Ask a high school student how they typically feel at school, and the answer you’ll likely hear is “alone,” closely followed by “stressed” or “sad.”
In a nationwide survey of 21,678 U.S. high school students, researchers from the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and the Yale Child Study found that “75% of the students’ self-reported feelings related to school were negative.”
The study, which appeared in the April 2020 edition of the Journal of Learning and Instruction, noted that how students feel at school has important implications for their performance and overall health and well-being. According to the researchers, “Students spend much of their waking time at school. Kids are at school to learn, and emotions have a substantial impact on their attention.”
Skyridge High School wants to make a difference in how students feel at school and positively impact their overall well-being. A new sign has been installed above the school’s front doors in hopes of making them feel included and accepted. The sign boldly reads, “You Belong Here.”
John Wallwork, principal of Skyridge High School, said, “We just put the sign up this past week, and the short story behind it is that we want everybody who enters our building to know that this is a safe and welcoming place. We want to continue to build a culture of pride in our school and inclusion so that our students and patrons get the message that they belong here.”
The message is being well received by students at the school.
Kira Gardner, a sophomore at Skyridge, said, “I think the sign is a great reminder that all of us should be helping each other feel like they belong.”
“The sign is definitely necessary because, as teenagers, we all sometimes struggle to feel like we fit in, so this is a good reminder. The sign alone can only do so much, so hopefully, it will inspire students to take action and include others,” she added.
Luke Brown, a junior, noted that “the sign makes me feel welcomed and wanted at Skyridge.”
The message of belonging is essential and hopefully will change how students and the community feel at Skyridge High School.
“The sign makes me feel grateful for my opportunity to attend a school and receive an incredible education. I’m grateful that I can belong in a place where education is valued and accessible to women,” said Zoe Barrus, a junior at Skyridge.
“I think the message is important for the student body, so they can feel like they belong in an environment where all aspects of their success are a priority. I believe this will make students feel more motivated and comfortable in their learning environment,” added Barrus.
School is a setting that can shape youth development, and withthe sign, Skyridge High School is working to make students feel safe and welcome. This could improve their academic success and how they feel every time they enter the doors.