Tagged “Problem Solving”

Rural Schools Team Up for Success

Quail Lake Environmental Charter School, Sanger, Calif.

As one of whole child partner National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform’s California Schools to Watch, Quail Lake Environmental Charter School joins a commendable group of educational innovators. Located in Sanger, California, Quail Lake faces many of the same challenges commonly seen across small, rural schools. But with professional development and a collaborative strategy for instruction, Quail Lake and similar institutions in the area have come together and made significant progress in closing the achievement gap.

Every Individual Has a Role to Play

Aitken College, Greenvale, Victoria, Australia

Aitken College is a co-educational and independent preK–12 school serving families living in the northwest region of Melbourne. Students are encouraged to use their expanding knowledge as a basis for investigation, problem solving, critical thinking, and creativity. The school's well-being and mental health program is proactive, hands-on, skill-based, and data driven. The school has developed a core team, comprising a wide range of dedicated staff that raises awareness of well-being issues and develops different mental health and well-being initiatives. This core team is then able to inform policy and program development based around key concepts of student-staff well-being as a whole-school approach and that every individual has an important role to play.

Recognized as a MindMatters School in 2011 by whole child partner Principals Australia Institute, Aitken College has a comprehensive life skills curriculum for all students that addresses self-image, self-esteem, relationships, sex and drug education, resiliency, bullying, mental health, and well-being. The school supports staff wellness, meditation classes for both staff and students, and a cybersafety group.

Strong Policy and Community Collaboration Speak Volumes

Grand Forks, N.Dak.

A four-time winner of whole child partner America's Promise Alliance's 100 Best Communities for Young People recognition, Grand Forks, N.Dak., strives to evoke positive action through strong policies and community collaboration.

Practices like the Grand Forks Youth Commission, composed of students from middle and high schools who express their voice about community issues; the PASS and Interventions programs, which use innovative approaches to assist in responding to student challenges; and the Grand Forks Helping Hands Summer Camp, which helps young people understand the importance of volunteerism as they provide opportunities for a wide range of children, are all positive change agents that will continue to promote leadership and service among all generations.

Putting Youth Dialogue Front and Center

Barnstable County, Mass.

Barnstable County, Mass., a four-time winner of whole child partner America's Promise Alliance's 100 Best Communities for Young People recognition, has set the stage for youth dialogue in its community.

A variety of innovative partnerships have helped promote this dialogue, thanks to the Barnstable County Council for Children, Youth, and Families. These include

  • The Cape and Islands Youth Congress, a diverse group of high school students who encourage their peers to step up to challenges and be positive agents of change.
  • The Cape Youth Force, which enables youth participants to become involved in the grant-making process.
  • The Cape and Islands Gay-Straight Youth Alliance, a youth-led group that networks with fellow youth organizations across Cape Cod.

Barnstable County is definitely doing its part in promoting the value of youth engagement.

Middle School’s Vision Becomes Reality Through Strong Leadership

Franklin Middle School, Champaign, Ill.

"E2: To Exceed Expectations" is the vision of Franklin Middle School in Champaign, Ill., a recipient of the 2011 Breakthrough School Award from the MetLife Foundation and whole child partner National Association of Secondary School Principals.

Thanks to Principal Angela Smith's leadership, the school has created a positive environment focused on building strong relationships among the staff and students, collecting data through innovative methods that allow for effective responses to students' needs, and achieving excellence through collaborative leadership. Located in an economically challenged area with years of racial conflict and with 52 percent of the student body economically disadvantaged, 18 percent students with special needs, and 62 percent racial minorities, Franklin Middle School has transitioned from a rough past to an incredible present and a very bright future.

Community Hardships Serve as Motivation

Mercer County, W.Va.

As a four-time winner in whole child partner America's Promise Alliance's 100 Best Communities for Young People competition, Mercer County, W.Va., continues to address the needs of its youth with fervor, despite the community's challenges. High poverty rates, low income, and unemployment have motivated Mercer County to provide a safe and supportive environment for youth and families through the implementation of well-founded programs.

The Creating Opportunities for Youth (COFY) coalition has encouraged youth to make a difference in their community through the prevention of alcohol, tobacco, and drug use. Thanks to strong collaborations with local partners, COFY has gained equal representation across all sectors of the community and has a proven track record of significantly reducing tobacco and alcohol use.

Because cultural norms in Mercer County fail to promote chronic disease prevention, community agencies have partnered to provide preventive screenings for youth, and the local health department provides community health assessments and outreach services.

No matter the obstacle, Mercer County will continue to aim for the best possible well-being of its residents.

Share |

Fast, Free, Online: The ASCD School Improvement Tool

Designed for use in schools and districts, the free ASCD School Improvement Tool offers educators a comprehensive and completely online needs assessment.

GET STARTED »

LEARN MORE »