Let’s all help students feel connected to school

I came across this picture and I loved it….  Why? Because it is an important reminder that we, as adults, have a role to play in caring for the hearts and minds of children. Since high school I have tried to understand and help kids who were labeled ”troublemakers.” Back then I was a peer advisor, then I became an education researcher, and now I am an advocate for California’s kids. Even in those early days it was clear to me that adults were failing kids. So much so, that I scheduled an appointment with our new high school principal. She needed to know that we had to do more for those kids who wanted to change but felt that the adults around them wouldn’t allow them to break through their ”troublemaker” persona–those adults who were quick to assume they were doing something wrong, who were failing to point out what they were doing right. Saddly, I found that my pleas as a student were falling on deaf ears. But this is a fight I haven’t given up because it is one that matters.

In this new era of the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) schools and districts are required to create a positive school environment where students feel listened to and cared about. And here are 10 simple things adults can do to make sure they are creating a welcoming environment for kids.

While this particular picture is clearly targeted to teachers, I am challenging each of us to do our part to make sure that every student feels validated and cared for. Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, concerned citizens…you too have a role to play and you too can make a difference. When you are waiting to pick up kids, do you smile at other students? Do you ask them if they’ve had a good day? Do you tell your kids not to refer to children as “bad” kids but rather children who have made a “bad” choice and who have an opportunity to make better choices tomorrow? 

A strong community starts with healthy, educated and safe kids. Let’s all do our part to make that happen.

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  • Blog Author

    Jessica Dalesandro Mindnich, Ph.D.

    A native of Stockton, Jessica Mindnich is a wife and mother of two. She holds a Ph.D. in Human Development and Education from U.C. Berkeley and has expertise in child development, family socialization and academic achievement. Read Full
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