When Graduation Alliance launched its ENGAGE Attendance Recovery Program in 2020, we created a resource library for our Academic Success Coaches to use with their students. This general list of resources has been a great tool for our team because it provides quick access to resources and community organizations that can help students with academic needs and life challenges.
We use this resource library with every student who signs up for ENGAGE, but we encourage you to build your own district resource library if you don’t already have one. Here’s how to do just that.
- Keep a Pulse on National Trends
The easiest way to start building your resource library is to keep a pulse on national trends by keeping up with what experts are saying about K-12 education and student needs.
Just last month, President Joe Biden declared an “unprecedented student mental health crisis” at his first State of the Union address. Biden said he would set aside $1 billion in the 2023 budget for schools to hire more school counselors, social workers, and student support staff.
You probably didn’t need to listen to the State of the Union to know that student mental health is at an all-time low, but this is just one example of a national trend that could be affecting your students. Other common issues right now include high levels of absenteeism and unfinished learning.
What kind of resources in your community can you find to address these needs? Think through how these issues are affecting your students and brainstorm ideas for organizations you can partner with to support your students.
- Examine the Needs in Your District
How often do you assume what your students need? As educators, it’s easy for us to get caught up in performance metrics and fail to identify the root of the issue. Are students acting out because of issues at home? Are they failing their classes because they’re struggling with test anxiety? Are they missing school because they’re working to help take care of their families?
What systems do you have in place to identify these barriers? Working with your school counselors/social workers can help you gain this insight so you know what kind of resources and community organizations could address your district’s unique needs.
Graduation Alliance’s ENGAGE program helps identify those barriers to academic success. We poll every student and have them identify barriers to their success so you gain insight into what your students are struggling with. For more information about bringing ENGAGE to your district, fill out our Request for Information form.
- Audit the List Regularly
Once you have your resource library written up, you’ll need to audit it regularly to ensure it’s timely and accurate. Community organizations come and go, and web resources can change, resulting in broken links. (The last thing you want is to wind up with a 404 error when looking for a resource for students.)
We suggest auditing your resource library at least once a year to keep it up to date but add resources as they become available.
- Share Your Resource Library With Families in Your District
Last but not least, we suggest making your resource library readily available to students and their families. You could post it on your district or school website or share it on social media. The key is to make it easily accessible. This will allow students to get help when they need it if they are facing a mental health crisis, struggling to find stable housing, or needing fresh food for their family.