The only place that achievement comes before effort is in the dictionary.

     When it comes to success in any endeavor, it has always been my contention that hard work pays off more than anything.  This idea has come to be my belief through personal experience and from being a teacher for many years.  I recently read an insightful book that validates my theory: Outliers: The Story of Success, by Malcolm Gladwell
     Quoting from the back cover of the book provides the best insight as to the content within: “Malcolm Gladwell examines everyone from business giants to scientific geniuses, sports stars to musicians, and reveals what they have in common.  He looks behind the spectacular results, the myths and the legends to show what really explains exceptionally successful people.”  Most of what follows has been paraphrased from sections of the book.
     Innate talent does exist, but it is not the most important attribute of the most successful people.  As a matter of fact the closer successful people are investigated the smaller the part talent seems to play.  Multiple studies keep coming to the same conclusion: “Excellence at performing a complex task requires a critical minimal level of practice.”  None of the studies found “naturals,” or people who floated to the top of their chosen fields while giving less effort than their peers.  They also found no “grinds,” or people who outworked their peers and failed to break into the top ranks.  And the people at the very top don’t just work harder, or much harder than others; they work much, much harder.
     Please don’t think that I am advancing the notion that your son needs to spend every waking moment studying/practicing math skills.  What I am saying is that all students who meet the requirements for placement in Algebra I Pre-AP can be successful if they work hard in class, and if they do their best on math practice (homework).  And that achievement will be elusive for those who are not serious students. 
     I promise that I will do everything that I can to help your son master the skills in Pre-AP Algebra, but his level of success is more dependant on what he does toward that end than what I do.  Algebra I Pre-AP is designed to challenge every student in the class.  That is the reason that this class is leveled by ability; however, ability is not enough to ensure success.  What is required for success is what I call being P.A.C.E.D.  Participation, Attendance, Completion (of homework), Effort, and Decorum (that is conducive to learning).  In my experience, no one succeeds at the top level of anything, including Pre-AP Algebra, by talent alone.

Commitment to excellence = success
Success is not a gift, it's a goal. 
Ask any failure and he will tell you that the key to success is luck.
Your best plan or philosophy won't work if you don't.
The greater the challenge the greater the triumph.
Success has less to do with what you have than what you are.
Everyone will get opportunities in his life but they won't be delivered.
Success will not pursue you, you must pursue it.
Success is more likely the result of conscientious effort than brilliance.
Doing what you need to do earns you opportunities to do what you want to do.
Motivation starts you towards success, but it's perseverance that gets you there.
Your biggest responsibility is to use your abilities - you're the only on who can.
You are defeated only when you admit it.
No one can give you success you have to go out and get it.
Having the best information is always better than having the most information.
Success is getting up one time more than you fall.
Successful people have the habit of doing what failures hate to do.

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