A Parent's Perspective: Justine

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A Parent's Perspective: Justine

February 9, 2021 |Personalized Learning, Self-Efficacy, Self-Reflection

As educators, we often wonder about the longevity of impact we have on our students. Are the relationships we build with learners today resulting in increased motivation and self-efficacy that is evident years from now? Do learners leave our classroom more prepared to identify what is important to them and chart a path to achieving their goals? Are they better able to navigate social interactions, and have they developed the self-awareness to make life-long healthy choices? 


Every now and then, a former student or guardian helps us answer some of these questions when they reach out to share how their journey has continued beyond our direct sphere of influence. These reflections mean the world to educators. They reassure us that the work we do matters.


We are no different at MARIO. We wonder about families after they have graduated or moved on from our classrooms. We also crave understanding around the longitudinal effects of our work together. In fact, the M in MARIO is all about measuring the efficacy of our instruction. Without this self-reflective component, we have no idea if the evidence-based approaches we are implementing are working for individual learners.


MARIO is fortunate that we now have a six-year retrospective study, in its final phases, which sheds some extremely positive light on the impact of our Framework and Approach. However, we also still share that desire to hear stories from individuals about the lasting influences of their participation in MARIO. We regularly ask ourselves, are we making a difference?


Thankfully, we get remarkable emails and messages from former learners and their parents all the time. At the start of this year, one such email arrived in our inbox from a former parent, Justine. Her twins engaged in the MARIO Framework throughout their high school years and as Justine shared, are now thriving in large part because of the time they spent in Philip Bowman’s classroom. 


COVID-era restrictions have made it impossible for Justine to visit her twins in person. They have been living on separate continents for over a year, and as hard as it has been for the family, an affirming observation began surfacing for Justine during this time of separation. 


“I think being apart has fast tracked them into adulting. Without any relatives nearby and no Mama Bear hand-holding or interventions, they have had to go it solo. From negotiating apartment leases to filing car insurance claims, handling ER visits, getting drivers licenses, and voting, they are managing it all on their own.”


Knowing that one’s children are able to cope with what life throws at them, independent of their parental supports, is gratifying. Justine went further in her email though. She recognized and outlined traits her children were exhibiting that she knew developed during their high school years through their work in the MARIO classroom.


“I can attest to the effectiveness of what was implemented in their one-on-one sessions and conferences. My children received personalized, bespoke attention curated to their specific needs. They are applying the tools they learned in their college setting. My children are self-reliant and independently managing their lives and their education. I am witnessing the application of their self-advocacy and self-directing skills.”


MARIO is rooted in research. By informing our practice with the best interdisciplinary scientific insights, and training educators how to leverage the highest-impact learning strategies, we aim to create learning that lasts. Justine’s children have been able to transfer the strategies and tools they developed in their MARIO classes to their current situations. 


“My son is making the Dean’s list and both are achieving academically in their courses. They are motivated in their learning as well as in their personal endeavors. From designing a streetwear brand which is already turning a profit to regularly booking lucrative influencer gigs, both of my children are thriving and balancing the competing responsibilities of college and a social life. I am thankful they had a passionate, dedicated, and empathetic Learning Support teacher guiding them through high school.”


For Justine, the fact that her children are embracing full and active academic and entrepreneurial lives motivated her to articulate the correlation she sees between the skill sets they employ now and the learning they did within their MARIO classroom. We are each the sum of all of our experiences, mentors, challenges, and celebrations. We feel honored that MARIO had, and continues to have, an impact on the development of these two phenomenal people.


Thank you, Justine, for reaching out to describe how the time your children spent in a MARIO classroom supported their ability to mature into self-directed learners who positively contribute to their communities. It is humbling and reaffirms our purpose.

Yours in learning,

The MARIO Team



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