Thursday, November 24, 2005

Learning Success

Good morning, Future World Heroes and Heroines!

Are you feeling motivated this morning? I certainly hope so. I know that I am!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Imagine a billionaire is trying to select a high school for her or his youngster. By donating a building or two, admission should be no problem. But what can the billionaire expect the youngster will gain from the experience?

The billionaire isn't worried about the youngster getting into college. Another building or two can take care of that issue.

Chances are the billionaire is hoping for some reading, writing and math improvements . . . and a protected environment from the publicity that often surrounds the families of the rich and famous.

Now, imagine that you are a ghetto family that's just hanging on. You also want those same improvements for your youngster, the chance for a better life following the education and freedom from gangs.

You normally wouldn't think that a billionaire and such a ghetto family could team up . . . but that's just what's happening now across America on this Thanksgiving day. For this, I am very grateful.

I began to learn about this unique partnership when I attended a summit meeting on innovation last month in Providence, Rhode Island. During the summit, I heard from and spoke with Dennis 'Doc' Littky who is the director of The Metropolitan Regional Career and Technical Center in south Providence (The Met). He brought along more than 30 of his high school students, and I was wowed by them! While still in high school, these energetic talented youngsters are focused on internships that help them determine and develop their career interests while building their skills within the context of those internships. One student is studying to be a homicide detective so she can help stop crime in her neighborhood. Another wants to establish a national chain of beauty salons. I think of this process as moving the student ahead into the adult world with an incentive to pursue their dreams. I wanted to become a high school student again!

Dennis invited a few of us to join him for half a day last week at the school. I was even more impressed. A hundred youngsters in grades 9-12 are in each school, and there are four on the campus and two other schools located elsewhere in Providence. Students spend two days a week off campus working on their projects and three days back on campus preparing to go back to work. They have advisors, great facilities and wonderful resources. The school's support structure and facilities are superior to what my younger daughter enjoyed at our state's most elite public high school and my younger son enjoyed at our state's most elite private high school. They would have learned more at The Met!

Where do these students come from? They are randomly selected by a drawing from among those who would like to attend. Most are poor and live in Providence. More than 80 percent qualify for Federal meal funds.

How do they do? In 2004, 94 percent graduated from high school compared to an average of 57 percent for all Providence public schools. Most impressively, every graduate was accepted into college. Think of that!

Educators from all around the world come to visit The Met. It's sparking a revolution in teaching and learning. You can read more about the organization at

Having heard about The Met's innovative and successful approach, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation provided $5 million in seed money to establish 35 pilot high schools like these in the most depressed urban environments around the U.S. Most of those schools are now open and the rest will be soon. That's a remarkable accomplishment because the funding was a lot less than what was actually needed. Dennis and his team made it work anyway. Kudos to the Gates and to The Met!

Now, if that isn't something to be thankful for on Thanksgiving, I don't know what is.

I wanted to share this story with you because it exemplifies my philosophy that it doesn't take money to live better than a billionaire and to be a world hero or heroine. . . it just takes good thinking and commitment. Hail to Dennis Littky and his co-founder Elliot Washor for thier fine work!

How could a billionaire do better?

I see one opportunity. A billionaire could encourage parallel innovations. For instance, grants could be offered to create the pre-school, elementary and middle school versions of The Met. In addition, a college version could be established.

Donald Trump, are you reading?


N.B. As you can tell, I'm experimenting with color. Let me know what you like and what I should change about my use of color. Many thanks to Linda Grace for her suggestions which I am following!

Please let me know what else you would like to learn, and I'll do my best to help in future blog entries.

Thanks so much for your support of this blog. I'm delighted that so many tens of thousands of people have made this blog part of their regular reading habit!

If you like this blog, please let others know who might also enjoy it. E-mailing your favorite post to them is a great idea.

Thank you to my many friends, students, clients and blog readers who are spreading the good word about this blog.

If you are visiting today because someone invited you, I'm delighted to meet you! Let's stay in touch.

Remember to also visit

Live Spiritually Better than a Billionaire at,

Be More Successful than a Billionaire at,

Create Your Own 2,000 Percent Solutions at,

Enjoy Mansions Better than a Billionaire at, and

Enjoy Football Better than a Billionaire at

I am available to you as a speaker on these subjects. You can find my background at

May God bless you.

Donald W. Mitchell, Your Dream Concierge

Copyright 2005 Donald W. Mitchell