Here’s an inspiring example of how two pioneering educators, Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Education Dr. Ron Davis, and psychology teacher, Tina Raspanti are sharing the You Matter magic within Mt Lebanon School District in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
What attracted you to the You Matter Marathon (YMM)?
Tina: I remember the feelings of warmth and caring I had when Cheryl shared a You Matter card with me. Not only did I want to be part of the YMM, but I immediately wanted to share it with others.
Ron: Any time we are purposeful in filling another person’s emotional tank, like telling someone how much they matter, we are improving their life, our life, and making the world a little better place.
What opportunity does this represent for your school district?
Tina: I want others to feel what I felt when I received my You Matter card. As educators in a caring and giving profession we can be so focused on others that we forget about ourselves, and fail to see the impact of all we do. The YMM will be a wonderful reminder to all employees in our Mt. Lebanon family that each of them is essential to our community. Every one of them matters.
Also, I am so excited to share this initiative with my students; particularly in my Social Psychology class, where we focus on prosocial behavior and mental well being.
Ron: Our District broadened our involvement with research-based contemplative practices using the motto of self-care. If you take better care of yourself, you are better equipped to take care of the children in your care. The You Matter Marathon is a strategy that can be employed in this process that allows faculty, staff, and administration to take better care of themselves so that they can take better care of their students.
Do you see your school community as a microcosm of the greater community?
Ron: Certainly. It goes back to the question – Is the school a microcosm of the community or is the community a microcosm of the school? In either case, there is a symbiotic relationship between a school and its community, and our hope is that the You Matter Marathon, launched in the schools, will have a ripple effect into the community.
How are you implementing the You Matter Marathon in your school district?
Tina: The YMM aligns with our core competencies of respecting ourselves and others. I plan on incorporating it into my AP Psychology and Social Psychology electives. I will give each student three cards – one for themselves and two to share and then ask them to reflect on their experience. I think our kids will feel the spirit of the YMM as they are great kids.
Ron: There’s a saying, “When the Principal sneezes, the school catches a cold.” The Principal’s leadership in a school is powerful. Using this premise, we are asking the Principals to lead this positive initiative by telling their faculty & staff how much they matter to the students, school, district, and community. From there, faculty and staff will be given the opportunity to spread their gratitude as part of the You Matter Marathon.
Who will you give your first You Matter card to and why?
Tina: My sister, she moved back to Pittsburgh a few years ago, and she’s given me unconditional love and support, I want to remind her she matters to me.
Ron: My wife (a principal in the District). She matters to her students, faculty & staff, and her school community (not to mention, her family).
To learn more about Mt. Lebanon’s commitment to teacher self-care and compassionate leadership, contact Tina Raspanti at [email protected].
To bring the You Matter Marathon to your school community go to www.youmattermarathon.com and click on Teachers or contact Cheryl at [email protected]. And click here and to receive a free YMM School District and Teacher Guide.