Bringing it in 42 Minutes: Best Practices for Improving School Partnerships
Our Nationally Recognized Model Program curriculum has been ‘pushed in’ to classes all across New York City for close to 20 years now. As we all know, over this same 20-year span, the climate of education has increased our attention on test scores and academic rigor while decreasing time spent on physical activity, character building, and social-emotional learning: the core of what our organization provides.
In 2016, when we do get the opportunity to partner with a classroom teacher during an academic class, we recognize the stakes to BRING IT during that potential 42-minute session. As we plan these partnerships with principals and teaching staff across the city, we uphold our responsibility to deliver seamless integration of the arts or leadership with each precious minute scheduled for the academic session. When it works, it’s magic! We see positive changes in classroom engagement, healthy prosocial behavior with peers, improved relationships with teachers and other role models, and even an increase in the sense of community and connection they feel in their class and in their school.
When it doesn’t, we revisit the questions below to ensure we are maximizing our potential to make an impact in the leadership development and decision making of the youth we serve.
- Is there a unified, engaging, and well-communicated partnership with the classroom teacher?
- Are we honoring the integrity of both the academic curriculum with the exploration of leadership concepts and social emotional discovery?
- How can we improve the integration of these concepts?
- How can we better support their academic goals?
- How can leadership or the arts invigorate or offer a new lens for them to examine their academic subject?
As the climate of education continues to change, it is vital that organizations designed to provide support services like ours continue to find ways to improve partnerships, delivery of service, and our ability to articulate our contributions and the magic we all know happens when the integration is seamless and the students are thriving. If we don’t, we will perpetuate the divide of school day versus after school services. Let’s continue our stride to be a vehicle to not only enhance what is happening in the classroom, but to support the personal development of each student on their path to academic success.
What are your best practices for the push-in classroom? What are your challenges? Share them in the comments section below—we’d love to celebrate your successes and help troubleshoot problem areas.