February 2015

Indigo Points High School Seniors to College Fits

Indigo Points High School Seniors to College Fits

February 26th 2015, Written by Marie Campbell

“Have any of you ever been told you should be something?” Heather Clark of the Indigo Education Company asked a room of 12th grade students. The group responded with a resounding “Yes!”

As part of a large-scale implementation funded by the Colorado Department of Education, the Indigo Education Company conducted an all-day training for high school Seniors this Monday at Peak to Peak Charter School in Lafayette, CO. The students had already completed their Indigo Assessments online, and Monday’s training walked them through the major sections of their Indigo Reports.

Clark, one of four Indigo trainers, asked students to share expectations other people may have placed on them. Students shouted their responses:

“I should be less lazy!”

“I should be quieter.”

“I should be a lawyer.”

Clark encouraged students to write a list of “shoulds” imposed on them by society, parents, teachers, etc. Then she pointed students to their Indigo results. “These pages have the puzzle pieces of you who are, how you think, how you interact with people, and your top skills. At Indigo, we’re here to tell you that the only thing you should be is … yourself!”

Clark divided students into six groups based on their top Motivators, as measured by the Indigo Assessment. Students discussed how their Motivators could affect their choice of college major. Next, Clark divided students according to their DISC scores, which explain the four major Behavioral Styles: Dominance, Influencing, Steadiness, and Compliance/Conscientiousness. Students were encouraged to seek college professors who would support their unique methods of communicating. For instance, students scoring high on the Influencing scale tend to be talkative, optimistic, and friendly.

“Does this describe you?” Clark asked a group of high-I students.

They responded with laughter. “Not at all,” one girl joked.

In general, Influencers need to process ideas through other people and tend to be highly social. The Indigo team urged these high-I students to find college professors who prioritize class discussions and encourage verbal responses.

“In college, it’s like you have a super power,” Rachel Thor, Indigo Curriculum Designer and Workshop Trainer, told students. “You get to pick which classes and professors fit you best.” Many students expressed surprise; they hadn’t realized they could choose professors that teach to their unique learning styles.

Throughout the day, Indigo members stressed the idea that there is no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ when it comes to your personality blueprint. All temperament types can have an impact when they work from their strengths. At the end of each training, Clark asked students to write a new list of “shoulds” for themselves—“But this time,” she said, “make sure your ‘shoulds’ fit who you truly are.”

A student scoring high in the Aesthetic Motivator wrote, “I should spend more time in nature.” A passionate Theoretical—motivated by knowledge and truth—added that she “should continue to learn new things.”

One Peak to Peak Senior, Zacahary Nix, expressed his gratitude for the Indigo Assessment: “It’s helping me communicate with my classmates on a deeper level,” he said excitedly. Zach explained that he has been paying attention to his classmates’ Indigo Reports and discovering how they may think or communicate differently than he does.

Indigo will continue working with Peak to Peak in the months to come, helping students and teachers incorporate who they really are into all aspects of their education. To learn more about Indigo’s work with high schools and colleges around the nation, click here.

Charter School Awarded Grant for Suicide Prevention

Charter School Awarded Grant for Suicide Prevention

January 22nd 2015, Written by Marie Campbell

Peak to Peak High School partners with The Indigo Project, iTHRIVE, and safeTALK to implement school-wide student empowerment program 

A grant provided by the Colorado Department of Education has been awarded to Peak to Peak Charter High School for the purpose of improving students’ social-emotional wellbeing. The grant money will provide data from The Indigo Education Company, including assessment tools, school-wide trainings, and detailed curriculum changes, to increase the overall effectiveness of School Health Professionals (SHP), specifically in the areas of substance abuse and suicide prevention. The program will be a combined effort of Peak to Peak, The Indigo Education Company, and two local partners specializing in substance abuse and suicide prevention: iTHRIVE and ASIST/safeTALK (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training/Suicide Alertness for Everyone).

