DeKalb County Parents I'd like to ask you what you think makes for an Effective School Environment?
I wanted to define in my mind what I felt should be a standard model of an Effective School Environment. Using my own knowledge and experience, in reading several articles, and reviewing research data, this is what I believe to hold true.
A School “ENVIRONMENT” is an essential component of a student’s life. Schools have a responsibility to provide students with a "SAFE ENVIRONMENT" in which to develop academically,amotionally, and behaviorally; while at the same time developing relationships with others.
What every Student wants and needs to thrive in a School Environment is
- Safe Haven/Environment
- Limitations and Boundaries
I have read a lot of material, and in doing so, there seems to be a consistant theme in regards to the necessary qualities that seem to influence students’ positive results in a school environment.
- Having a Sense of belonging and being a part of a school
- Liking School
- Perceiving that teachers are supportive and caring
- Having good friends within the school
- Being engaged in their own current and future academic success and progress
- Believing that discipline is fair and effective
- Participating in extracurricular activities
Research shows that students who feel “connected to their school environment do better academically and are also less likely to be involved in risky health behaviors; drug use, cigarette smoking, early sex, violence,suicidal thoughts and attempts”. Increasing student connections to their environment “decreases absenteeism, fighting, bullying and vandalism, while promoting educational motivation, classroom engagement, academic performance, school attendance, and completion rates.”(Source: School Connectedness-The Values of Connections)
Students embrace their environment when they believe that the adults in the school care about their learning and about them as individuals. Students are more likely to succeed when they feel a connection to School. As Individuals, students who perceive their teachers and School administration as creating a caring, well-structured learning environment in which expectations are high, clear, fair are more likely to be connected to the school and thrive.
All of this seems to be pretty reasonable in expectation, and should not be rocket science to produce. So why is it that many of our DeKalb County Schools can not provide these basics for our students?
As a community advocate, and as a parent- I know that I am constantly out there raising my hand and asking the tough questions. I do not have a PhD, but I do have common sense. I do not understand the difficulty of providing just the basics on a county level?
I am really curious to know what type of environment your community school fosters? Are your local community schools meeting the expectation?