The principal of Oakley Elementary, Penny Peacock, wrote a letter in June 2012 to sum up her experience with implementing the Connection Practice:
“As a principal, I am always searching for new programs that will help our students be the best that they can be emotionally, socially and academically. I opened a new Title 1 school [a school with a large low-income student population that receives government funds] last fall, with students from four schools coming together. They all came with their own set of needs, all of which were a mystery to us. My priority was to develop a foundation that would allow for trusting relationships among students, teachers and administrators. A successful foundation would launch new possibilities of academic success, friendship and safety, and the hope for the American Dream.
…We started with hope, but we ended with a sense of awe and gratitude. Through the Connection Practice, teachers and students of all age levels learned how to reduce barriers and gain insight, which empowered them to bridge the gaps and make social, emotional and academic connections within our building and to the outside world. The program provided the tools, but the awe factor was in watching the students begin to own it and use it in their own lives.”
The Connection Practice builds character in students as they learn to overcome challenges and take responsibility for their actions. Through connecting, there is a better chance that students will admit negative behavior was harmful, learn from it, and want to make amends. Consequently, it’s more effective than harsh punishment.
The Silent Epidemic - Perspectives of High School Dropouts, a study conducted for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, concluded that lack of connection within the school environment is one of the primary reasons that students drop out. When students use the Connection Process Game every day, they feel heard and experience a heightened sense of belonging that is the best antidote to that modern day problem.