Let Them Come Home

In order to be supportive, educators and administrators must foster relationships and encourage students to come back and reconnect.

Photo of Clint Heitz

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Since I have joined my recent educational family at Bettendorf High School, I have seen numerous examples of what it means to truly believe in "Student's First" as a mindset. There are programs upon programs to reach out to students to build relationships, provide support, and encourage in pursuing their passions. However, one of the things that stands out the most is the Bettendorf High School creates a welcoming environment that encourages our alumni to return as they go through college and enter the world beyond. 

By creating a welcoming environment, a home for alumni to return to, we provide a foundation for support that gives students someone to come back to for guidance, support, and resources. Whether we have athletes like Pat Angerer return to work with students, activists like Silentor Esthil-Henderson reach out to our students to support education in Haiti,  students contact us for help on assignments and portfolios, or students on break from college return to use the strength and conditioning facilities, I have seen our graduates return countless times. We have created a home here. We have created a place where students feel they can come back and feel welcome. 

So, we need to support programs and processes that build relationships with our students and establish that open door after they graduate. We need to provide educators with the time and support to help them create those lasting relationships, promote student achievement, and interact on an academic and personal level. 

[Optional] Synthesize a little! In one sentence, describe what you learned from your empathy exercises or analogous research. (Ex: Good advisors make a difference.)

Relationships are the foundation of any support system.

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Photo of Chris

Clint, This is excellent. I recently had a conversation with a school district that views the future of high school as a hub where students return many times in the course of their lives to seek new paths, reconnect with the community, or give back to the students that follow. Love this and am excited to see how this might take shape in the Ideate phase!!!!!

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