The ripple effect of the power of positivity

Group of teachers wearing orange and waving

For two days this summer, 50 staff members – several from each District 58 school – have focused on how they can spread positivity in their school culture.

"Everyone is a potential spark and we know an authentic culture of gratitude and positivity can benefit every single person who steps through our doors,” said Superintendent Dr. Kevin Russell.

This is the third year that the District has conducted training and instituted the work of Harvard researcher Shawn Achor, who introduced the science in his book “The Happiness Advantage." The training is supported through a state grant.

The plan is for those individuals to capitalize on their training (and enthusiasm) and build on ways to enhance joy, empathy and compassion within the school culture.

The outcome can be enormous for both students and staff. A positive, engaged, happy individual means improved performance, motivation and productivity, more pride in the school community; deeper relationships and retention of the best staff. 

Already, staff who were in the workshop went out to spread joy in the community. Wearing orange and calling themselves the Hype Girls, a group of teachers from El Sierra and Fairmount, purchased some cake and treats and dropped them off at the Downers Grove-based DuPage PADS. “Our Joy Drop was to recognize and celebrate the staff for all they do,” said District 58 Instructional Coach Lauren Prosser. “However being the wonderful people they are, they chose to pass it on to residents as well!” Here is a video of their Joy Drop

The seven principles of the Orange Frog are:

The Happiness Advantage - Success doesn’t lead to happiness but the opposite. When we feel happy, we are more productive, creative and more motivated. 

The Fulcrum and the Lever - Adjust our mindset (fulcrum) to give us the power (lever) to be more fulfilled and satisfied.

The Tetris Effect - Look for patterns of possibility and positivity and seize opportunities wherever we look.

Falling Up - Find our mental path to happiness and away from feelings of distress and failure.

The Zorro Circle - Master small goals to build the confidence to take on larger goals.

The 20-Second Rule - Make small energy adjustments to replace bad habits with good ones.

Social Investment - Invest in building our social support network to increase happiness and support.

Teachers have already incorporated positive psychology into their lesson plans, creating an environment where students feel valued and motivated to learn. Watch for teachers and staff wearing orange on Mondays to promote the Orange Frog Happiness Advantage within our schools.