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What Works Brief #4: School Connectedness

By Meagan O Malley, Angela Amarillas


Research shows school connectedness—students’ belief that adults at school care about them as individual learners and people—relates strongly to a variety of positive outcomes for youth.

Youth who are connected to school:

  • Attend school more regularly
  • Experience higher quality peer relationships and believe that their friendships at school are positive, supportive, and low in conflict
  • Have lower rates of emotional distress, including symptoms of depression and anxiety, both in the short-term and over the course of their young adult lives
  • Report lower rates of substance use, including smoking, alcohol, and other drug use

This What Works Brief, cowritten by Meagan O’Malley, former Research Associate at WestEd, provides strategies school staff, parents, and community members can use to improve students’ school connectedness.

Note: Developed by the California Safe and Supportive Schools (S3) Technical Assistance Center, What Works Briefs summarize state-of-the-art practices, strategies, and programs for improving school climate.

Based on the most current research, each of the ten briefs provides practical recommendations for school staff, parents, and community members and can be used separately to target specific issues (e.g., family engagement) or grouped together to address more complex, systemwide issues. What Works Briefs are organized into three sections:

  • Quick Wins: What Teachers and Adults Can Do Right Now
  • Universal Supports: Schoolwide Policies, Practices, and Programs
  • Targeted Supports: Intensive Supports for At-Risk Youth

In addition to Brief #4: School Connectedness, download these What Works Briefs:

Information about California Safe and Supportive Schools (S3) can be found at the S3 website.

Resource Details

Product Information

Copyright: 2012
Format: PDF
Pages: 5
Publisher: WestEd