The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advocate school connectedness as an essential ingredient to buffer youth against engaging in risky behaviors such as tobacco, alcohol, and drug use or aggressive and violent behavior. Students who feel connected to their schools stake a claim in their learning and are therefore more likely to make healthy choices and stay on a path toward academic success. Schools, families, and communities must work together to create a caring and supportive environment for students.
Adult Support: Parent engagement encourages positive student behavior and academic success. Schools can engage families to take part in their child’s education through interactive take-home activities or newsletters.
Belonging to a Positive Peer Group: Students with strong social emotional skills are better equipped for positive peer bonding. Students are faced with the challenge of selecting their friends, and strong decision-making skills will help them choose positive peer groups.
Commitment to Education: Students who have an active interest in their education are more persistent in succeeding academically. Participatory learning enhances students’ commitment to their education by keeping them interested and engaged.
School Environment: A caring and supportive school environment fosters student learning. Students who feel they are valued are more comfortable and therefore more willing to take healthy risks as they try and learn.
Students who are actively connected with their schools develop positive behaviors that reinforce their decisions to avoid risky behaviors and to set positive short and long term goals. Strong social emotional skills, coupled with a supportive school climate and caring adult involvement, foster in students the resiliency they need to meet the challenges they face in childhood, adolescence, and beyond into adulthood.