Students’ sense of connectedness to school is influenced by many factors, such as the nature of relationships with adults and peers at school, feelings of safety, school discipline policies, parent involvement in school, and opportunities to participate in and contribute to activities during and after school (1). California school districts are required to develop annual Local Control and Accountability Plans that address student engagement, parent involvement, and school climate (a broad term to describe the school environment, which includes school connectedness), among other state priorities (2). Education leaders can continue to strengthen policies and practices that enhance school connectedness, thus increasing a key protective factor associated with improved academic outcomes and reduced risky behavior (3, 4). Students who have become disconnected from school or experience frequent school transitions may need additional support (1, 5).
According to research and subject experts, policy options that could improve school connectedness include:
For more policy ideas and information, see California Safe and Supportive Schools and the School Discipline Consensus Report. Also see Policy Implications on kidsdata.org under Emotional/Mental Health, High School Graduation, Bullying/Harassment at School, Pupil Support Service Personnel, and Truancy, Suspensions & Expulsions.
Sources for this narrative:
1. O'Malley, M., & Amarillas, A. (2012). What works brief #4: School connectedness. California Safe and Supportive Schools. Retrieved from: http://www.wested.org/resources/what-works-brief-4-school-connectedness/
2. California Assembly Bill 97. (2013). Retrieved from: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/13-14/bill/asm/ab_0051-0100/ab_97_bill_20130614_enrolled.html