The idea that only a few people in a room are smart and the rest have a lot to prove is on trial this week in camp designed to change hearts and minds and eventually the culture of Memphis City Schools.
It all comes down to some simple brain theory, which 15 middle schoolers are soaking up at Douglass Elementary and five other city schools.
“Smart is not just something you are but something you get,” says Barbara Logan, director of School Services and Training at the Efficacy Institute in Waltham, Mass.
With $1.1 million this year from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant to Memphis City Schools, Efficacy plans to train several hundred “student envoys” responsible for preaching the gospel of discipline and self-esteem, and delivering the message that smart isn’t by chance.
Related: Small Learning Communities.