One of the most important predictors of school engagement and success is how connected students feel toward their teachers and their peers. A great school is continually developing and renewing a culture of connectedness and mutual respect—students feel connected to their teachers and their peers. You can see that connecting going on practically wherever you look, but it is also important to attempt to measure it, at least for comparison’s sake.
At The Grauer School, we take the view that learning is a collaboration between teachers and students, and between students and each other, as well as the surrounding community. Rather than just “experts”, our teachers are mentors, role models, and facilitators. We hope they are the best listeners in the world, since we believe our job is to listen students into clear thinking, probing all the way. The results of this year’s School Quality Survey reflect our students’ feelings about our success at creating this unique culture of learning.
The Grauer School’s Schoolwide Averages (Scale from 0 to 4)
were compiled by our Office of School Evaluation and Research:
Our students’ responses demonstrate that, even more than the previous year, our teachers are developing meaningful, supportive connections with their students, and creating a classroom culture of teamwork and collaboration. They view their teachers as role models and masters of content.
Grauer students this year were deeply engaged and connected. By way of context, the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence found that students nationwide claimed they were bored in school 70% of the time, and feeling stressed 80% of the time. Scary data. In contrast, at The Grauer School, 96% of our high school students reported that they like school, and 100% of them feel that their teachers really care about them.
Grauer School research verifies that connection and engagement can be achieved without sacrificing students’ perceptions of academic challenge. In fact, among (self-reporting) Grauer seniors this year, 85% were accepted into their 1st choice college, 96% into one of their top 2, and 100% into one of their top 3 (S. Boniwell, Senior Exit Survey, May 23, 2017). How is this possible when our focus is much more on listening and probing than on college preparation? That’s easy: students perform best in a low threat, high trust environment, as research shows overwhelmingly. As a faculty, our number one job is to create that environment in and out of class, in chairs and afield.
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