In a small school, there is an assumption that everybody knows everything about everyone. The reality is more complex; sometimes even students who appear to be very social may not have people they trust and confide in at school. Enter the “Connect the Dots” survey, an activity designed to identify and support meaningful relationships. The “Connect the Dots” survey acts as a key way to analyze the connections between students and adults, and possibly see if some students are going unnoticed in the community. Because of this, students should appreciate “Connect the Dots” as it shows that the adults in our community truly care about issues that students face.
Surveys were sent out to students and adults during advisory last Wednesday. The adults received a survey where they only could dot a limited amount of students, while the students can select or “dot” an unlimited number of adults, allowing them more flexibility to think about their relationships. And while the survey may have seemed vague and out of the blue, the goals of the “Connect the Dots” activity are specific and show how caring adults in the community support students beyond the classroom.
“Connect the Dots” asks students to identify teachers they trust. After the data is collected, it is then analyzed allowing adults to know students who chose them, and students who may not have as many connections.
Whether students fully understand the process or not, appreciate the “Connect the Dots” survey. In a time when adolescent loneliness makes headlines and depression and anxiety may be at an all-time high, prioritizing connections at school reflects a desire for every student to feel seen and valued in the community. Without connections, students could feel like they have no one to talk to, making them feel lonely. In 2014, a study came out stating loneliness as a factor in many issues such as depression and sleep problems. in the UK, a different study found that depression and anxiety in teens has risen 70% since 1991, and rates have doubled since 2009. Because of this, “Connect the Dots” is beneficial as it helps to identify students who might be more susceptible to the feeling of loneliness in the community. For a long time, issues such as these have been passively talked about, however, “Connect the Dots” serves as an active way to fight against these issues by helping students to either find, or recognize, a collection of adults in the school that they can trust.
Although students will not see the data and teachers see just a limited piece, “Connect the Dots” provides a tangible, measurable way to see if perceptions of how each person moves through the school day match their true experience. Overall, this survey provides the opportunity for students to either find or recognize a collection of adults in the school that they can trust, and all it took was connecting the dots.