The transition from middle school into high school is a critical period for future academic success for rising ninth grade students. During this time period, students - especially those from historically disadvantaged and underrepresented groups - may question whether or not they belong in their school environment.
We have partnered with a rural public high school in the state of Virginia to administer a novel video intervention targeting student perceptions of belonging. We are in the process of collecting data from our second cohort of participants to test if this brief intervention can improve students’ sense of belonging and academic performance, among other outcomes. Our analysis will be conducted in light of the violent, race-based rallies held by the alt-right in Charlottesville, VA just days after our intervention was implemented.
We will report our findings regarding the role perceived belonging plays in the context of secondary education, especially in response to race-based violence in the community. Initial results suggest the intervention increases perceptions of student belonging. If these results hold, we will focus on collaborating with our high school partner to integrate our intervention more fully into school curricula.