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The Advocate

Originally published bi-monthly from 2007 through 2015, The Advocate provides education stakeholders with an array of resources designed to support and promote student activities.

Each issue includes:

  • A thought-provoking feature article
  • Research and ideas from experts in the field
  • Captivating infographic
  • Tools and resources you can use to take action and change educational reform equations in your community

Library of Past Issues

May 2015 »

Feature: Critical Links: Academics + Activities + Administrative Champions = Student Success
Be a Champion: Sailing club helps students build powerful connections with the great outdoors and provides them with valuable opportunities to develop real-world skills
Activity Connection: Through fitness activities and advocacy, SHAPE America is helping educators support a healthier student body
News of Note: A recent study reveals that high levels of school spirit are directly related to positive outcomes. It’s no surprise that student activities are a key factor.
Infographic: Quality Connections: Linking Clubs & Activities with Success

April 2015 »

Feature: Dream Weavers: Student Activities and Adult Champions Promote a Bright Future
Be a Champion: College Summit: Transforming Lives
Activity Connection: Add excitement to traditional activities and promote a positive climate by purposefully integrating your plans into the culture of your school
Make the Time: Arts integration provides students and their teachers with creative opportunities to connect with their classrooms
Infographic: The Value of Service

March 2015 »

Feature: Shaping Students of Character: Activities and Adult Role Models Are Essential Elements in the Education Equation
Be a Champion: An experienced activities director shares practical strategies for constructing a vibrant school community that gives all students a place to belong
Activity Connection: HOSA-Future Health Professionals provides students with opportunities to advance their leadership and professional skills through health-related studies and activities
Make the Time: Academics and activities make a winning team
Infographic: Technology Time Savers

February 2015 »

Feature: Making the Connection: Student Activities Improve School Climate and Promote a Spirit of Community
Be a Champion: School-wide service projects at a Texas high school engage the community and empower students to make a difference
Activity Connection: For students at Pojoaque Valley MS and HS, a combination of math and athletics provides the perfect mind and body workout
Make the Time: A principal and activities adviser provides unique insights into the important role that administrators play in supporting vibrant activities programs
Infographic: The Sky’s the Limit

January 2015 »

Feature: The Competitive Edge: Real-World Scenarios Build Skills and the Confidence to Succeed
Be a Champion: A physical fitness advocate uses the area’s natural resources to create an engaging after-school club
Activity Connection: An educator employs his own love of skateboarding to make science relatable, relevant, and fun
Make the Time: Activities organizations engage students in robust leadership experiences and support the development of marketable skills
Infographic: What Can You Do?

December 2014 »

Feature: Igniting a Spark: Student Activities Light the Way to a Bright Future
Be a Champion: You can help students make valuable personal connections to learning. Student Activities provide the relevance and affirmation to keep students engaged.
Activity Connection: Physical activity jump-starts student performance and serves as a springboard to academic success
Promote the Value: Speech & Debate actively engages students in hot topics and relevant curriculum
Make the Time: Small schools have higher levels of involvement from parents and the local community, and student activities groups work hard to strengthen these relationships
Infographic: Make the Connection

November 2014 »

Feature: Shaping Tomorrow’s Leaders: Community Connections + Meaningful Involvement Today = Student Empowerment
Be a Champion: Connecting a young person’s spark to student-led initiatives drives performance and sets the stage for success
Activity Connection: Fishing clubs allow student anglers to enjoy the great outdoors while reeling in new skills
Promote the Value: The impact of civic engagement
Make the Time: Americans for the Arts provides proactive tips for keeping the arts in our schools
Infographic: Common Sense Strategies for Expanding Activities

October 2014 »

Feature: Promote the Value: Heart Stories + Head Stories = Sustainable Funding Solutions
Be a Champion: Hands-on science projects inspire one student to share her enthusiasm for learning with others
Activity Connection: High school band boosts fundraising benefits by tuning into community needs
Make the Time: Cultural club celebrates ancestries while promoting leadership, service, and a positive climate
Infographic: Tell the Story: Student Activities Offer a Tremendous Return on Investment

September 2014 »

Feature: The Tools of Engagement: Mapping, Measuring, and Managing Student Participation
Be a Champion: A creative campaign inspires students to take a stand against negativity on social media
Activity Connection: Knitting clubs teach students valuable lessons about patience and perseverance
News of Note: Staying the Course: Relief for At-Risk College Students
Infographic: Let X = More Diverse Activities

August 2014 »

Feature: Setting the Stage for High School Success: Activities + Mentoring = Smooth Transitions
Be a Champion: Great expectations motivate National Honor Society students to become champions in school and community
Activity Connection: Literacy in Action at Oak View MS in MN
Make the Time: Business Horizons helps Iowa students connect the dots between classroom learning and real-world applications
Infographic: Turning Your Minutes Into Teachable Moments

