Do Your Children Really Feel Supported at School?

By: Becky Post

Children will let their parents know what’s going on at school, especially if they are really excited about something. For example, most kids love dress-up days. Whether it’s spirit day or wear-your-pajamas-to-school day, kids of all ages like to get into the act.


Young people will often let parents know when they’re miserable at school as well. Parents normally hear about the teacher who does a poor job of explaining things, or the subject that seems impossibly boring and pointless.


In other words, parent will probably hear about the really fun stuff or the really annoying stuff, but what about all the other stuff? For example, are there academic standards that your child is worried about meeting? Does your child feel that he or she can reach out to school counselors and other staff for help? Is your child aware of tutoring opportunities or after-school programs that might be of interest to him or her?


Children, even teenagers in high school, can find it hard to articulate their worries. And they may not know how to ask for help when faced with big challenges. Parents may not know if a child is feeling unsupported by his or her peers, teachers—and family.


Finding out how supported students feel is what’s behind Search Institute’s “support card” concept. The information on the support card could be collected through short but valid and reliable surveys that ask students to describe the relationships, resources, expectations, and opportunities in their lives.


Educational studies suggest that young people are most likely to achieve difficult objectives if they experience a dynamic mix of both challenge and support. That’s why educators and parents could benefit from a measurement tool that reflects students’ perceptions of support. These support cards could offer a helpful complement to traditional report cards by giving voice to students’ sense of what’s working in their lives.


Are you interested in learning more about support cards? Join us for us for a free webinar, Student Support Cards: Help Connect Kids with What They Need to Succeed, on Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013, 12PM - 1PM, CST. Presented by Dr. Kent Pekel, President and CEO of Search Institute, participants will learn about how student support cards can inform instruction and strengthen supplemental services for young people in an organized, ongoing way.

Register now >>



Rebecca Post is the director of content development at Search Institute. She has worked as a book editor for most of her career. She and her husband are successfully surviving the empty nest, now that their only child is in college.


Photo via EaglebrookSchool on Flick'r

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