Get the Paper and the Trail
Integrated into our electronic curriculum (for grades 8 – 11) is advice that will help students make the best decisions possible as they move through middle and high school. We include suggestions about how they should gather as many recommendations as possible to acknowledge their accomplishments.
Of course, students can only gather recommendations if their behaviors and work products are worthy of same. So we ensure they know how their decisions and their behaviors can lead to success — or hinder their forward motion.
We also make sure they know that at every point along their educational journey, they hear from us about what constitutes appropriate behaviors, what defines outstanding effort, and what it means to strive for excellent outcomes. Consistently professional performance gives them the right to ask the adults they are working with to provide them with letters of recommendation. Adults rarely decline the opportunity to reward a hard-working teenager.
This ability to conform to standards demanded by others is often a hard lesson for teens to learn, but is critical for success. But learning how to be creative within defined constraints is a necessary skill that all workers will need — as is the kind of self-marketing one must do to be successful. The process they will need to use to secure written recommendations is one they are going to have to use routinely and helps them build their all-important professional networks.