Title

“Shedding Perceptions and Connecting with At-Risk Students”

Location

Harborside Center

Strand #1

Academic Achievement & School Leadership

Strand #2

Social & Emotional Skills

Relevance

My proposal for the Youth at Risk Conference is related to the “Head” and “Heart” strands. It is my belief that through better connections (the process of sharing commonalities with students through inquiry or comment) and better relationships, achievement gaps can be closed. Most importantly, better connections and better relationships with students enhance the social school climate for all students.

Brief Program Description

How does a student earn the label of “at-risk”? Is it possible that the label can come from the perception of the teacher? Teachers should be encouraged to get “connected” to students in order to: get a better understanding of their students and to build better relationships. As educators, it is our responsibility to get connected to our students.

Summary

As a school administrator, I refer to “connections” as the process of discovering commonalities with the students that I serve. These connections emerge through inquiry by finding similarities in clothing styles, sports, music, TV shows, birth months, favorite sport teams or players, electronics, and other reasonable (professional and ethical)topics that exist in the “world” of the students. I utilize the results of these connections to: (1) improve student behavior (2) build self-esteem (3) make/improve administrator-student relationships (4) build trust (5) enhance school climate.

I believe that this strategy is more applicable for teacher-student relationships. I trust that teachers have a plethora of knowledge of their subject based on their college degrees. However, a teacher must “connect” with the students in order to get them to grasp that knowledge while maintaining an awareness of connection-killers such as sarcasm, biased perceptions, fear, and racism.

Evidence

The evidence of the effectiveness of my proposed solutions to building connections and better relationships is delineated in scholarly books, journals or articles such as: (1) “The Role of Caring in the Teacher-Student Relationship for At-Risk Students” by Chandra Muller (2) Behaviorally at-risk African American students: “The importance of student-teacher relationships for student outcomes” by Decker, Dona and Christenson (3) “Relationships influences on teachers’ perceptions of academic competence in academically at-risk minority and majority first grade students” by Hughes, Gleason, Zhang (4) “Connecting With Students” by Allen Mendler

Format

Poster Presentation

Biographical Sketch

I have 21 years of teaching experience at public and private middle and high schools. Most of my teaching experience took place in urban areas such as the Atlanta and Macon metropolitan areas. I recently completed my tenth year of administrative experience at Eastside High School in Covington, Georgia. Over the past 10 years I’ve served as assistant principal for student services which includes all aspects of the total school instructional program with emphasis on school climate, Response to Intervention, athletics and discipline.

I earned a Doctorate Degree in Educational Administration in June, 2010 from Georgia Southern University. My dissertation study focused on principal leadership styles that impact school climate. My study revealed that school climate is a critical component of student achievement. This revelation has impacted my desire to further understand the correlation between the at risk student – teacher relationships and school climate.

Keyword Descriptors

Connections, Relationships, At-Risk

Presentation Year

2016

Start Date

3-8-2016 4:00 PM

End Date

3-8-2016 5:30 PM

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Mar 8th, 4:00 PM Mar 8th, 5:30 PM

“Shedding Perceptions and Connecting with At-Risk Students”

Harborside Center

How does a student earn the label of “at-risk”? Is it possible that the label can come from the perception of the teacher? Teachers should be encouraged to get “connected” to students in order to: get a better understanding of their students and to build better relationships. As educators, it is our responsibility to get connected to our students.