What is A Disciplined Life®?

Well before the value of social emotional learning became widely recognized in 2003, Perspectives Co-Founders Diana Shulla-Cose and Kim Day had already realized how critical this kind of learning was to their students' success. Fifteen years ago, they embraced the idea that social emotional learning would be an integral part of the Perspectives education model. They understood that the right foundation would help them provide children with safe, caring and well-managed learning environments. 

Believing that character development and academic achievement are interdependent, they began brainstorming ideas for creating a school culture of both personal and academic excellence. They knew that providing their students with instruction in life skills, such as self-discipline, perseverance and good communication, would help them succeed. Together, they identified a set of principles that would guide Perspectives and called them A Disciplined Life.

Social emotional learning standards have since been developed in accordance with Section 15(a) of Public Act 93-0495. This Act calls upon the Illinois State Board of Education to "develop and implement a plan to incorporate social and emotional development standards as part of the Illinois Learning Standards." Since the day Perspectives opened the doors to its first school, A Disciplined Life® has been in place, helping our students to succeed. 

Today, the 26 principles of A Disciplined Life form the foundation of our culture at Perspectives Charter Schools and help prepare our students for success in college, the workplace and in life. Over time, A Disciplined Life has become integral to every aspect of Perspectives, informing our behavior, communication and productivity, while being cornerstone for our curriculum and professional development. It serves as a common language for our students, staff and parents as we work to achieve a culture of success.

A Disciplined Life translates into success for our students. Every year, nearly 99 percent of Perspectives graduates are accepted to college, and they persist in college at a rate above the national average for all students. They have learned what it takes to succeed and understand that character, self-discipline and personal responsibility can change what the future holds for them. 

We integrate the principles of A Disciplined Life in all aspects of our school community. From the classroom to the playground, from the front office to staff meetings – it is our common language and practice. A Disciplined Life ensures that we are focused and intentional about creating a culture of success for our students and we have recently begun developing assessments to measure impact. 

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