Guiding Convictions

Every child deserves to be surrounded by a culture of high expectations:

All students need to be surrounded by adults who have high expectations of them. However, many educators and community members limit their high expectations to students who come to school eager and ready to learn. Some have lower expectations of students who sit in the back of the room, disengaged, with their homework never completed. Others have lower expectations of low-income, rural, and minority students. Many of these students attend school in an environment in which no adults believe in them or expect much from them. This foundational belief invites educators and community members to have high expectations of all students.

Every child deserves a rich array of options for the future:

All students need to be aware of all available career and educational opportunities. This allows the student, with guidance from their parents, to make informed and meaningful decisions about the future. Unfortunately in many schools, various opportunities are not communicated to all students. For example, in some schools, only the brightest students are told about enrichment opportunities. In some high schools, only the best students are told about the most competitive colleges while only the weakest students are told about apprenticeship programs. This foundational belief invites schools to inform all students about all opportunities so they can make informed decisions about their futures.

Every child deserves rich educational and career guidance in order to define the pathways to the future options he or she chooses:

Every student deserves career and educational guidance in three areas: self-knowledge, educational and career exploration, and educational and career planning. According to Indiana school counselors, many students do not receive adequate guidance. They report that three groups of students receive more guidance: 1) Bright students who tend to self-refer, 2) students with behavior problems who are referred by teachers and parents who hope the counselor will fix the students, and 3) students enrolled in special education who receive guidance as part of their annual case review. Additionally, High hopes, long odds: A major report on Hoosier teens and the American dream, a study commissioned by Lilly Endowment, Inc., reported that Indiana students only remember receiving five minutes of guidance during the four years of high school. This foundational belief invites schools to provide a guidance system that guarantees sound guidance to all students.

Every child deserves a rigorous curriculum and rich teaching within a supportive environment to realize the options and pathways developed through the guidance process:

All students deserve the opportunity to master a curriculum that will enable them to experience success at the next educational level and eventually, success as a citizen and competitive worker within a global economy. According to D’Amico and Redelman in Great Expectations, “Even those students seeking s technical or vocational degree will need skills formerly expected only for a traditional four year college degree program." Yet, many schools do not provide all students with a rigorous curriculum. For example, some elementary schools place students in lower level reading groups instead providing adequate support to enable all students to master rigorous reading content. High schools often place students in watered down general math classes instead of requiring all students to take algebra and other upper level math courses with adequate support initiatives. Many teachers make it difficult for students to be successful in their classes by using only one teaching method and one assessment method rather than adjusting their instructional practices to meet each student’s learning style(s). In schools such as these, attendance is a higher priority than learning. This foundational belief invites schools to enroll all students in a rigorous curriculum with sufficient support structures to enable all students to be successful.