One aspect of school culture that sometimes gets overlooked is student-lead initiatives. Recognizing that not all of our students are actively engaged with the standard school groups (sports, arts, leadership), these initiatives can provide an opportunity for more of the student body to feel included and contributing to school spirit.
Where to Start
Challenge your students to identify an opportunity or issue that they could address – encourage them to be creative and reassure them that you will try to provide support if there is administration or financial considerations.
Ask your students to map out what they are going to do, why they are going to do it, and how they are going to know if they are successful. This is where you can provide mentorship and direction to ensure that success. (Remember, it’s okay if they fail – just let it be a small fail).
Plant Some Seeds
Many students know that they want to be involved, but they don’t know how they want to be involved or what to do. Throw a few of these ideas out there:
- School Improvement Projects: parking issues, food and drink options, campus cleanliness, inclusion projects.
- Community Projects: community fundraisers, neighborhood service projects, business partnerships.
- Student, Staff & Spirit Projects: club opportunities, specialized activities and events, staff recognition, student recognition, hallway decor.
The one thing that any of these projects need to have is a vision. Stress to the students that whatever they take on should be designed to improve what is around them so that it can have a ripple effect through the school community.