Top 20 Thinking – Pursue the Positive!

Have you heard about Top 20?
Are you creating habits that “Pursue the Positive”?

Fairmont Area Schools have been working hard to connect the schools and community together to build a positive culture for students, parents, and community members. We use four community wide themes throughout this year that help to bring everyone together. Our Top 20 community wide themes for the year are as follows:

Sept-Oct =Help Others Succeed
Nov-Jan =You Matter
Feb-March =Honor the Absent
April-May = See the problem, own the problem

top_20_thinkingHowever, the first thing to know is the overriding theme to all of the Top 20 thinking, learning, and communicating (TLC) is to “Live Above the Line.” So what does that mean?

Life looks different from above or below the line.

Above the Line is a positive view of life and how you see the world. Your thinking is in your best interest. Energetic moods and emotions = Positive attitudes. True beliefs, hopefulness, optimism, and power to control one’s life are a few of the attributes you use in your thinking and communication to others.

Below the Line is a negative view on life and how you see the world. Your thinking is not in your best interest. Depressing moods and emotions = Feelings of sadness and anger. Negative attitudes, false beliefs, hopelessness, pessimism, and powerless victim of life are the attributes that contribute to your thinking and communication to others.

In the Top 20 Culture, people still visit below the line, they just learn ways to get above the line more quickly. And that is what we hope to build in our community

The first community wide theme of ours is to “Help Others Succeed.” When young people and adults come together and act as a team, everyone can do better. Our thinking shifts from a me mentality to a we mentality. A team is capable of accomplishing far more than a collection of individuals. This is not about doing someone else’s job; it’s about being a part of helping to create a safe and positive culture where everyone can do their best. Our #1 job as a school community is to function as a team: teachers, students, support staff, administrators, parents, coaches, and school board. “A team is a group of people who help each other succeed in order to achieve important goals.” (Top 20, Bernabei, Sweeney, Cody) At Fairmont Area Schools, our goal is to educate young people so they will be contributing members of society when they graduate. If we practice the habit of helping others succeed, then everyone in our school community would know that everyone else is helping him/her succeed and the potential within our school would explode!

All of these habits come from the book: Top 20 Teachers by Paul Bernabei, Tom Cody, Willow Sweeney, Mary Cole, and Michael Cole.

Are you interested in bringing Top 20 to your school? There will be a focus session at MESPA Institute 2017! Find out more and register at

Article by:
Michelle Rosen, principal
Fairmont Elementary
Fairmont Area Schools
Twitter: @mrosen31

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