Supporting a Student’s Need to Belong Increases Engagement
Whether it is the first day at a brand-new school or the middle of a student’s senior year, everyone wants to feel like they belong. Students have homework, teachers, demanding schedules, extracurriculars, and peer pressure to contend with on a day to day basis. Having a support system in place, feeling like they fit in, and having others to relate to reinforces the idea that kids have someone that cares about what they are going through. Belonging to a group, athletic team, or school club builds friendships and connections that can last well beyond high school.
Beyond the initial feelings of acceptance and support, belonging has a big impact on overall school performance and attitudes. Published research indicates that academic outcomes, such as drive, dropout rates, and academic achievements, are directly linked with feelings of belonging. Feeling as though they fit in decreases anxiety, increases overall well-being, allows students to focus on learning, and improves mental health.
Students that are more relaxed have less behavioral issues and are more motivated to do well in school, as they are invested in their school experience and look forward to seeing their peers in class. Of course, parents and teachers want students to feel like they belong in a positive way, not in a group that encourages negativity or bad behavior, which means that schools need to provide enough chances for students to find their niche.
Griffin Christian Schools offer several opportunities for students to feel welcome, explore their interests, and have a sense of belonging. In addition to making the school environment welcoming for all students and families, our administration makes an effort to get to know students and their families and identifies ways that open communication can be encouraged between everyone. In addition, Griffin Christian Schools provide many athletic teams, from football to volleyball, and after-school clubs that are designed to cater to the many interests
enrolled students may have while reinforcing that academic work holds value. By making these opportunities available to our students, our goal is to make everyone feel like they belong.