I learned recently from my network that a middle school principal had decided not to continue with the transition program. Why would this happen when student engagement can be defined as “The extent to which students identify with and value schooling outcomes, have a sense of belonging at school, participate in academic and non-academic activities, strive to meet the formal requirements of schooling, and make a serious personal investment in learning.” (Willms, Friesen, & Milton, 2009)?
We know what we need to do but why do we have such a hard time doing it?
Schools need a comprehensive, seamless web of care frequently termed a “full service” school (Dryfoos, 1994). Medicine, like education, has hot button issues. Health care systems in Canada and elsewhere are moving away from the traditional medical model. Patients are demanding more patient- and family-centred care and less paternalism. Clinics staffed by multidisciplinary teams are replacing the traditional family physician in solo practice. Of course, doctors will still play an essential role. The sands are shifting just as they need to do in education.
It is time to advocate for change, time to put more effort into prevention. Transformation of the education system will mean embracing new ideas rather than waiting to have them imposed. The school community will be healthier for it. There is work to be done!