May 2014 »

Feature: Core Values: Activities Offer an Instant Opportunity to Exceed Common Cstandardsore Standards
Be a Champion: Florida teacher relies on ingenuity and elbow grease to provide students with vibrant activities
Activity Connection: Creative problem solving intersects with common core
Make the Time: Simple acts of recognition can energize the efforts of student activities advisers and coaches
Infographic: Zen and the Art of Student Activities

April 2014 »

Feature: An Unforgettable Performance: Arts Integration and Advocacy Take Center Stage
Be a Champion: Tom Chapin uses music to make a compelling case for the arts in our schools
Activity Connection: Science Olympiad celebrates innovation
News of Note: Student leaders travel to Capitol Hill to promote the benefits of CTSOs
Make the Time: These service-learning resources can help students develop proactive solutions in the fight against hunger
Infographic: Let X = Athletics

March 2014 »

Feature: Rules of Engagement: Research Offers a Blueprint for Action
Be a Champion: Students promote positive climate one tweet at a time
Activity Connection: Jump rope teams abound with opportunities for student enrichment
News of Note: Creating a Culture of Hope
Make the Time: Teacher’s activity attendance helps to build valuable bonds with students
Infographic: Let X = Participation in the Arts

February 2014 »

Feature: When X = Student Activities, Social and Emotional Learning Becomes Integral to the Equation
Be a Champion: A California family experiences the benefits of student activities in action
Activity Connection: Peer mentoring supports the development of social and emotional skills
News of Note: Innovative science program falls prey to budget cuts
Make the Time: An innovative leadership program by NASSP/NASC shows administrators the power of the student voice
Infographic: Discover More Dollars Through Crowdfunding

January 2014 »

Feature: Take It to the Bank: Activities Offer a Guaranteed Return on Investment
Be a Champion: Teachers find sources of project funding through easy-to-use websites
Activity Connection: Student activities empower students to create lasting social change
News of Note: Advocates defend the case for high school sports
Make the Time: SkillsUSA gains valuable resources by building relationships in business and industry
Infographic: Making Better Choices

December 2013 »

Feature: Exponential Benefits: Service Learning Reaches Far Beyond the Classroom
Be a Champion: A Texas student council fights hunger with sustainable community service
Activity Connection: Service-learning program provides the perfect mix of STEM skills, service, and common core standards
News of Note: A simple application uses technology to help students find opportunities for meaningful service
Make the Time: Service Learning: The Benefits at a Glance
Infographic:Unintended Consequences

November 2013 »

Feature: Let X = CTSOs: Cocurriculars + Common Core = 21st Century Skills
Be a Champion: College and Career Planning Strategies
Activity Connection: An innovative challenge invites students to solve a problem using STEM skills, a mobile app, and lots of ingenuity
News of Note: A Boston school finds that a creative mix of arts and academics inspires students to attend college
Make the Time: Use technology to save time and reach students where they roam
Infographic: Success in College & Career

October 2013 »

Feature: Let X = More Diverse Activities
Be a Champion: Adviser takes a stand and convinces local school board that activities are indispensable
Club Connections: Film Club: Lights, Camera, Learn!
News of Note: Graduation rates are improving, but the outlook for students who do drop out is dire
Make the Time: Common Sense Strategies for Expanding Activities
Infographic: A Simple Matter of Dollars & Not So Common Cents

September 2013 »

Feature: Defining the Variables in the Student Activities Equation
Be a Champion: After-school programs provide enrichment in the midst of Philadelphia’s education emergency
Club Connections:  Inter-club councils facilitate cooperation between student activity groups
News of Note: Philadelphia students advocate for quality schools
Make the Time: Take Five: Turning Your Minutes Into Teachable Moments
Infographic: The Good News, The Bad News

August 2013 »

Feature: Defeating the Dropout Crisis: Intervention + Involvement = Reduced Risks
Be A Champion: Meet Sandy St. Louis, National Campaign Manager of FRONTLINE’S Dropout Nation
Club Connections: A street dance club provides unconventional opportunities for students to shine
News of Note: Bold action by one principal resurrects the arts and everyone wins.
Make the Time: Be a game changer in your community by hosting a community screening of the Alliance’s Solve for X video and FRONTLINE’S Middle School Moment
Infographic: Return on Investment

January 2012 »

Feature: Activity Involvement Prepares Students for College and Careers

Employability skills beyond the basics of the three Rs have often been cited by employers as the skills most critical to workplace success in the 21st-century economy. This article by Lyn Fiscus, founder of the Leadership Teacher website, details ways in which students develop the Four Cs – critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity – through participation in student activities.

