Friday, January 20, 2012

The Value of Connections

School connection is the belief by students that adults in the school care about their learning and about them as individuals. Students are more likely to succeed when they feel connected to school. Critical requirements for kids to feel connected include not only high academic rigor and expectations but as importantly physical and emotional safety, support for their learning, and positive relationships with teachers and staff.

Strong scientific evidence demonstrates that the more a student is connected and the more students that are connected to school, the greater the decreases in absenteeism, fighting, bullying and vandalism and the greater the increases in educational motivation, classroom engagement, academic performance, and school completion rates.

The findings show that these seven qualities seem to influence students’ positive attachment to school:
• Having a sense of belonging and being part of a school
• Liking school
• Perceiving that teachers are supportive and caring
• Having good friends within school
• Being engaged in their own current and future academic progress
• Believing that discipline is fair and effective
• Participating in extracurricular activities

In the healthy development of children and youth, grades, participation, a sense of belonging, and relationships with students and teachers are important in feeling connected to school—and connected students do better. There are those who believe that schools should focus only on the acquisition of knowledge or that we expect too much from schools. However, current research across disciplines shows that non-academic aspects of school are also significant contributors to both school and student success.

Van Buren Community Middle/High School is making changes to help improve school connectedness and the climate of the secondary building. An improved appearance can be seen when entering the gymnasium doors with a “Welcome to Warrior County” emblem. Student projects and activities are being showcased in a display cabinet directly inside the front doors for anyone who attends school events and for other students to see what is happening! School staff is also planning the first WARRIOR Assembly.

What: WARRIOR Assembly
Date: January 27th
Time: 10:30am
Where: VB High School Gymnasium

This event will recognize students who represent the qualities of a WARRIOR-Work, Attitude, Responsibility, Respect, Involvement, Organization, Resilience, Service. These students have had perfect attendance, improved their GPA, are involved in extra-curricular activities as well as other special awards.

By making these changes the school hopes to foster additional connections with students. These connections will help to improve the climate, leading to the decrease in absenteeism, fighting, bullying and vandalism as well as increases in educational motivation, classroom engagement, academic performance, and school completion rates.

For more information please contact the Van Buren County SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412 or

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