Tuesday, January 29, 2002

Schools put new focus on kids' 'assets'

Middle school seminar lists ways to gauge success

By Sarah Buehrle
Enquirer contributor

        ANDERSON TWP. — Parents can gauge their child's probability of success — or high-risk behaviors — according to researchers at the Search Institute of Minneapolis.

        The institute identified 40 “assets” as critical factors for young people's growth. These assets include feeling safe in school, receiving high levels of love and support from family members, having a nonparental adult for support, and spending time in extracurricular activities or sports.

        At Nagel Middle School's third annual “Building a Learning Community” conference last week, William Croskey, psychologist for Loveland City Schools, said students who reported at least 26 assets had a high probability of success. Students who reported fewer than 10 were much more likely to be involved in troublesome behaviors.

        The Search Institute's survey of 100,000 sixth- through 12th-grade students in 213 cities found that 62 percent of students reported fewer than 20 assets.

        But parents and teachers can develop these assets in children, according to Mr. Croskey, school psychologist at Loveland for 18 years.

        “It didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that these things are important in kids' lives,” said Mr. Croskey, who uses the as sets system in his own work. “You almost want to panic sometimes because you don't know what to do, but this gives you something to focus on.”

        Though his seminar was geared toward teachers, Mr. Croskey said parents could use the checklist to prevent or change high-risk behaviors in children.

        Su Randall, counselor for Forest Hills Local Schools, said she plans to implement the assets checklist in parent study groups next year.

        “These assets give parents a way to help develop that deep core of self-esteem (in children),” Ms. Randall said. “That's how they stand up to negative pressure.”
       To learn more about the asset system, go online at www.search-institute.org or contact Mr. Croskey at croskewi@loveland.k12.oh.us.


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