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Together We Can!. School Connectedness: Research and Best Practices. Robert Wm. Blum, MD, MPH, Ph.D. William H. Gates Sr. Professor and Chair Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Safe and Drug Free Schools

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School connectedness research and best practices l.jpg

Together We Can!

School Connectedness: Research and Best Practices

Robert Wm. Blum, MD, MPH, Ph.D.

William H. Gates Sr. Professor and Chair

Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Safe and Drug Free Schools

Old Mill High School

July 16, 2008


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What is school connectedness?

Sense of belonging, being part of school;

Liking school;

Perceiving teachers as supportive and caring;

Having good friends at school;

Being engaged academically;

Experiencing fair and effective discipline;

Participating in extra-curricular activities.


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By high school, 40-60% of all students are chronically disengaged from school.

Klem & Connell, 2004


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Substance Use disengaged from school.

Students who feel connected to school are less likely to

use substances

Frequency of Use:

Level of Substance Use (SD Units)

Levels of connectedness


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Emotional Distress disengaged from school.

Students who feel connected to school experience

less emotional distress

Level of Emotional Distress (SD Units)

Levels of connectedness


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Violence or Deviant Behavior disengaged from school.

Students who feel connected to school engage In less violent or deviant behavior

Level of Violence or Deviant Behavior (SD Units)

Levels of connectedness


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Pregnancy disengaged from school.

Students who feel connected to school are less likely to become pregnant

Percent ever Pregnant

Levels of connectedness


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Initiated Cigarette Use disengaged from school. Predicted Percent at Three Levels of Teacher Support

Multinomial logit models adjusted for social belonging, race/ethnicity, income, gender, family structure, emotional distress, relationship with parents, hx of peer suicide, hx of family suicide


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Initiated Getting Drunk disengaged from school.Predicted Percent Three Levels of Teacher Support

13.4

11.3

9.5

6.2

4.5

3.2

Multinomial logit models adjusted for social belonging, race/ethnicity, income, gender, family structure, emotional distress, relationship with parents, hx of peer suicide, hx of family suicide


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Initiated Marijuana Use disengaged from school. Predicted Percent at Three Levels of Teacher Support

8.3

6.3

4.7

4.4

3.4

2.6

Multinomial logit models adjusted for social belonging, race/ethnicity, income, gender, family structure, emotional distress, relationship with parents, hx of peer suicide, hx of family suicide


Seriously considered or attempted suicide predicted percent at three levels of teacher support l.jpg
Seriously Considered or Attempted Suicide disengaged from school.Predicted Percent at Three Levels of Teacher Support

5.5

5.0

4.5

2.2

1.7

1.3

Multinomial logit models adjusted for social belonging, race/ethnicity, income, gender, family structure, emotional distress, relationship with parents, hx of peer suicide, hx of family suicide


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Initiated Violence disengaged from school.Predicted Percent at Three Levels of Teacher Support

7.5

6.0

4.7

Multinomial logit models adjusted for social belonging, race/ethnicity, income, gender, family structure, emotional distress, relationship with parents, hx of peer suicide, hx of family suicide


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The Triad of School Connectedness disengaged from school.

  • Interpersonal connectedness with school staff and peers;

  • An engaging environment that is physically, emotionally and academically safe.

  • High expectations coupled with support for learning and relevant instruction.


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Connected Schools disengaged from school.

  • Ensures that every student has a relationship with at least one caring adult;

  • Creates a small school environment;

  • Assures that students are personally greeted on arrival to school daily;

  • Uses team teaching;

  • Provides every student with a staff member who tracks their progress;

  • Provides student-teacher and student-student mentorship;

  • Allows teachers to stay with students across multiple years.


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What do MCPS Students say Schools do to make you feel connected?

  • People know you by name?

  • Call on you to do things?