Ranked as the #1 public school in Colorado and top 100 in the nation, Peak to Peak High School is aggressive in implementing innovative approaches to social-emotional health.  With this grant, Peak to Peak looks forward to benefitting the entire student body rather than focusing solely on students currently considered at-risk. “Prevention is the key,” says lead guidance counselor Kimberly Gannett. “We believe that integrating positive mental health messages and self awareness into everything we do will increase the overall social-emotional health of every student.” To address the issues of substance abuse and suicide awareness/prevention, administrators are incorporating the Indigo Assessment’s data report into preexisting 9th through 12th grade curriculum. The goal is to better understand the current state of the student body and to encourage students to talk about themselves and the problems they face. Assistant Principal and 9th grade English teacher at Peak to Peak, Clara Quinlan, has already seen positive results. She says, “Many of my freshmen reported feeling empowered and understood for the first time. They often use the language from this tool as they learn to self-advocate and set reasonable and attainable goals. I now consider the Indigo Assessment an indispensable tool in my curriculum.”

From January through May of 2015, the Indigo Education Company will provide Peak to Peak with student data analytics reflecting social-emotional trends school-wide and highlighting at-risk students. Indigo will also track growth patterns of key, non-academic indicators such as resiliency, self-esteem, and sense of belonging, measuring the effectiveness of new curriculum. Principal of Peak to Peak Kyle Matthews says, “We are looking forward to using this information to better train our staff. Knowing how students think about stress, substance abuse, and suicide, we can build systems that stem challenges before they arise.”

Indigo’s data-collection tool (the Indigo Assessment) and accompanying algorithms were created by Target Training International (TTI), a leader in assessment technologies worldwide. TTI has been applying brain and social science to the corporate world for over 30 years, analyzing top leaders of fortune 500 companies in 90 countries and 40 languages. Today, their methods extend to the education system through the efforts of Indigo Education Company. One of the four sciences applied in the Indigo Assessment has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

This is not the first time Peak to Peak has teamed up with Indigo. Looking back on smaller pilot implementations from 2013 and 2014, Matthews states, “Using Indigo has transformed how we see and work with our students.  While we have always focused on supporting students’ passions and areas of strength, Indigo provides deep insights into how students communicate and thrive in a given learning environment.  As a result, our students, families and staff are finally speaking the same language about learning needs and maximizing academic and social-emotional connections in our community.”

About the Indigo Education Company

The Indigo Education Company is committed to promoting college and career preparedness in high schools nationwide, through the integration of 21st century soft skills. Indigo provides personalized research and data analysis, comprehensive trainings, and long-term curriculum development to ensure students are equipped for success in college and beyond. Indigo believes strongly in the potential of every student, seeking to guide them into college and career paths aligning with their natural strengths. The Indigo Foundation, a Colorado 501c and affiliate of the Indigo Education Company, is actively involved with implementations for schools and students in need.  To learn more, visit www.IndigoProject.org.

Indigo CEO Sheri Smith Honored with Research Partner Award

Indigo CEO Sheri Smith Honored with Research Partner Award

February 23rd 2015, Written by Marie Campbell

Indigo Project Recognized for Efforts to Revolutionize Education System

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Jan. 16, 2015 – TTI Success Insights (TTI SI) is pleased to award Sheri Smith of  the Indigo Education Company with its 2014 Research Partner of the Year Award for demonstrated excellence in research during the past year into human behavior and motivation amongst college-bound students for future career planning.

Smith, whose social enterprise is based in Boulder, Colo., received the top honor Jan. 10 duringTTISICon 2015, TTI SI’s annual conference at the We-Ko-Pa Resort & Conference Center inScottsdale. More than 400 TTI SI network members gathered Jan. 9-12 to honor top performers and celebrate successes and innovation in business.

TTI SI Chairman and Founder Bill J. Bonnstetter and TTI SI Senior Vice President of Research and Development Ron Bonnstetter, Ph.D., presented the top honor to Smith. The Research Partner of the Year Award recognizes a leader within the Value Added Associate (VAA) network who has enriched lives, institutions and/or organizations with their collaboration and partnership with TTI SI to uncover new insights and discoveries into the human condition.

In 2014, Smith collaborated with TTI SI to launch the Indigo Project, a venture designed to empower young people to make the learning process more personalized and better aligned with future career planning.

One goal of the continuing Indigo Project is to create a searchable database of at least 100 alternative higher education options from across the nation, categorized by an individual’s motivational style, where students can best excel based on their top inherent skills. Both traditional and non-traditional institutions will be included.

