Earlier this school year in Dickinson and Iron Counties the 18th Annual Youth Asset Celebration was held. This event was held to review the results of the Profiles of Student Life: Attitudes and Behaviors survey from the Search Institute. Students from six different schools from these counties, along with two from Northern Wisconsin, met to see what students were excelling in and where they could use some support.
After taking a look at the Assets that were lower in percentage and needed improvement, the students had brainstorming sessions to come up with ideas for projects to help build those Assets. The students could choose from any of the 40 Assets to work on in their schools and communities. Out of the eight schools present, six of them chose to focus on the Asset of “Caring School Climate”.
Caring School Climate is described as “School provides a caring, encouraging environment”. The latest survey showed that 34% of the students who took the survey were determined to possess this Asset. It is of great importance to all of these students. They feel that a supportive community can help students succeed. The time they spend at school is not just about academic success, it is a place where they can succeed in all aspects of their life.
The projects that students came up with during this day, included projects such as: a welcoming committee for new students, a welcome package which would include school specific gear, lists of resources, recognizing students’ birthdays, inspirational notes on their lockers and many more.
This was a day spent planning something specific that would positively affect Caring School Climate. But as adults, we need to realize that this is not a one-day or one-time effort. The responsibility of creating a Caring School Climate does not only fall upon the teachers at a school. It also includes support staff and community members who may volunteer. Such as the person who comes in and reads to younger students. Someone to be that caring face and say that they are happy to see a student there. It is the volunteer who comes to speak to older students about possible career opportunities and how their encouraging words can help a student make a decision on a career path and just to be the inspiration.
For so many of our youth, schools really are the center of their community; especially in rural areas.
These students are taking the initiative and really being leaders to help make a difference in their schools. It is important to show them our support. This may mean honoring a request when they come to a business and ask for a donation for a project they’re doing. That could be materials or a monetary donation. When these student leaders take the initiative to make their schools a better place, we as a community can help.