Cultural Connect

Sunday, March 15, 2009

K-6 Students Need a High School Graduation Vision

It’s easy to think that a student entering K-6th grade will graduate from high school some day but the reality is sobering. Nearly half of inner city and some rural school district students do not graduate from high school. Their education vision and experience needs to change at an early age. Why not help K-6 students to grab a vision of their high school graduation on day one. Students must know that they have what it takes to succeed in school. This vision must not only be captured in the student’s mind it must be their teacher’s expectation. A student’s gifts and talents must be exposed early if the student is going to thrive in every grade.

I have not run into a K-6 student who is making a plan to fail and not graduate. In fact many aspire to be doctors and lawyers. Each student must receive an internal message that makes school worth it. It will take creativity on the part of each schools leadership. The students are asking why should I stay in school if no one really cares. A little praise for each student’s accomplishments can go a long way. For some students the only praise that they receive all day is from their teacher. Students also feel inspired when they receive an award. There is a tendency to single out certain students again and again. For weeks when there is perfect attendance why not give an entire class a certificate. Did you know that some students will never earn a certificate during their entire time in school? Giving awards is one way to indicate that a student’s efforts are worth it. Students need to feel that someone cares about their progress.

It is amazing how many K-6 students that I talk to who want to start their own businesses. Somehow they know that having their own business I a good idea. All along we need to help students to take daily steps into their future. They must see themselves in a variety of jobs. Inviting guests from all fields of work to speak to students will broaden their horizons. What they don’t know is that they can start and earn a good living with more education. The K-6 student needs to know the amount of education that’s required to gain employment in certain jobs.

Six years can go by really fast. One moment a student is in the sixth grade and the next moment they are ready to graduate from high school. This is one reason why it is important for students to see themselves as graduates early. Each day their parent, teacher and counselor have an opportunity to inspire each student. It’s important to take the time to notice when they are maturing emotionally and intellectually. It is a great opportunity to give them positive feedback concerning their growth.

Every student is a high school and college graduate in waiting. Some students need to learn how to focus on their goals. Each student must be taught how to reach their goals and how to avoid distractions. Ask open ended questions to find out about their graduation plans. Listen before you speak and you can gain the students confidence.

Each day students attend a k12 school adds up to the long term goal of graduation. Igniting the fire in each student requires persistence from parents and teachers who tell the students that they expect to attend their graduation. Students like challenges when they perceive that the desired goal is attainable.

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