  • Engage you in conversation about things other than school

  • Have parent conferences

  • Provide homework and afterschool help

  • Hold orientation for new students


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School Activities can make you feel connected (MCPS Students)

  • Morning announcements keep us informed

  • After-school activities matter

  • A little extra time at lunch to socialize with friends

  • Extra help with assignments and homework


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What can adults in school do to create an Students)connected school

  • Get to know your students

    --have students create their own biographies through music, dance, poetry, narrative;

    -- call all parents once before Winter break;

    -- link assignments with student lives;

    -- allow students to share opinions


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Creating an Connected School (cont.) Students)

  • Be open

    --share what you have learned from life experiences not just from academics;

    -- provide opportunities for students to give you feed back;

    -- solicit student input into assignments.


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Creating an Students)Connected School (cont.)

  • Create a level playing field

    -- call on students randomly not because they raise their hands;

    --apply consequences equally to all students;

    -- never tolerate put-downs, ridicule, bullying or worse.



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School as a Students)Behavioral Safety Zone

  • Clean, physically safe buildings;

  • Monitor unstructured activities and times during the school day;

  • Moderate the noise levels;

  • Ensure respect for property;

  • Use common spaces to show student work;

  • Engage students in maintaining the school environment.


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School as an Students)Emotional Safety Zone

  • Welcome new students through a structured approach;

  • Recognize all types of excellence;

  • Help students avoid victimization;

  • Be aware that school may be the only safe haven a child has access to;

  • Acknowledge that at times learning can not occur when students are faced with extreme crisis.


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Engaging Schools Couple Students)High Support with High Expectations


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Schools that set Students)High Standards

Do not track students;

Ensure that all students receive the same core education;

Provide learning supports, mentors, tutoring;

Allow teachers to meet in teams, plan, monitor progress of individual students;

Reward teaching excellence;

Rewards students for achieving at their own pace “as-soon-as-you-can”


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Teachers who set Students)High Standards

Hold students accountable for achieving their best;

Teach academic study skills, test taking, time management;

Provide positive feedback for effort not just achievement;

Set individual goals and provide the supports to achieve them.


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School as a Risk Students)

Alienation

Academic Frustration

Experiencing a Lack of Competence and Efficacy

Chaotic Transitions

Negative Relationships with Adults and Peers

Teasing, Bullying, Gangs

Segregation with Antisocial Peers

School-driven Mobility &

Harsh Discipline, Suspension, Expulsion, Push Out/Drop Out.


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MCPS Student perspectives of what creates disengagement Students)

  • Indifference to how I feel

  • Lack of inclusiveness in school activities

  • Lack of trust in students

  • Unfair/uneven punishments

  • Dishonesty

  • Favoring one group over another


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School as Protective Students)

Connection

Academic Success

Development of Competencies and a sense of Personal Efficacy

Supported Transitions

Positive Relationships with Adults and Peers

Caring Interactions

Interaction with Pro-social peers

Stability

Positive approaches to disciplinary infractions &

Services and Supports


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Creating Conditions for Learning Students)

Students are supported

Students are socially capable

Meaningful connection to adults

Emotionally intelligent and culturallycompetent

Strong bonds to school

Responsible and persistent

Positive peer relationships

Cooperative team players

Effective and available support

Contribute to school and community

Students are safe

Students are challenged

Physically safe

High expectations

Emotionally and socially safe

Strong personal motivation

Treated fairly and equitably

School is connected to life goals

Avoid risky behaviors

Rigorous academic opportunities

School is safe and orderly


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  • Teacher Isolation Students)

  • Punitive Discipline

  • Fragmentation

  • Low Trust, Efficacy, Expectations

  • Poor Family-School Collaboration

  • Low Community Contact

  • Diversity Challenged

  • Staff Teams

  • Relational/Positive Discipline

  • Coordination

  • High Trust, Efficacy, Expectations

  • Family-School Partnership

  • Community-School Partnership

  • Value and embrace diversity

Where is your school on this continuum?