Spring can be a difficult time for students. Summer is close — but just not close enough. Often students are feeling worn thin.
This is the time of year in which student disengagement can get hard to see, because it can get hidden behind a lot of other things.
Recent absences can be chalked up to “spring fever”. Emotionality can be the result of the “end-of-year blues.” Academic struggles can look like senioritis.
And the best sentinels for identifying students who are at-risk — the teachers who see them every day — will not be able to see the hidden issues a student is dealing with.
That’s what makes this a really good time to talk about the importance of having early warning tools that don’t rely on subjective observations of student behavior, but rather objective research-based metrics of the risk of disengagement.
Students are different in many ways, of course. But researchers have demonstrated that, when we take a step back and look at a range of social-emotional parameters that are far more static, we can identify at-risk students in ways that rise above seasonal noise. In fact, the research shows, students who are most likely to disengage in ways that put graduation and future ambitions at risk can been identified — and helped through a program of social-emotional interventions — up to three years before their challenges become acute.