Empowering Students: Fostering Self-Discovery, Contribution, and Leadership – Event Recap

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This week, Possip hosted Empowering Students: Fostering Self-Discovery, Contribution, and Leadership. 

This was the third and final session in our series that examined Possip data through the lens of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. To review, the hierarchy is a pyramid that illustrates the different levels of human needs. The lower levels include the needs we have for physical survival, like food and safety. Once those basic needs are met, our needs are more relational. Moving to the top of the pyramid, we have needs of self-esteem and self-actualization. 

This event centered around how schools can help students feel empowered, motivated, and proud of themselves and their growth. 

Overview of Possip

Possip offers a unique platform enabling schools to engage with the voices of families, students, and staff members through quick, text-based surveys. We know that being in relationship with families – asking for their input and feedback – is vital. With family feedback, schools have a better understanding of what enhances the school environment, directly impacting student well-being and achievement. In this session, we looked at the trends we see in family comments about their child’s need for self-esteem and self-actualization and what schools can do to foster self-discovery.

Enhancing Self-Esteem in Schools

The webinar emphasized the pivotal role of self-esteem in student development. It highlighted how acknowledging students’ accomplishments and positive traits can significantly boost their confidence and sense of belonging. Strategies such as personalized recognition and celebrating small victories can create an affirming atmosphere. These strategies encourage students to take pride in their individual and collective achievements.

Listen as Jessica Talbot, Principal of K-4 at Explore! Community School, explains some of their strategies to help kids build their self-esteem. They recognize and track different ways students exhibit achievement and positive behaviors that reflect the school’s core values:

Fostering Self-Discovery and Self-Acualization

Next, the panel discussed self-actualization, or helping students reach their fullest potential, as the ultimate goal of educational leadership. The session outlined the importance of providing a variety of extracurricular activities and creative outlets that align with students’ interests and talents and foster self-discovery. This not only aids in the development of a well-rounded individual but also ensures students are engaged and motivated to explore their passions. In addition, school guidance counselors and leaders have a special opportunity to help students discover their passions while cultivating self-advocacy skills and confidence.

Listen as Alyssa Collins, former Assistant Principal of a New York City high school explains how they encouraged students to develop relationships with school leaders and advocate for themselves:

Actionable Strategies for Fostering Self-Discovery and Empowerment

The webinar concluded with actionable recommendations for school leaders seeking to expand their strategies to recognize, incentivize, and support students as they explore their interests. Key suggestions included:

  • Establish clear student recognition plans that are achievable and sustainable throughout the school year.
  • Celebrate diverse achievements across academic and extracurricular spheres.
  • Consider weaving experiences into the school day to ensure access for all students, especially those with transportation challenges.

Listen as Shani Dowell, Possip’s CEO, reviews several of the strategies the panelists described at their schools:

We hope this summary provides valuable insights and inspires actionable changes in your school. Together, we can create environments where every student has the opportunity to thrive, both personally and academically. 

Quick links to previous sessions and resources: 

To watch the full event recording and access the resources shared with attendees, please visit our Membership Portal.
Join us for our next free webinar, Creating a Crisis Communications Toolkit, on Apr 25 at 11 CST. Led by Janel Lacy and Kelli Gauthier of Chorus, a strategic communications agency, the session will review strategies to anticipate potential crises and communicate effectively in the moment. Learn more and register here.