Superintendent view: 3 things that make students hopeful about their future


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A new Gallup poll shows a student’s engagement in school and hope for the future are just as important as graduation in the eyes of parents and superintendents.

More specifically, when it comes to measuring the effectiveness of public schools in their community, 88% of superintendents think it’s very important for students to be engaged with school and 85% of superintendents think it’s very important for students to be hopeful about their future.

Wow. Are you as shocked to read that stat as we were? In education, we’re so used to measuring success by graduation rates and test scores that we often lose sight of student hopes and dreams. What makes this research extra refreshing is that K-12 leadership hasn’t forgotten that passion, emotion, and drive also fuel success.

Let’s take a minute to dive into what makes students engaged and hopeful about their future in the first place.

#1. Strong support systems

Support systems include a wide range of people that interact with students including parents, teachers, coaches, and community members. Knowing how to support students is key to laying a foundation for their future. When students are invested in and encouraged to find and then pursue their gifts and passions they get excited about their future.  

#2. Vision

Vision can be obtained through people and resources. One way to paint a vision for students is to recruit inspirational staff members who can create an environment of endless possibilities for exploration in the classroom. Vision can also be found by embracing technology so students can see all of the modern options available to them.

#3. Excitement about a particular career path

When students are given the option to dive deep into a community outreach program, service opportunity, extracurricular activity or internship, they quickly become excited about specific career paths.

As stated above, parent support systems are an essential component to students being hopeful about their future, but superintendents are least likely to say their district is “very effective” at engaging parents with their child’s school. In fact, only 23% believe their district is very effective in this regard.

One way to raise that 23% is to pay attention to parent needs, their preferences, their device usage, the new channels they’re using – like social media – to begin increasing interactions. And of course, parents are not the only audience schools should be paying attention to. Communicating with all audiences is important because the future of student support systems, vision, and excitement rely on it.

If you know and understand the importance of parent engagement being vital to your students’ success, but aren’t sure how to maximize it, check out our Community Engagement Solution to see how you can become very effective at engaging your community.

Join us at the 2018 National Conference for Education and be sure to connect with us and other superintendents.