Approaches to Support School Connectedness
Some classroom management approaches strengthen school connectedness. See below for example strategies, tools, and templates that school staff can use to apply these approaches in their face-to-face, virtual, or blended learning modes.
- School connectedness is the belief held by students that adults and peers in the school care about their learning as well as about them as individuals.
- Students who feel connected and engaged at school are less likely to report risky behaviors (such as early sexual initiation, substance use, violence, and suicide) and have more positive academic outcomes.1-6
- Classroom management is the process that teachers and schools use to create positive classroom environments in face-to-face or virtual learning modes.
- Classroom management includes teacher- and student-led actions to support academic and social-emotional learning among all students.7
- Well-managed classrooms that incorporate positive behavior management strategies are one way that teachers and other school staff can build school connectedness.8
Which classroom management approaches and skills increase connectedness?
CDC researchers reviewed scientific papers on classroom management and identified these classroom management approaches that promote student connectedness and engagement. Strategies to support these approaches were identified through a structured review of web-based practice resources.
There are other classroom management approaches that appear promising for promoting school connectedness and engagement, although more research is needed on the extent to which these classroom management approaches directly impact connectedness.
These approaches have been linked to increased school connectedness and engagement when combined with other classroom management approaches.
Instructional Monitoring & Support.
When teachers use instructional approaches that 1) monitor the needs of students and 2) explicitly focus on increasing students’ interest and engagement (combined with other classroom management approaches such as those reported above), students report higher levels of engagement and connectedness.9 -11
For example, when teachers demonstrated a number of classroom management skills including awareness and responsiveness to students’ needs (e.g., walking around the classroom and checking in on students) and maximizing students’ interest and engagement in learning (e.g., using interesting and engaging lesson materials & active facilitation), students were more likely to report a strong sense of peer community and school bonding.9
Students report higher levels of school engagement when teachers demonstrate a variety of strong classroom management skills and make classroom content useful and relevant to them.
For example, when students perceived that their teachers had high expectations for them and connected classroom content to their lives and future goals, they were more engaged and involved at school.12 Teachers may increase school connectedness by ensuring that all students from diverse backgrounds have opportunities to engage in content that includes individuals, communities, and experiences that reflect their own.
- Wilkins NJ, Verlenden JV, Szucs LE, Johns M. (2022) Classroom management and facilitation approaches that promote school connectedness. Journal of School Health. doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/josh.13279
- Steiner RJ, Sheremenko G, Lesesne C, Dittus PJ, Sieving RE, Ethier KA. Adolescent connectedness and adult health outcomes. Pediatrics. 2019;144(1).
- Marraccini ME, Brier ZM. School connectedness and suicidal thoughts and behaviors: A systematic meta-analysis. School Psychology Quarterly. 2017;32(1):5.
- Niehaus K, Rudasill KM, Rakes CR. A longitudinal study of school connectedness and academic outcomes across sixth grade. Journal of School Psychology. 2012;50(4):443-460.
- Carter M, McGee R, Taylor B, Williams S. Health outcomes in adolescence: Associations with family, friends and school engagement. Journal of adolescence. 2007;30(1):51-62.
- Griffiths A-J, Lilles E, Furlong MJ, Sidhwa J. The relations of adolescent student engagement with troubling and high-risk behaviors. Handbook of research on student engagement: Springer; 2012. p. 563-584.
- Lei H, Cui Y, Zhou W. Relationships between student engagement and academic achievement: A meta-analysis. Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal. 2018;46(3):517-528.
- Evertson CM, Weinstein CS. Classroom management as a field of inquiry. Handbook of classroom management: Research, practice, and contemporary issues. 2006;3(1):16.
- Hawkins JD, Guo J, Hill KG, Battin-Pearson S, Abbott RD. Long-term effects of the Seattle Social Development Intervention on school bonding trajectories. Applied developmental science. 2001;5(4):225-236.
- Gest SD, Madill RA, Zadzora KM, Miller AM, Rodkin PC. Teacher management of elementary classroom social dynamics: Associations with changes in student adjustment. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders. 2014;22(2):107-118.
- Cappella E, Hamre BK, Kim HY, Henry DB, Frazier SL, Atkins MS, et al. Teacher consultation and coaching within mental health practice: Classroom and child effects in urban elementary schools. Journal of consulting and clinical psychology. 2012;80(4):597.
- Kim HY, Cappella E. Mapping the social world of classrooms: A multi‐level, multi‐reporter approach to social processes and behavioral engagement. American journal of community psychology. 2016;57(1-2):20-35.
- Kiefer SM, Pennington S. Associations of teacher autonomy support and structure with young adolescents’ motivation, engagement, belonging, and achievement. Middle grades research journal. 2017;11(1).