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Let's Give Bill Some Help

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Motivation Matters reader Bill Betzen of Dallas has requested some feedback about a middle school initiative to improve student motivation and academic achievement. The initiative is called The Middle School Archive Project: Student Motivation and Dropout Prevention and it aims to get kids to think more about what they would like to achieve in the future and how to get there.

In a recent comment on this blog, Bill asked for feedback on what you like or don't like about the initiative and how it might be improved.

So, let's give Bill some help. Check out the initiative and then let's start a discussion here about what is good, or not so good, about the project.

I am sure Bill would appreciate your feedback.

1 Comment

Subj: Sex Ed & Life Goals
Date: 11/11/2007 1:13:10 P.M. Pacific Standard Time
From: BBetzen
To: [email protected]

(Here is a letter to the editor sent in responding to other benefits of long range planning.)
Providing objective information & discussion is necessary to any Sex Education program. However, for teachers to take on "convincing teenagers to delay sex" is working for a conclusion teenagers do much better for themselves. Teachers can only add a method to help students explore and record goals in their own lives, before a pregnancy forces such a decision. Adolescents must decide on their own life goals. Teachers can only help that process happen.

Three years ago our middle school started a project to help students in considering & recording life goals. It is a 10-year time-capsule/class-reunion program, the Archive Project. It involves a 350-pound vault bolted to the floor in our school lobby, under spotlights. This archive holds letters 8th graders write to themselves. (Google "dropout cure.") Students know that at their 10-year 8th grade class reunion they will retrieve these letters from the vault, and be invited to speak with then current students about recommendations for success. They prepare for questions from decade younger students like: "Would you do anything differently if you were 13 again?"

Pondering such questions now will not only lower unplanned adolescent pregnancy rates. Dropout rates and other negative behavior rates will also go down.

Bill Betzen, LMSW (Emeritus)
Computer Applications
Quintanilla Middle School

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