January 2011 »

Feature: The Urgency of Youth Leadership Development: The Impact of the Wisconsin Association of School Councils’ Leadership Camp on the Lives of Participants

A ten-year longitudinal study by Dr. Michelle McGrath, executive director of the Wisconsin Association of School Councils, found that participation in the WASC Leadership Camp provided students with leadership skills necessary to be successful in their lives – both as students and later in their careers.

November 2010 »

Feature: Summer Workshops Stress Civic Skills

After observing activities at leadership workshops in four states, Alliance member Bryan Shelly, assistant professor at Wake Forest University, concludes that among the civic skills taught in these programs the twin pillars of workshops’ instruction matches two points scholars have found contribute to young people’s empowerment.

May 2010 »

Feature: The Five Forces for Student Engagement Explored: Desire

In part two of this series written exclusively for the Alliance, Steve Constantino, national expert in the field of engaging families in education, examines how the interaction of family involvement practices and peer relationships affects the engagement of individual high school students in both instructional and cocurricular settings

February 2010 »

Feature: The Five Forces for Student Engagement

A national expert in the field of engaging families in education, Steve Constantino examines how the interaction of family involvement practices and peer relationships affects the engagement of individual high school students in both instructional ad cocurricular settings.

November 2009 »

Feature: Social Skills, Student Activities in High School Pay Off Later in Life

A University of Illinois researcher finds that social skills developed in student activities are as important 10 years after high school as test scores for success in the workplace.

September 2009 »

Feature: The Untapped Strengths of 15-year-olds

Three factors that are enhanced by participation in student activities – finding and following a passion, or “spark”; finding one’s voice; and relationships and opportunities – provide young people the support they need to set and keep a positive course.

May 2009 »

Feature: The Research: Where It Is and Where It Is Going

After reviewing the existing research on cocurricular activity participation, Alliance member Bryan Shelly, assistant professor at Wake Forest University, concludes that cocurricular advocates need to take a back seat to no one in terms of the quality of the data that supports our position.

March 2009 »

Feature: Service Learning Engages Students and Addresses Root Causes of the Dropout Crisis

This report by Civic Enterprises details how service-learning projects – an important part of many leadership classes and student activity programs – address the root causes of dropouts and engage students of all backgrounds to learn and achieve.

November 2008 »

Feature: The Essence of Integrating Student Activities with Classroom Curriculum

Rather than isolating the curriculum from the competing demands of students’ lives, a variety of sources support the idea that educators should integrate the two by implementing and maintaining positive school activities as part of a rigorous and relevant educational experience.

September 2008 »

Feature: Get Smart: Cocurricular Activities and Academics

The three studies highlighted in this article are among the most rigorous of at least 25 studies on the link between cocurricular participation and academic performance. Almost every one of the 25 finds that such participation boosts a student’s grades, standardized test scores, chances of going to college, and numerous other measures of academic achievement.

May 2008 »

Feature: Study Finds Youth Development Programs Build Stronger Communities

Researchers have discovered that involvement in structured programs and activities during out-of-school time plays a critical role in helping young people achieve success. The Study of Positive Youth Development found the likelihood of success is greatest when youth regularly experience positive adult interaction and mentorship and are involved in youth development programs.

February 2008 »

Feature: Can Student Activities Save the United States? Robert Putnam and Social Capital

Wake Forest assistant professor Bryan Shelly reviews the research of Harvard Sociologist Robert Putnam, whose pioneering work, Bowling Alone, and follow-up work Better Together, with Lewis F. Feldstein, supports the value of student participation in cocurricular activities and the importance of strong activities programs.

December 2007 »

Feature: The Benefits of Student Leadership Programs

Programs that emphasize leadership skills and personal development are essential components to a middle school student’s academic achievement. Part 2 of this review of the research by Tracy Walker, activity advisor in Novato, CA, examines the benefits of a student leadership program to the students involved.

October 2007 »

Feature: The Value of Student Leadership Programs

Researchers have discovered a correlation between school connectedness and success in later life, including higher GPA, increased likeliness of receiving a college degree, and lower rates of drug and alcohol abuse. This review of the research by Tracy Walker, activity advisor in Novato, CA, examines the value of a student leadership program.

August 2007 »

Feature: Mentors Make a Difference

Advisors of student activities spend long hours with the members of their organizations, often developing strong relationships that extend beyond the typical student-teacher roles. A recent study by SADD and Liberty Mutual shows that natural mentors such as activity advisors greatly influence teens in many positive ways.





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