“Sheri’s dynamism to bring about change in the 21st century education model has been nothing short of spectacular,” Ron Bonnstetter said. “I’ve been thrilled to work with Sheri during the past year through an assessment-based approach and appreciate her willingness to include TTI SI in this venture. I see nothing but great things ahead for a sharp-minded leader like Sheri.”

“Working directly with Dr. Ron Bonnstetter and the TTI SI team has been wonderful. The Indigo Project wouldn’t be what it is without TTI SI’s steadfast support and investment,” Smith said. “I’m honored to receive this award and feel truly honored to partner with a category leader in the field of assessments and talent management.”

TTISICon 2015 marked TTI SI’s 26th annual conference – and it’s the largest gathering yet. Next year’s conference will take place Jan. 8-10, 2016, at The Scottsdale Plaza Resort.

About TTI Success Insights

TTI Success Insights believes all people are unique and have talents and skills of which they are often unaware. We exist to reveal and harness these talents, using the Science of Self™. For over 30 years, we have researched and applied social and brain science, creating assessment solutions consultants in 90 countries and 40 languages used to hire, develop and retain the best talent in the world. With a tenacious, innovative culture, we transform potential to productivity, performance and profits. Every 27 seconds, someone is taking a TTI SI assessment to increase their self-awareness and grow their career. For more information, visit www.ttisi.com and @TTI_SI.

Indigo’s Pick for ACT Prep

Indigo’s Pick for ACT Prep

February 19th 2015, Written by Jahla Seppanen

For high school students with college on their minds, springtime means one thing: SAT/ACT season. This can also make spring a time of stress for many students, as they worry about test-taking strategies, scores, and the weight standardized testing has on their future academic careers.

Indigo is here to remind students that success is possible, and there are tools that can help. This week we are spotlighting Magoosh’s new ACT Blog, a resource for student guidance compiled from Magoosh’s best test-prep advice. 

If you are a student preparing for the ACT or a parent helping your child through the process, you probably know that the key to success is using the right resources. Now, before you randomly search the net for whatever free resource is out there, slow down a bit—Indigo has done the hard work for you. You can find plenty of thorough (and free!) ACT prep material on Magoosh’s ACT blog, including pre-made study schedules, tips for tackling each individual section of the test (math, reading, science, writing, and English), and tried-and-true strategies that will improve your score.

Before letting negative self-talk get the best of you, visit Magoosh’s ACT Blog and gain confidence in your ability to rock the test!

Magoosh is an online resource for GRE, GMAT, SAT, and TOEFL prep. Magoosh was founded on the belief that test prep should not be expensive, inconvenient, or outdated. For more information visit them online at magoosh.com.

Peak to Peak Juniors Learn to Follow Their Passions

Peak to Peak Juniors Learn to Follow Their Passions

February 13th 2015, Written by Marie Campbell


“Don’t ask what the world needs. Instead, ask what makes you come alive, and go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” – Howard Thurman

Peak to Peak Charter School in Lafayette, CO recently administered the Indigo Assessment to all high school students and faculty. Early this week, Indigo staff led an all-day workshop for 11th grade students, using individual Assessment results to help guide students into college programs well suited to their unique passions and learning styles.

“When have you felt most alive?” Rachel Thor, Indigo team member in charge of curriculum development, asked every 11th grade class. This question forms the core of Indigo’s mission and serves as a guiding light for students heading toward adulthood. Thor asked students to consider a moment in their lives when they felt completely alive and full of energy. The Indigo Assessment, she explained, is a way to “unpack the reasons behind what made that moment so special to you” and apply that knowledge to life.

At Peak to Peak, 11th grade is the age when students begin the college application process. For many, this is a daunting step. Thor asked one class of nine students, “How many of you think this whole college application thing is a breeze, and you’re not stressed about it at all? Raise your hands.” No one responded; the room was still. Thor smiled. “And how many of you are nervous?” Tentative hands went up.

Thor explained that, while many students fear the application process, college offers a remarkable opportunity to personalize education. “You get to choose how, what, and where you want to learn. All you need to know is: what matters most to you, and how do you learn best?” That’s where the Indigo Assessment comes in. Thor walked students step by step through their Assessment results, explaining their unique Behavioral Styles, Motivators, and Personal Skills.

