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posted: Sun, Sep 25th, 2016

Change your words, change your mindset

Jen Olsyn, Mountain View's instructional supervisor, is on a mission to change the mindsets of students. Mrs. Olsyn has begun teaching lessons to classes of all grades on developing a growth mindset – the belief that life is a continual work in progress no matter the age and that struggle, challenge, and even failure can improve a person's intellect and abilities. Through reading Peter Reynolds’ Creatrilogy books ("The Dot," "Ish," and "Sky Color"), Mrs. Olsyn is emphasizing the importance of working hard, putting forth continual effort, and the power of “Yet” (i.e., I don’t know the answer yet.  I’m not good at this yet).   

"You sometimes hear students say things such as 'I can't figure out this math problem' or 'I'm just stupid in social studies,'" Mrs. Olsyn said. "What I want to do is change their point of view. If they're having trouble learning something, instead of giving up I want them to think of it as 'working on their skills' or 'looking for other strategies to succeed.' Changing their mindsets means teaching kids not to get stuck and that to be successful, you sometimes need to fail."

Research first done about 30 years ago found that students who believe they could learn and achieve showed high levels of effort and motivation. Cultivating a growth mindset requires not just maintaining a positive attitude, especially in the face of adversity, but developing the determination and self-confidence to try and keep trying. 

A bulletin board in the main office reminds students of the differences between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. "I made a mistake" has become "Mistakes help me improve." "This is too hard" is now "This may take some time and effort."

Mrs. Olsyn kicked off the mindset initiative during a presentation to faculty members in early September where she actually had teachers perform one of the problem-solving lessons that she'd be teaching students.

To test your own mindset, check out the quiz at:


Gazebo plaque and pedestal installed

Dr. Frank Fischel, Mountain View principal, took fast action after he learned that the dedication plaque was gone from the gazebo that sits on Mountain View's side lawn. Thanks to his initiative, the fundraising efforts of the PTA, and the work of the buildings & grounds crew, a pedestal has been installed near the gazebo's entrance with a new bronze plaque. 

The gazebo was dedicated in 1997 to Mae McEntee, a long-time resident who worked as a secretary at Mountain View for more than 22 years – from 1975 until her death from pancreatic cancer in 1997. Mrs. McEntee was the mother of Larry McEntee, a former board of education member who served from 1999-2007.

 "So many people speak lovingly about Mae and her contributions to the school," Dr. Fischel said. "It's essential that we remember and honor the people who have contributed in making Mountain View such a very special place. The new plaque and pedestal are prominently placed and will remind everyone who walks by that Mae was dear to this school." 

Glenn Miller, the district's director of buildings and grounds, worked closely with Dr. Fischel to expand the “waiting area” by the gazebo and to finalize the plaque and pedestal design.

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Mountain View School
118 Cloverhill Drive Flanders, NJ 07836
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