I started a discussion today in a staff meeting about a topic I feel pretty strong about; keeping kids connected to the school. The discussion went fine, although I didn’t really have time to get to the ‘heart’ of the issue and look at solutions. In our school of approx. 500 students, the majority are what you would say are ‘connected’. That is they have a strong sense of belonging and often show this through their involvement in both structured and unstructured extra-curricular activities , etc. However, there still remains a significant group of students who are not connected. Not surprisingly, some of these students exhibit academic, social, and behavior difficulties. So as an administrator, it’s not uncommon for me to deal with these students regularly.
So, I have two main questions about current secondary education. Firstly, what do we do about the kids who are not connecting? And, secondly, are the numbers of disconnected youth increasing? If so, how might we start addressing the issue? Is focusing on youth engagement a great first start? Okay, I guess that is more than two questions
A few years ago a group of administrators were part of the “revolution” group. It was a group aimed at examining these questions in more detail. A primary resource for our discussions came from an excellent Saskatchewan Learning resource . However, due to other priorities the group was dissolved for a portion of time. The good news is that recently our senior administration has decided to start discussions with interested teachers on the very topic. Needless to say, I’m excited by this prospect. This is not because I believe secondary education is ‘broken’. On the contrary, but by examining these questions I believe we can only strengthen our education system.
So, please help me out…what do you do to ‘connect’ kids? What is your district or school doing? How do you help ‘engage’ students?