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Meet Dr. Barton and Mrs. Scheck of Chance to Soar

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dr. Barton and Mrs. Scheck.

Dr. Barton and Mrs. Scheck, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
We stumbled upon a children’s book titled What Do You Do with a Chance? By Kobi Yamada that speaks so sweetly to that idea and ended up inspiring the name of the organization. It is the story of a little boy who notices a “chance” come into his life. He reaches out to grab it but stumbles. Feeling embarrassed, he becomes more hesitant as other chances come along.

As he watches his chances come and go, he notices that they become fewer and fewer, so he decides that the next time a chance comes along, he will find the bravery needed to reach out and grab it. The chance that comes for him next is a big one, he reaches out, grabs on and sets off on a magical journey. He says, “It felt so good to soar, to fly, to be free!” The author does such a great job of leaving the “chance” as an undefined thing—it could be anything. That is an idea that we wanted to pass on to students of all ages-you never know where an opportunity will lead, but it will only lead somewhere if you are brave enough to take the journey and find out. The world is full of limitless possibility for those that are willing to take the chance and discover them.

Providing students with more opportunities to learn, more inspiring experiences to add to their life picture, and more tools to use on their path to success are only part of what we need to give to students. We also teach them how to be bold enough and brave enough to reach out and grab an opportunity when it comes along. So many students like to stay in their own comfort zone or fear the consequences of failure that they let opportunities go by, opting instead to play it safe. Teaching students that learning and growing involves taking risks is a key to Chance to Soar’s philosophy.

As career educators, we recognize that an exemplary school environment is critical to student success, so we have committed ourselves to and worked with schools to create opportunities for students. We customize our educational coaching by working with administrators and teachers to create outstanding classroom environments that inspire students to dream big goals and start working toward them.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
While this organization is relatively new, it has been in the making for years. As educators, we were skilled at delivering lessons to students, but when it came to starting a new organization, we had to put ourselves in the seat of the student. There has been much to learn about the legal process of starting a 501c3 organization and all the ins and outs of starting and running a business. Besides all the new skills to learn, we were maintaining our roles as educators, working with students and families, which often took priority over bringing our own dream to life. We are thrilled to see this goal being reached for ourselves and blessed to be able to inspire students to set their own goals and chase their own dreams.

Please tell us about Chance to Soar.
Our specialty is creating engaging classrooms that thrive on research-driven instructional strategies. At the heart of our program, we have four key concepts that we believe create greater opportunities for students. 1. Students excel when they relationships that matter such as those built within a positive classroom community. 2. Students achieve more and achieve it faster when they work from their natural strengths and can connect their efforts to their core values. 3. Students need to be equipped with goal-setting strategies, organizational skills, and planning tools. 4. Students feel valuable when they use their skills, talents, and knowledge to serve others.

With these key concepts in mind, Chance to Soar provides customized educational coaching for schools, works with schools to strengthen the written and assessed curriculum, and provides professional development for teachers.

We also provide unique opportunities for students. Students can apply on our website, chancetosoar.org, to be granted a “chance.” Whether it is to learn a unique skill or work with a mentor in a field they are interested in pursuing, the possibilities are only as limited as a students imagination. Students can tell us about the goal they have, an idea that would help them reach it, and Chance to Soar chooses some of those opportunities to bring to life.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
One of my favorite childhood memories is sitting on the driveway at my grandparent’s house watching my father and grandfather take turns cranking the handle on the old-fashioned, home-made ice cream maker on 4th of July, anticipating the delicious treat and playing with sparklers while we waited.

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