Friday, March 14, 2008

Asset building

I was visiting one of my Ward C schools today to attend a fairytale play put on by the grade 2's. It was very cute! I also spoke with the Principal about the challenges unique to this school: 50% of the students are special needs, 30%are aboriginal and they are 12th on the list of high needs. The depth and complexity of need could be overwhelming, but under the skilled guidance of the Principal and staff, the students are surpassing expectations. The Principal gave me some interesting research on Asset building (http://www.thrivecanada.ca). 40 assets are identified and there is an incredible correlation between the number of assets kids possess and their academic and social outcomes. It seems that possessing these assets is a better determinant than socio-economic factors, which neighbourhood you grow up in, or what your race/culture/ethnicity is. These assets can be added by a supportive environment (school, community, etc.) even if they are not immediately evident in the home environment. I wonder if a concerted focus on asset building might be the way to reach marginalized kids that are currently failing to thrive in our system. The question from the Principal was, "If this is added on, what gets taken off the plate?" A wise question. A wise man.

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