What Kids Need for a Fulfilled Life

by Diane Tavenner

Number of pages: 304

Publisher: Currency

BBB Library: Education, Parenting

ISBN: 978-1984826060

About the Author

Diane Tavenner is the co-founder and CEO of Summit Public Schools, a nationally-recognized nonprofit that operates 15 public middle and high schools in California and Washington. She designed a school model that prepares all students to succeed in college and life, earning Summit national accolades and distinctions, including a 2019 America’s Best High Schools winner by US News & World Report.


Editorial Review

Back in the old days, one could only dream to live a better life than that of his or her parents. But today, there’s no limit to what one can do. When our basic needs from food, shelter and security are met, we start to dream bigger. Not only do we want jobs that will give us financial stability, but we want jobs that will add meaning and value to our lives. And to get what we want, we need more than basic education. Teachers can blame parents for sending their tired, undisciplined and phone-addicted children to school. Parents can blame teachers for not paying enough attention to the kids and for lowering their standards. And everyone can blame the government for not spending enough on education and for not providing less fortunate children with a proper learning environment. But what if, instead of wasting our time throwing blame, we turn toward the problem itself and try to find a solution.   This summary of Prepared is a guidebook for how to prepare children for college, career and life.

Book Reviews

“Preparedis the conversation we should be having as a nation. Diane Tavenner shows us how authentic, real-world learning and the essential skills of self-direction, collaboration, and reflection can be nurtured both inside and outside of the classroom, giving all parents a valuable guide for helping their children to successfully take on life's challenges.”

“Preparedtackles the question so many of us parents and educators are grappling with—how do we grow and develop our children and young people so that they can shape a better future for themselves and for all of us?This immensely readable book pulls us along through Diane’s story as a student, parent, and educator who has built some of the most acclaimed schools in the world. It serves as a powerful resource for all of us.”

"In a world filled with lots of parenting advice,Preparedcuts through the noise, offering a no-nonsense guide for raising curious, confident kids. Diane shares the secret sauce behind Summit’s success and how we can make sure that all kids can have the same opportunity."

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Wisdom to Share

When we enable kids to follow their curiosities and interests, they learn much more. As they learn much more, they get better at learning. It becomes a virtuous cycle.

It’s one thing to love it, and another to be willing to fight for it.

While the basic idea of learning from failure is supported by evidence, the sink-or-swim method doesn’t really work. Failing is only productive when two things are true: first, the person who fails actually learns something from it and is thus motivated to try again; and second, the failure doesn’t permanently close future doors.

Our communities need adults who, when they encounter a complex moral issue, have the decision-making skills to contemplate both sides, apply different types of reasoning, and question assumptions.

Simply put, mastery is when you become good at something, autonomy is when you have some measure of control, and purpose is when you’re doing something for a reason that is authentic to you.

The best way to get her kids accepted to selective schools was to help them develop their sense of purpose and to really understand who they were as unique individuals.

I can tell you from personal experience, anyone who has ever been poor knows no one wants to be poor. When you are poor, your entire life is about surviving and trying to get yourself, or at least your kids, out of poverty.

I’ve learned in mentoring. I never ask, “What do you want to be?” or “What is your favorite subject?” Rather, I ask, “What do you like doing?” “What parts of that do you like most?”

Collaboration requires real-world opportunities, and also self-direction, because you cannot be an effective collaborator if you’re not self-directed.

It’s not that students don’t learn about the industrial revolution or life cycles — they do. But they learn about them through a project that makes the connection to their life, and gives them the space to problem-solve.