Almost a century ago, the Lebanese American poet Kahlil Gibran wrote: Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, And though they are with you yet they belong not to you. (The Prophet, 1923) Gibran’s words capture perhaps […]

At many schools across the United States, it’s parent-teacher conference time. Although being able to collaborate with parents is important, conference night can sometimes leave both parties feeling like they were unable to have a productive meeting due to the rushed nature and limited timeframe of the event. Search Institute’s work with families has given […]

A few weeks ago, I led a workshop on family engagement for prevention specialists. I asked them what makes engaging families challenging. Here are some typical responses: Families are busy. The cycles of dysfunction in so many families. Every family is different. It’s hard to access families. Families don’t want help. Finding transportation to participate […]

1. Instead of messaging to families, start with listening to families In too many cases, efforts to engage families begin with policy makers, researchers, and professionals determining what families need to do, and then developing messages that will generate “buy-in,” support, and participation. But whenever we authentically take time to listen to and build an […]

“Restless, unfocused and unmotivated” are the words Tiffany Abrams, a Special Education teacher at Pine River-Backus Schools used to describe her 7th-grade class at the beginning of the 2016 school year. According to Abrams, they had a difficult time being independent learners.  Pine River is a town in northern Minnesota with a small population–only 944–but […]

  We know, from years of research, that gaining insight into middle and high school students’ social and emotional skills is essential for motivating them to become self-propelled young adults. So we have broken these skills into five simple areas: 1. Relationships: The single most powerful thing that educators can do to increase motivation is to build close […]

  Student motivation is a huge challenge. We know from our research that 69% of teachers say that student motivation is an issue in their classroom. We also know that intrinsic motivation declines continuously from kindergarten through high school. Motivation decreases in the jump from elementary to middle school and from middle to high school. […]

Most of us have a memory of a class in high school we just weren’t good at. For many it was math or english. For some it was art. Either way, the results were the same–belief that we’re not good at that subject, that we just didn’t have what it takes to get through it. […]

“It’s a collaborative thing. It’s a two-way street: you grow with each other as a leader. Maybe one has more experience than the other, but it’s about sharing that and to ultimately grow together.” — Shinnyo-en Focus Group Participant Search Institute’s Approach Search Institute’s partnership with Shinnyo-en Foundation exemplifies how we seek to bridge between […]

Youth facing organizations have long recognized that relationships are essential components of work that produces valuable outcomes for youth.  But at Search Institute, we have found that although many youth facing organizations believe that they are making relationships a priority, in actuality many organizations make them a lower priority than such things as curricula or […]

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