As the nation goes crazy surrounding the implementation of the Common Core Standards, it seems like there may be a bit of leaving for vacation without turning the iron off. There are a number of really important things in education sliding to the side as the space and time for Common Core sucks up all of the oxygen in the room. One of those concepts is how to focus and develop the tough elements that come from our education system like grit, self-control, and collaboration. While the standards don't make this impossible or dictate not to teach these things, the time, energy, and resources are being shifted away from this work making it only the resolute teacher or the rebel teacher that will continue their journey in this area. Schools hold the unique potential to be cauldrons of growth in these non-academic areas. Schools are the reason that new leaders, citizens, and stewards emerge, but not solely because of the knowledge that the schools have passed on, but because of the passion that the culture of the school has enriched. Be careful as everything becomes about Common Core that there are essential non-cognitive factors that we need to remain focused on as teachers, leaders, and learners in our buildings. Angela Duckworth does a great job refocusing our priorities with this TED talk below.