School-Connect®: Optimizing the High School Experience is implemented in a variety of ways within high schools and youth organizations. This section describes implementation options, beginning with the most widely used, and provides links to real-life “school stories” that exemplify different approaches.
Before selecting or designing an implementation plan, consider which elements best lead to student engagement and attitudinal and behavioral change:
Amount and Frequency of Lessons
School-Connect is best implemented two to five days a week within a classroom setting. Lessons are designed for one or two 45-minute class sessions, but may be broken up over several days to fit into shorter sessions, such as advisory. Allow time for teachers and students to discuss homework assignments and their experiences in applying skills learned in the program to real-life situations. While schools with time constraints may need to pick and choose lessons to present, they should keep in mind that the curriculum is developmentally sequenced—the more lessons covered and the more closely the proper order is followed, the better the outcome.
Teachers presenting the lessons should be comfortable with the concepts and strategies they will impart to students. Ideal presenters possess and apply many of these skills in their own life and see personal development as an ongoing, lifelong process—one that is both rewarding and enriching. Presenters, therefore, should be willing to work on skills they need to improve in themselves. This requires a certain amount of openness, humility, and humor on the part of teachers as they share the ups and downs of becoming socially and emotionally literate. Administrators should select presenters on this basis, rather than on which teachers are available to teach the course.
As long as a school meets these conditions for dosage and presenters, the program can find a “home” in different types of courses.