Thank you for joining us again, this week! It is a good sign that you are so connected to helping disengaged students that you continue to read this blog even during the summer! These tips will be essential to engagement from day one of the school year.
Welcome Back Hype:
There will be many students who have been struggling throughout the summer. Some students may be struggling with money issues, abuse, boredom, sibling rivalry, unstructured time, violence and friend conflict. Subconsciously (or consciously), students are yearning to come back to school, come back to time schedules, lunch at a certain time, adults who ensure safety, people who like them and their own space even if it is a desk or a locker. Children believe everything that went wrong last year will not happen this year. They start the year with high hopes and big dreams of getting good grades and not having behavioral issues. They want, so badly, to do well and change the wrongs they have made. The exception to this are students who have given-up or feel helpless. We can help them all!
We have a decision to make, will we focus on getting school started and laying down the rules? OR will we focus on the impact those first few days will have on our disengaged students? Let’s pick the later, if we compare it to going to a friend’s house for vacation think of it this way. How do we feel when our friend gives us a tour of their house, shows us where all the necessities are for our visit, maybe has a small gift in our room and prepares our favorite meal for dinner? We feel invited, welcomed and we want to return.
Here is how that would look in a school:
Signs “Welcome Back”, “We Missed You!”, “Excited!”, “2014-2015 Is A Great Year!” “Dream Big, Try Hard!” Desk and Locker signs with the students name and the school motto listed in bright colors.
Back to school assembly, create excitement around learning. This assembly can outline the schools goals for the year, invite students to upcoming events and create a sense of belonging.
Smiles and greetings – Each staff member makes a concerted effort to smile throughout the day, a smile is very powerful. Students perceive a smile as a message “I like you” and a flat face with “You do not matter.” Include a greeting with the smile such as “Welcome Back!” of “It’s great to see you” or “This is going to be an exciting year!”
Now, the disengaged student is feeling accepted, loved and most importantly, hopeful!
Next week, “Reaching out to disengaged students prior to the first day of school.” Please, email me what you do and I will include them in next week’s newsletter.
Here’s to a great year!!!