Utilizing Student Engagement Strategies to Transform School Climate
The PLUS Program is a Youth Participatory Action Research model developed using the evidence found in the research on youth development and the effectiveness of data integration in the development of action plans. Teams of staff members are trained to manage a mechanism that utilizes student engagement and data gathering to direct decisions in action planning. Utilizing best practice strategies, this school climate transformation model utilizes students to serve as the liaison between the student body and the adults on a campus. Schools implementing Multi Tiered Systems of Support have found the PLUS Program to be a perfect fit for student involvement at a Tier 1 intervention level, while serving the needs to build a healthy school climate for all students and staff.
How does it work?
PLUS has revolutionized how schools can effectively use student leadership. Research shows when addressing school climate issues, students with influence can play a critical role in the prevention of negative social behaviors on campus. PLUS helps schools identify a diverse cross section of influential student leaders who work alongside a team of staff members. Together they work to gather appropriate data utilizing Direction Survey that leads to the effective implementation of universal interventions that seek to create a positive school climate and an increase in student engagement. Stop doing the research on the kids and let the kids become active participants of doing the research and action planing on themselves and their communities.
To build strong student engagement and connections we built our safe schools model on the evidence found in the research on youth development and the effectiveness of peer to peer programs. Teams of staff members are trained to manage a youth empowered program that utilizes social leadership qualities to connect all students. A diverse cross section of student leaders facilitate a series of activities that create communication, connections, care and community amongst a student body. Utilizing best practice strategies, the student leaders serve as the liaison between the student body and the adults on a campus. Schools implementing PBIS and Multi Tiered Systems of Support have found the PLUS Program to be a perfect fit for student involvement at a Tier 1 intervention level.
Building a student community where kids take care of kids
Student leaders are trained to facilitate a series of PLUS activities that engage students in conversations and community building. These pro-social bonding moments create dialogue between pockets of students on a campus, which help build stronger understanding, respect, and empathy towards one another.
Data Driven Program Development
PLUS is the only youth leadership model in the country that utilizes the Direction Survey and Resource Database to administer online students surveys throughout the school year. Data gathered from online surveys and student led focus group discussions drive the planning process and the calendar of activities to be implemented by student leadership throughout the school year. By using data as a source in the decision making process, PLUS Activities direct student leadership programs and school administrators to universal interventions that address:
- Bullying and Cyberbullying
- Suicide Prevention
- Alcohol, Tobacco and Drugs
- Harassment and Racism
- Exclusion and Peer Pressure
- Academic Pressure
By identifying the critical social issues that are impacting a school climate, student leadership programs find ongoing direction and purpose for the activities they plan. Using data driven program development planning, activity implementation will now have significant influence on the social norms and critical issues of a campus.