“Together we are a lot smarter than we are alone,” says Erik Orndorff, superintendent of Pequea Valley School District. Erik chats about the initiatives in his community that take students from preschool to their “First Choice.”

Orndorff says:

If we change somebody’s life along the way, we feel that’s the way to go. We had a young lady, Megan, who was dyslexic, and she didn’t do school in the way school is “supposed to be done.” She and her parents went to our high school administration and said, “She learns in a different way. Is there any way that we could do an internship out in the community so that she could learn how to be a florist?”

Right away you think, “Oh, no, we’ve got to have her from 7:30 until 2:30 in school because that’s just the way public school does it.”

But because our high school principal and guidance counselor had a growth mindset and knew a lot of the Framework for Understanding Poverty material that we study with Ruby Payne and the whole faculty, they thought, “This is worth a shot.”

They got an internship for Megan, and today she has her own florist’s shop, and her parents who came in and voiced their opinion—they’re actually working for her. Because we found a passion, because we knew some of the statistics about learners in poverty and how they sometimes learn in different ways at different paces, we looked at it differently, and she is a very fulfilled, very successful person to this day.

Watch the video for more.