Role Models Can Show the Power of Quality Relationships

Portage-Township-Schools-LogoPortage Township Schools has been focusing on the 40 Developmental Assets provided by the Search Institute for the past several years. These assets are proven to influence positive youth development relative to academic, social and emotional success. As a school district, we continue to build students' asset repertoire by partnering with the Portage community to create opportunities for the growth and development of our students. This initiative ultimately impacts our students' ability to achieve happiness and success in life. We remain committed to asset building because the research of the Search Institute clearly addresses the deliberate effort to engage all positive adult role models in our community to encourage our students to participate in choices that lead them to success rather than a path of at-risk behaviors.

A recent study from The Search Institute has focused on the roles of all individuals engaged in various capacities as role models impacting youth development. The Developmental Relationships focuses on twenty actions that are deliberate acts of adults who positively impact the lives of our future. These twenty actions are intentionally written from the student perspective in order to give their needs a voice. No matter the role of an adult in the life of a student, the ability to engage in these actions provides the academic, social and emotional support that will lead students down the path of success now and in their future. To state it simply, it takes the entire Portage community to enhance the lives of our 8,000-plus students. In the end, investing time to build relationships that provide guidance, encouragement and high expectations for success will change the game for our kids.

The Search Institute describes the importance of their latest research by stating, "A developmental relationship is a close connection between a young person and an adult, or between a young person and a peer that powerfully and positively shapes the young person's identity and helps the young person develop a thriving mindset. A thriving mindset is a multi-dimensional construct and the subject of ongoing Search Institute research. A thriving mindset can be summarized as the orientation not just to get by in life, but to flourish — not just to survive, but to thrive."

The Developmental Relationships Framework:

  • Express that you CARE. Show that you like me and that you want the best for me.
  • Be Present
  • Be Warm
  • Invest
  • Show Interest
  • Be Dependable
  • CHALLENGE growth. Insist that I try to continuously improve.
  • Inspire
  • Expect
  • Stretch
  • Limit
  • Provide SUPPORT. Help me achieve tasks and achieve goals.
  • Encourage
  • Guide
  • Model
  • Advocate
  • Share POWER. Hear my voice and let me share in making decisions.
  • Respect
  • Give Voice
  • Respond
  • Collaborate
  • Expand POSSIBILITIES. Expand my horizons and connect me to opportunities.
  • Explore
  • Connect
  • Navigate

As adults, we know that investing the time and effort into positive youth development will lead to success in college and career readiness, and will undoubtedly foster their ability to be contributing, productive members of society.

Written by Amanda Alaniz - Principal at Central Elementary School, Portage, IN