Castle, and they sent us an email this week letting us know that they have put them in plastic sleeves, and they are making their way around the oncology unit.”

Students can apply the mindsets to the world around them.

“I think a lot of our kids that even might struggle academically find power in the mindsets because that’s something that they can really talk about, they have real-life experiences, they can think about times that, ‘Oh, I am grateful for this ,’” Kracke said.

“The pandemic just caused such trauma for kids mentally, emotionally, for teachers, too, and we just thought we want our kids to be excited about school and excited about life, and one of the big things, we want them to have hope for the future,” Reynolds said. “And so looking at this curriculum, we realized like this would be a great way to help our kids be problem-solvers, dream big, have hope for the future, realize their own potential.”

Grants received from the Sioux Falls Public Schools Education Foundation allowed for the mindsets to be taught at Pettigrew. Year two with the mindsets will start this upcoming August.

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