Blog Archive

teen, internet

In the past, moms, dads, and other parenting adults could focus on ensuring that kids were spending their time in safe, healthy, and supportive places in their homes and neighborhoods.

But today’s young people live in a world where digital media—websites, social media, cell phones, video games, and others—are parts of everyday life. This reality opens up new challenges and opportunities for parents, teens, and families. Like all parts of life, online environments have both benefits and risks:

Author: Gene Roehlkepartain    Publish Date: 2017-Apr-06
family relationships

Most of us know that quality relationships are important in the lives of youth. And families play big roles in positive youth outcomes, preparing them for success in school, work and life.

In fact, the quality of the relationships in the family predict thriving and build character strengths much more than demographic factors. A large number of strong relationships in a young person’s life correlate with a decrease in high-risk behaviors, such as alcohol and tobacco use. And youth with strong family relationships tend to be more resilient in the face of stress and trauma.

Publish Date: 2017-Mar-02

student motivation

By Dr. Karen Ruth-Jarmon

During the summer of 2016, I had the opportunity to attend a class led by Search Institute about their REACH student motivation research. I was excited for the information and instructional resources but, as I was new to the Harvest Network of Schools, I wasn’t sure how the students would receive it.

As the school year started, it became apparent that time was a precious commodity for our teachers. I could tell right away that implementing REACH Activities and Techniques was going to be a challenge, in light of everything else the school had planned for students. Additionally, as all of my students are of East African descent, I was a little unsure about how they might react to the personal questions included in some of the Anchor Activities.

To take on these initial concerns, our team decided the best way forward would be to divide the REACH work up to make it more manageable and impactful. To free all team members from having to create another lesson, I took on the responsibility of providing PowerPoint presentations teachers could use, either ‘as-is’ or as foundations to be modified based on their and their scholars’ specific needs. The REACH Anchor Activity resources made the creation of these slide presentations fairly simple, and the included activities were easy to set up.

That, it turned out, was the easy part.

Publish Date: 2017-Mar-02

positive student teacher relationships

This week’s post is provided by guest blogger Jacob Mongan, Dean of Students at Pine River-Backus High School in Pine River, MN. Jacob works with a team of school leaders at PR-B who have been learning about and implementing REACH research and resources since the beginning of this school year.

By Jacob Mongan


When Dr. Kent Pekel finished his initial presentation of the REACH strategies for student motivation at our school, I remember an immediate sense of excitement. I mean, it wasn’t like Search Institute had completely reinvented the wheel, but as I took in Dr. Pekel’s presentation, it was clear that the REACH Framework was different. Built on considerable evidence and on strong statistical foundations, I knew it would offer outstanding tools for increasing students’ motivation.

Publish Date: 2017-Feb-24

By Eric Kalenze, Director of Education Solutions

Academic motivation, student motivation, School improvement, School improvement initiative, Implementation, REACH Implementation Institute, Professional learning, Monitoring, REACH, Search Institute

Based on the kind notes so many readers have sent over the past couple of months, it’s becoming clear that (1) there’s some strong interest in how to effectively improve young people’s academic motivation and (2) REACH’s way of breaking down and addressing motivation’s complex nature is providing some useful starting points and insights.

We’re especially glad that this blog space is providing useful information--both about how REACH works and about how educators (and administrators) are currently using REACH in their schools. Thanks, all, for reading and for engaging!


Shifting to the how of REACH

As school leaders are increasingly considering whether REACH fits into their school-improvement efforts, today’s post will shift away from REACH’s what and why to concentrate more specifically on REACH’s how.

Author: Eric Kalenze    Publish Date: 2017-Feb-16

Relationships First: Creating Connections that Help Young People Thrive

"After decades of forming hypotheses, conducting surveys, crafting and rewriting definitions, analyzing data, and writing journal articles, Search Institute researchers and practitioners have arrived at a surprisingly simple conclusion: nothing—nothing—has more impact in the life of a child than positive relationships."        

Click to Download!

Publish Date: 2017-Feb-09

talking with students about inauguration

This week’s post is provided by guest blogger James Nelson, Dean of Students at Risen Christ Catholic School in Minneapolis, MN.  Located in South Minneapolis and serving a highly diverse population, Risen Christ is the only dual-language-immersion Catholic school in all of Minnesota. James’s middle school team has been learning about and implementing REACH research and resources since the beginning of this school year.

By James Nelson

At the end of the 2015-16 school year, our middle school staff expressed serious concern about a perceived drop in our students’ motivation. Teachers did not have hard evidence of this dip, but their teaching instincts told them that kids’ motivation was just not on par with what they’d been used to witnessing.

Based on these conclusions, the middle school team decided to work more purposefully on improving students’ motivation in 2016-17, and they asked our school’s president to look for a professional development program that could help us better understand and address the issue.

Author: By James Nelson    Publish Date: 2017-Jan-26

talking with students about inauguration

Over the course of 2016’s presidential election, political conversation reached levels of volume and vitriol we’d not been accustomed to seeing. Worse, though we’ve reached President-elect Donald J. Trump’s inauguration day, the dust kicked up by the election battles seems to be far from settled: horrifically, close to a thousand cases of hateful harassment or intimidation were reported across the U.S. within days of the November 8 election, and the political conflicts and controversies have only increased in the intervening months.

In the midst of it all, one can’t help sensing that the many of the lines dividing Americans are getting carved deeper and wider.

Author: Eric Kalenze    Publish Date: 2017-Jan-20

REACH with intervention class

As an intermediate school interventionist, Beth Hasley has tried out the REACH Framework's activites in her work with students who are struggling. What she found demonstrates the power of REACH strategies and their adaptability to different types of classrooms. [FREE DOWNLOAD]

Author: Beth Hasley    Publish Date: 2017-Jan-12

student motivation, positive relationships, developmental relationships

The last thing teacher need is "another thing" to add to their already full classroom requirements. But intermediate school teacher Ana Li Zhong found that REACH is not just another thing to do, but a powerful framework that's easily integrated it with other activities in the classroom.

Author: Ana Li Zhong    Publish Date: 2017-Jan-04