As I’m traveling across the country to see family this week, I’ve been reflecting about my trip to the Midwest last month. I was lucky enough to attend part two of the National Freshman Success Institute in Chicago alongside 17 educators from Washington state. We had the privilege of visiting Lake View High School – the oldest high school in Illinois – and learning from their success at helping 9th graders pass their classes and stay on track to graduate.
My biggest takeaway from observing their teacher meetings and hearing from students is that strong relationships are the key to engaging students who are struggling in school. It’s what can truly make the difference between graduating on time or dropping out early.
So today, I’m feeling grateful for every teacher, counselor, paraeducator, administrator, student mentor, and family member who has taken the time to develop a relationship with a freshman in Washington this year.
Lake Chelan High School in Chelan, Washington was also with me in Chicago last month, but they had already taken relationship-building to a new level several years ago with their formal peer-mentoring program. The video below shares the stories of those freshman mentees and how a strong relationship helped them achieve success in school.
I hope your holiday travels give you time for reflection and gratitude as well. I’m looking forward to coming back refreshed and ready to prepare for the 2019 legislative session and ensure that every Washington student has the relationships and they support they need to achieve their dreams.
If you would like to support the 2018-19 Freshman Success Network, donate $20 today and your gift will fund travel to Chicago and Freshman Success coaching for our partner districts.