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Bonnie Benard PowerPoint Presentation

PowerPoint presentation by Bonnie Benard on resilience, school connectedness and academic achievement.

Resilience, School Connectedness and Academic Achievement

Slides 1 - 19
Slides 20 - 39

Slide 1

Resilience, School Connectedness  & Academic Achievement

Bonnie Benard

Slide 2

Resilience Research

Longitudinal developmental studies of how young people have transformed risk and adversity into healthy development and school and life success.

Slide 3

Over 40 Years of Resilience Research Tells Us That:

…When the focus is on supporting youth, at least 70% of young people in the most challenging of life’s conditions not only survive but grow into thriving adults.

Slide 4

The Kauai Study

Emmy Werner & Ruth Smith
Vulnerable But Invincible (1982)
Overcoming the Odds (1992)
Journeys from Childhood to Mid-Life (2001)

Pie Chart 1: 1955 BIRTH COHORT
Parental Discord
Parental Psychopathology
Perinatal Stress

Pie Chart 2: AGE 18
Mental Health Problems

Pie Chart 3: AGE 32 & 41

Slide 5

Findings of Resilience Research
  • Risk ≠ Outcome
  • Behavior ≠ Capacity
  • Personal Strengths = Success
  • Environmental Supports & Opportunities = Life Success

Slide 6

Youth Development Process: Resilience in Action

Slide 7

Youth/Human Development Process: Resilience in Action

Slide 8

The Power of Schools

"A school can create a coherent environment, a climate, more potent than any single influence—teachers, class, family, neighborhood, so potent that for at least six hours a day it can override almost everything else in the live of children."

Ron Edmonds

Slide 9

The BIG Research Question for Closing the Achievement Gap

"What are the key factors that promote academic success among students whose demographic characteristics and school circumstances place them at high risk of failure?"
Theresa Akey
January 2006

Slide 10

Youth/Human Development Process: Resilience in Action

Slide 11

Protective Factors = Critical

Developmental Supports & Opportunities

Slide 12

Developmental Supports & Opportunities

Listening to Students: What student say about protective factors in their schools

Slide 13

Developmental Supports & Opportunities

Evaluation Research

  • Adventure Learning
  • Arts-based Learning
  • Service Learning
  • Small Group/Cooperative Learning
  • Project-based Learning
  • Mentoring/Peer Helping
  • School-to-Work

Promote Healthy Development & Successful Learning

Slide 14

Developmental Supports & Opportunities

Engaging Schools:  Fostering High School Students’ Motivation to Learn

  • Personalization of school experience
  • High & clear standards
  • Meaningful and engaging pedagogy & curriculum
  • Professional learning communities for adults

National Research Council Institute of Medicine
National Academy of Science, 2004

Slide 15

Developmental Supports & Opportunities

Consortium on Chicago School Research
Relational trust consists of…

  • Caring
  • Respect
  • Competence
  • Integrity

  • Students
  • Teachers
  • Administrators
  • Parents

Promotes academic achievement

Schools with high trust levels are 3 times more likely to report gains in reading & math scores.

Schools in top quartile on standardized tests had higher levels of trust.

"This is about NOT forgetting the people."
Anthony Bryk & Barbara Schneider 2002

Slide 16

Developmental Supports & Opportunities

Project on High Performing Learning Communities

  • Small learning communities
  • Core academic program
  • High expectations for all students
  • Professional development
  • Fostering health and safety for all student and school community members
  • Engaging families in the education of their students
  • Creating strong school-community and school-work linkages

"Reorganizing high schools into small developmentally supportive communities and providing a teacher-advisory for each student reduced dropout rates 40 to 50 percent or more."
Robert Felner, 2002

Slide 17

Developmental Supports & Opportunities

Literature on High Performing Learning Communities

  • A set of high expectations and a rigorous curriculum to support it.
  • A variety of instructional strategies that engage students and connect them to real-world applications.
  • Strong connections between students and staff.
  • Leadership and a school culture that is mission-driven and focused on helping all student learn.
  • A professional community of faculty and other staff that focuses on teaching and learning and building capacity to close the achievement gap.
  • Additional supports for students who need them.

Catherine Walcott, et al
High School Reform: National & State Trends, WestEd 2005

Slide 18

Developmental Supports & Opportunities

Meeting Five Critical Challenges of High School Reform: Lessons from Research on Three Reform Models*

"The overall message of this synthesis is that structural changes to improve personalization and instructional improvement are the twin pillars of high school reform."
Janet Quint, MRDC
May 2006

*Career Academies
First Things First
Talent Development

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Slide 19

Developmental Supports & Opportunities

School Context, Student Attitudes and Behavior, and Academic Achievement

"The findings make clear supportive teachers and clear and high expectations about behavior are key to the development of both student engagement and perceived competence….The study also makes the case that student engagement is enhanced by learning activities that involve student to student interaction."
Teresa Akey
MRDC, Jan. 2006

Slide 20

Developmental Supports & Opportunities

Moving from Risk to Resilience in all aspects of schooling

  • Relationships Between and Among Teachers, Students, Parents
  • Teacher Behavior and Attitudes
  • Physical Environment
  • Curriculum and Instruction
  • Grouping
  • Evaluation
  • Learning Motivation
  • Discipline

