Not all schools are created equal, but some students – the best and the lucky – emerge from the most challenged schools to succeed. They achieve academic honors, earn degrees and find fulfilling careers that serve their families and communities well. They are boys and girls, they represent every ethnic background and have diverse academic and social interests. They often have parents who monitor and support their studies, but the overwhelming common thread is an early self-recognition of a goal and a well-traveled plan to reach it.
The Search Institute has identified 40 Developmental Assets for Adolescents – attributes of personal and community support that enable a young person to successfully complete school and prepare for a productive, fulfilled life.
esd has collaborated with Metro Health Project WORTH to create a model program for 6th – 8th graders attending two San Antonio middle schools. Starting in January, the students of E.T. Wrenn Middle School in the Edgewood ISD and Connell Middle School in SAISD will be introduced to Club 40.
know and share
esd has created a complete program based on two key Assets – Positive Identity and Commitment to Learning. As designed by esd, the Club 40 is an experiment in peer influence:
Each school will have an “Asset Champion” – a school counselor working in tandem with Project WORTH to lead and motivate a Core group of 40 students in each school.
know: The Core group will learn concepts related to Positive Identity and Commitment to Learning as the Asset Champion explains an idea, which is applied in a class exercise.
share: The Core group then takes on a Mission, devising ways to communicate (share) the concepts to other students in the school.
By delivering the ideas to a diverse group of kids (selected for their ability to influence, not necessarily their academic or social standing), then letting the students rephrase, redevelop and create media to deliver the message, Club 40 will encourage young adolescents to dream about their future and develop a plan to make their dream come true.
studying the model
Club 40 is a model program. Project WORTH – working through its Strengthening Assets for Youth in San Antonio (SAYSA) initiative – will study the Core group and the peers affected by the program.
esd has developed:
- an identity for Club 40
- the Club 40 Journal – a step-by-step guide to setting a goal and making it happen
- Asset Champion’s Guide that parallels the Journal
- a Club 40 website open to any student that wishes to access the program
- bumper stickers
- media planning and strategies
creating seed media, anticipating new ideas
However, we are equally excited media that the Club 40 Core students will create. The Club 40 sessions will produce a Club 40 song, commercials, videos and other outreach activities. We know that each community of students has their own vernacular, their own way to talking to one another. If we can teach concepts that support Positive Identity and a Commitment to Learning, then ask the Core students to communicate those ideas to their peers, we’re confident we’ll see, hear – and learn – new ways to communicate with teenagers.
Club 40 will kick off in a few weeks. We’ll keep you posted on progress.