Watching the recent 60 Minutes segment about The Equity Project (TEP) Charter School in New York reminded me of Waiting for Superman, the brilliant documentary by Davis Guggenheim that explored the anxiety-provoking competition amongst inner city youths to get into charter schools. Both of these efforts showed that engagement – even in difficult environments – can work if approached correctly.
A measurable goal, backed by the right program
TEP has bet its future on one key ingredient: teacher performance. It’s not about chasing a lofty but soft educational-improvement dream; rather, it’s about focusing on the specific ability of teachers to be captivating performers in the classroom. Teachers at TEP have perks: an annual salary of $125,000 for a full 12-month job. However, the promise of a good salary isn’t what makes teaching positions hard to come by; it’s that chance to work in a special environment that is showing real results that makes these jobs so coveted.
Perhaps you’re wondering what this has to do with Healthrageous and our goal of helping people improve their health? The teachers at TEP engage students, sustaining their attention and stoking their zeal for learning. Teachers are constantly evaluated on their ability to motivate, inspire, and improve their charges. At TEP, there is no one-size-fits-all model. Teachers are challenged to get intensely knowledgeable about each child in the classroom so that they can “dynamically personalize” the learning experience. This approach is quite similar to the Healthrageous model of treating everyone uniquely, with tailored engagement strategies that key off of the insights we’ve learned about those whom we serve.
Beyond education and health
The validity of tailoring engagements to individuals doesn’t just apply to education and health. For sports fans, we see the value of this approach during college basketball’s annual “March Madness” championship tournament. Coaches that are able to simultaneously inspire exceptional individual and team play from a group of young men with disparate backgrounds and life stories will be the ones that take their teams to the Final Four.
Engagement is all around us, and yet it rarely seems to be optimized. The limited results of these efforts are the proof of how inadequate engagement strategies fail to live up to promises. However, by tailoring engagement to the individual, tracking results, and rigorously adjusting actions and support; engagement-based activities can succeed. We see it at TEP, at Healthrageous, and on the college basketball courts.
I invite you to see how our outrageous engagement solution is working in improving people’s health.