Rhona Weinstein, adapted by Bonnie Benard

Slide 21

Developmental Supports & Opportunities

Getting Results: Developing Safe and Healthy Kids
Update 5, 2005

Student Health, Supportive Schools, and Academic Success

"I believe that we can address the social, emotional, and health issues facing youths at the same time that we maintain our focus on academic success."
Superintendent Jack O' Connell

Slide 22

A Simple Wisdom…

"At a time when the traditional structures of caring have deteriorated, schools must become places where teachers and students live together, talk with each other, take delight in each other’s company. My guess is that when schools focus on what really matters in life, the cognitive ends we now pursue so painfully and artificially will be achieved somewhat more naturally…

It is obvious that children will work harder and do things -- even odd things like adding fractions -- for people they love and trust."
Nel Noddings, 1998

Slide 23

Youth Development Process: Resilience in Action

Youth Inputs


  • Safety
  • Love & Belonging
  • Respect
  • Power
  • Challenge
  • Mastery
  • Meaning

Slide 24

Developmental Needs

At the core of youth development is the belief that human behavior is motivated by developmental needs.

Slide 25

Developmental Needs

Big Question for Youth Development Practice:

"How are we meeting our students' needs?"

  • Safety
  • Love
  • Belonging
  • Respect
  • Mastery
  • Challenge
  • Power
  • Meaning

Slide 26

Developmental Needs
  • At the core of youth development is the belief that human behavior is motivated by developmental needs.
  • Developmental psychologists refer to these as "powerful protective adaptational systems" (Ann Masten).
  • Resilience is a developmental wisdom that takes the form of developmental needs.

Slide 27

Developmental Needs

Brain Science finds…

"Downshifted" Thinking
When children feel threatened by their environments they often "downshift" their thinking to fight or flight stress responses & cannot access higher order thinking & learning.

"Self-Efficacious" Thinking
When children experience environments that engage their sense of "self-efficacy" (i.e. innate resilience) they activate their higher-order thinking & learning & creativity.

Renate & Geoffrey Caine
Education on the Edge of Possibility (1997)

Slide 28

Youth Development Process

Resilience in Action - Youth Outputs


  • Social
  • Emotional
  • Cognitive
  • Moral-Spiritual

Slide 29

Developmental Outcomes

Healthy Development of the Whole Child

  • Social
  • Emotional
  • Physical
  • Cognitive
  • Moral/spiritual

Slide 30

Developmental Outcomes

Healthy Development of the Whole Child

If stakeholders believe schools are responsible for developing the whole child, what needs to change? If decisions about programs started with "What works for the child?" how would resources - time, space, and human - be arrayed to ensure each child’s success? What would happen if community resources were arrayed in support of children reaching their potential as young adults? If students were truly at the center of the system, what could be achieved?
Gene Carter
ASCD Commission on the Whole Child, 2006

Slide 31

Developmental Outcomes

Personal Resilience Strengths:

What Resilience Looks Like


Social Competence

  •  Responsiveness
  •  Flexibility
  •  Cross-cultural competence
  •  Empathy/caring
  •  Communication skills
  •  Sense of humor



  • Positive Identity
  • Self-efficacy
    •  Initiative
    • Mastery
    • Self-awareness
    • Resistance


Sense of Purpose & Future

  • A special interest/hobby
  • Goal directedness
  • Imagination
  • Achievement motivation
  • Educational aspiration
  • Persistence
  • Optimism
  • Faith
  • Sense of Meaning



  • Planning
    •  Seeing alternatives
    • Critical thinking
    • Resourcefulness

Bonnie Benard - Resiliency: What We Have Learned, 2004

Slide 32

Youth Development Process: Resilience in Action

Societal Impacts


Slide 33

Prevention & Education Outcomes
  • Protecting Adolescents from Harm: Findings from the National Longitudinal Study on Adolescent Health
  • Parent/family connectedness and perceived school connectedness were protective against every health risk behavior measure.

Slide 34

Prevention & Education Outcomes

School Connectedness Constructs

  • Academic engagement
  • Belonging
  • Discipline/fairness
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Likes school
  • Student voice
  • Peer relations
  • Safety
  • Teacher Support

"Whether examining academic performance or involvement with a range of health behaviors, young people who feel connected to school, that they belong, and that teacher are supportive and treat them fairly, do better."
Heather Libby,
Journal of School Health, Sept. 2004

Slide 35

Implications for Ed. Policy and Practice

It’s HOW we do what we do…
Protective factors must be at the heart of a comprehensive school reform program if it is to truly promote healthy development and school & life success.

Slide 36

Implications for Ed. Policy and Practice

It starts with Educators' Beliefs

  • Adults' BELIEF in Youth Resilience
  • Youth Needs
  • Youth’s Academic and
  • Life Success

Slide 37

Implications for Ed. Policy and Practice

Leadership Belief Key to Systems Change

"…Hope, optimism, and self-belief among teachers are the vital wellsprings of successful learning and positive educational change… It is individuals who must hope, but it is institutions that create the climate and conditions which make people feel more hopeful or less so."
Michael Fullan, 1998

Slide 38

Implications for Ed. Policy & Practice

Resilience in action……begins with a

  • Professional
  • Learning
  • Community

Slide 39


"We can, whenever and wherever we choose, successfully teach all children whose schooling is of interest to us.  We already know more than we need to do that….Whether or not we will ever effectively teach the children of the poor is probably far more a matter of politics than of social science."
Ron Edmonds

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Questions:   Coordinated School Health and Safety Office | 916-319-0914
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, January 15, 2019
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