One student, Bradley, shows high scores in the Individualistic and Utilitarian motivators, which means that he seeks to have control over his destiny and desires a return on investments. Thor asked him to share a moment of aliveness, and he started to laugh. “Starting a business with my friends and investing in the stock market,” Bradley answered. A female classmate chimed in with her assessment of Bradley: “It’s like, exactly right!”

Jahla Seppanen, Indigo Communications Manager, encouraged Bradley to “ask colleges, when you go to interviews, how many of their graduates get jobs.” For a passionate Utilitarian, “You want to make sure that the degree you get is going to be worth the money.”

Another female classmate has a high Influencing score for her Behavioral Style. High “I”s tend to be outgoing and people-oriented. This Peak to Peak Junior confirmed, “I’m always the one taking charge and talking.” Indigo members encouraged her to seek a community-oriented university where professors promote group discussion.

Throughout each workshop, Thor stressed the fact that, with the Assessment, there are no right or wrong answers. “This is the blueprint of who you are, and the world needs all of these people in different places.” Peak to Peak will continue to integrate Indigo with existing curricula, contributing to school-wide student empowerment and guiding students toward a life of fulfillment.

The Indigo Education Company is currently working with six high schools to help integrate customized non-academic data with existing academic curricula. To learn more, click here.


Teachers Learn to Adapt to Student Strengths

Teachers Learn to Adapt to Student Strengths

February 6th 2015, Written by Marie Campbell

Thanks to a recent grant, Peak to Peak high school in Lafayette has now administered the Indigo Assessment to all students and faculty. In order to begin integrating Indigo’s data with day-to-day classes, 25 teachers gathered Friday morning to learn what the Assessment means for their students. Sheri Smith, founder and CEO of Indigo, led the training session.

“Indigo focuses on strengths,” Smith told teachers. “You want to be in an environment where you are most natural.” For high school students considering college and career, that means choosing a path that fits their behavioral styles and feeds their innate motivators. For educators, that means tailoring any given classroom to appeal to the unique learning styles of their students.

Smith walked teachers step-by-step through their own Assessment results, describing each of the four behavioral styles: Dominance, Influencing, Steadiness, and Compliance (DISC). Across the board, students and faculty at Peak to Peak rank high in Influencing (positivity/enthusiasm) and Steadiness (stability/reliability).

As Smith was explaining the six motivators that drive students to learn, one teacher raised her hand. Carolyn Mckee, a science teacher, wanted to know how this information could apply to teachers as well as students. “I see how understanding my students’ motivators can help me reach them, but what about with my colleagues?” Mckee inquired. “Would this help me understand them?” The answer was an immediate “Yes!”

Smith affirmed that understanding how those around you see the world helps anyone interact successfully and harmoniously, whether students or faculty.

To illustrate, Smith asked teachers with high Steadiness scores to raise their hands. Nearly all Peak to Peak teachers responded. Then, Smith asked if anyone scored high in Dominance. Only a few responded. Smith encouraged the dominant personalities—the movers and shakers—to be respectful of the steady folk who don’t respond well to change. “Don’t make changes overnight! High ‘steady’s won’t be too happy!” The room rippled with laughter; heads nodded. They had experienced this confrontation before.

Smith then asked teachers to consider the different behavioral styles of their students. “What are some ways you can adjust your teaching styles to fit students whose styles might be opposite of yours?” Josh Benson, a teacher of multiple subjects at Peak to Peak including Literature and Composition, offered an example.

Benson has a relaxed teaching style, but in order to reach students with high Compliance scores (those who need structure and care about rules), he wants to provide stability. “I need to be good about posting assignments on the website,” Benson said, “because [students with high Compliance] need to know [. . .] what’s going to happen three weeks from now.”

When it comes to successful communication, respect is key. Indigo is founded on the idea that no one behavioral style is better or worse than any other; students simply need to know how to work from their strengths. “You’re not trying to change your kids,” Smith asserted. “You’re trying to see the world through their lens.” As students and teachers learn to adapt to one another’s varied styles, Peak to Peak hopes to increase student learning and foster a cooperative school environment.

Indigo is currently working with six high schools to help integrate non-academic data with existing academic curricula.

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