How big is your local high school? How many students are in each class? How many students graduate each year? In Georgia, high school numbers range from a few (less than 50) all the way up to almost 4,000 students in our largest high schools. It’s hard to believe high schools have this many students? Small schools have a natural advantage where adults know each student…..very well I might add. So the question is……how are very large high schools able to create a climate or culture of success?
This question can be answered from numerous standpoints or strategies used by different large high schools. How do leaders create an environment where students feel they are in a small school; a large school where students don’t mind crowded hallways and cafeteria; at the same time have very few discipline problems? One way is making sure every student is assigned to an adult who serves as an advocate for them throughout high school. Most schools have a version of Teachers as Advisors (TAA), where teachers help students learn social skills, preparation for college, share personal issues and so on. The positive relationship piece is huge and determines if these types of programs are successful. The schedule is adjusted for these students and teachers to meet frequently (at least twice a month) during the school day.
Another strategy is providing and encouraging students to join a club, Career Technical Student Organization (CTSO’s), athletic teams or other after school opportunities. These programs help students “get connected” to the school through competitions, friendships, opportunities in the community and much more. These opportunities instill pride and much more than simply math, reading, writing and homework associated with core academics.
My family attends a very large church with approximately 8,000 members. The same concept is true for our church. When members get connected through small group bible studies, support is provided for each other through encouragement and accountability. A balance of both helps keep us on the straight and narrow path………a happy and productive path connected to our church body!
School leaders ensure these and other strategies are in place at schools. Enough opportunities should exist for all students to get connected. The end result is a productive and great high school experience with memories for a life time!