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Experts, youth to discuss teen health, engagement with learning

September 21, 2010
School of Education News
Best-selling author Wendy Mogel will join Challenge Success co-founders at a free plenary discussion on Oct. 15

Contact: Maureen Brown, Challenge Success, 650.723.9250,

Comment: Denise Clark Pope, PhD, Stanford University School of Education, 650.224.8297,

Wendy Mogel

STANFORD, CA – Parents, youth, educators, and community members are invited to register for a free plenary discussion on strategies for improving teen health and engagement with learning on Friday, October 15 at 7 p.m. at Stanford University’s Memorial Auditorium. New York Times best-selling author Wendy Mogel will provide the keynote address. The plenary discussion kicks off a conference titled “Walking the Talk: Aligning Actions and Values for Youth Well-Being,” sponsored by Challenge Success.

Mogel will join Challenge Success co-founders Denise Clark Pope, Madeline Levine, and Jim Lobdell, and local students to discuss ways to foster emotionally healthy, balanced teens in a high-stakes, high-pressure world. Mogel is author of the best-selling parenting book, The Blessing of a Skinned Knee (2001), and an internationally known clinical psychologist and public speaker. Her soon-to-be-released book, The Blessing of a B Minus, will be published by Scribner on October 12.  Pope is a Stanford education senior lecturer and author of Doing School: How We Are Creating a Generation of Stressed Out, Materialistic and Miseducated Students (2001); Levine is a clinical psychologist and author of the best-selling book, The Price of Privilege (2006); and, Lobdell is an educational consultant and co-founder of Teachers’ Curriculum Institute, the nation’s most innovative publisher of K-12 social studies curriculum.

The discussion launches a conference on October 16 at Stanford University designed to broaden the rigid notion of success based on high grades and test scores and acceptance into prestigious schools. To contend with the pressure for high achievement, adolescents are often compromising their mental and physical health, personal values, and commitment to learning. Many educators, mental health professionals, and business leaders have also expressed concern that this narrow definition of success is leaving young people without the skills to adapt, interact, and collaborate in a rapidly changing world.

On October 16, a selected number of middle school and high school teams composed of students, teachers, parents, administrators, and counselors from the Bay Area, Los Angeles, Dallas, Miami, and Philadelphia will participate in workshops designed for schools to develop strategies to reduce academic stress and increase engagement with learning.

School teams of six to eight stakeholders (including the principal and at least one teacher, one parent, one counselor, and two students) were invited last spring to submit an application to participate in the Saturday conference. The teams will attend a Friday night reception before the public plenary. In addition to participating in the Saturday workshops, each team will receive a Stanford “coach” who will offer guidance to the school for several months following the conference as the team continues to develop plans to improve school policies and practices. School teams then re-convene next spring to assess the strategies that have been implemented and to discuss plans for the future. This year, 11 new school groups will join 10 returning groups at the conference.

The conference is sponsored by Challenge Success, an organization formed in 2007 that grew out of the highly successful Stressed-Out Students Project at Stanford University. Founded on the belief that real success results from attention to the basic development needs of children and a valuing of different types of skills and abilities, Challenge Success seeks to inform, inspire, and equip youth, parents, and schools to adopt practices to expand options for youth success. Additional sponsors from Stanford University include the School of Education, Office for Religious Life, Wellness and Health Promotion Services, and Undergraduate Advising and Research.

Members of the public interested in attending the plenary session are required to RSVP. To RSVP or to learn more, visit


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