In 2012, the Center for Efficacy and Resiliency began a school improvement project (Your Future Now) at Scriber Lake High School in Edmonds, Washington.
Funded by College Spark Washington, the goal is to create a culture of self-efficacy and resiliency, thereby increasing the number of low income students who graduate from high school and enter college.
Scriber Lake is an alternative school, often described as a “last chance” for most of its students. A few months earlier, narrative writing students at the school had published a book of their personal stories, titled We Are Absolutely Not Okay. Two more books and two plays followed, and the fourth student-authored book is in progress.
Although Your Future Now came to Scriber Lake after the first book was published, it has had an impact on subsequent narrative writing activities, including a curriculum designed around the Common Core Learning Standards. The writing instructor describes the project’s emphasis on resiliency as being “a crucial part of everything we do.”
The Scriber Lake culture has changed significantly since Your Future Now began two years ago. Suspension rates are down, adult/student power struggles are fewer, and students who once “just wanted a diploma” are now talking about college and making plans for the future. Adult-student conversations are also much less confrontational.
An article in the Seattle Times, ”Education Lab Blog,” features current narrative writing students at Scriber Lake. Although not mentioned specifically, Your Future Now has had a significant impact on how these students view and describe their pasts and futures. It illustrates clearly how a simple event here can become a game changer over there, which in turn affects the culture of an entire organization. A wonderful example of complexity in action.
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