Creating a high expectations culture is one of the most important commitments we can make to support Arizona’s students, and everyone has a play a role.
Research shows a link between expectations and motivation. Expectations – whether they are set by a teacher, parent, grandparent, coach, employer, or other influential adult – often become a self-fulfilling prophecy. In other words, if we set high expectations, students will rise to meet the challenge.
We also know students with actively engaged family members are more likely to do well academically and go on to college or other postsecondary program. For parents or grandparents, setting high expectations means making education a family priority; setting goals around completing some type of education or training beyond high schools, and committing to be actively engaged in the child’s education at every stage.
When teachers have high expectations for students and provide tasks that are engaging and of high interest, students build self-esteem, increase confidence and improve academic performance.
Consider these great student success stories from Southern Arizona:
- Alondra is a senior at Pima High School. She is a very motivated student with a passion to help others. Alondra has been very active in the GEAR UP program at her school and has also spent many hours doing community service as a member of Students Against Drunk Driving and other teen outreach programs in Graham County. She is active in her church and a role model for younger students in the area. Alondra plans to attend Eastern Arizona College and major in Business Administration, with hopes of joining AmeriCorps before finishing her education in Non-Profit Management at Arizona State University. She will be the first person in her family to graduate from high school and pursue post-secondary education. Alondra credits her parents and teachers for helping her find her passion and assisting her in making her dreams become reality.
- As of last year, Cynthia was not on track to graduate from high school in Sahuarita. However, thanks to programs at her school such as Weekend Academy and Grad Lab, as well as the support of several educators, Cynthia will graduate this May. At a recent “Student of the Month” Luncheon, Cynthia and her mom emotionally thanked the school and teachers for helping motivate her and help get her back on track.
- Vincent is a senior at Baboquivari High School in Sells, AZ. He is excited to graduate this year and plans to attend the University of Arizona in the fall to pursue a career in the engineering field. Vincent and his girlfriend became parents this past school year, requiring him to juggle school and parenthood, which he has done successfully. Vincent will be the first person in his family to attend a four-year university. Vincent credits his mother with his success, saying she motivated and inspired him the most to do well in school, even throughout many of his challenging times.
- Jozy has lived with her grandmother for years as her parents are in Mexico. She is about to graduate high school in Douglas, AZ and will attend Cochise College in the fall. No one in her family has graduated from college. When asked who the positive influences have been in her life, Jozy credits Mr. Danny Ortega, the mayor of Douglas. Jozy is employed part-time at Ortega’s Shoes and, recognizing she was a good worker, Mr. Ortega offered regular support and encouragement to do well in school and attend college.
- Marilyn recently graduated from Pueblo High School in Tucson. She was born and raised primarily in northern California. As a young child her home life was normal, but at one point, her father developed a drinking problem which led to abuse and neglect. He tried more than once to get rehabilitated, but after one relapse too many, Marilyn’s mother decided it was time to go. Her parents divorced and at the end of Marilyn’s freshman year of high school, she moved to Tucson with her mom and brother. For a while, they shared a one room apartment with her grandparents. Marilyn slept on the floor many times and often did her homework on the bathroom floor because of the limited room. Her mom worked five part-time jobs to support Marilyn and her brother children. Not only was Marilyn dealing with the stress of her living situation, but she had to get used to being at new school. As she progressed through high school, Marilyn not only maintained a 3.5 GPA, but became the president of her DECA club and a peer mentor for elementary students. During her sophomore year of high school, she became a cadet with the Police Explorers, a youth group affiliated with the South Tucson Police Department. She eventually working her way up to lieutenant, overseeing 45 police cadets. Since her junior year, Marilyn has also maintained four part-time jobs so that she can contribute to her household and purchase her own car. She has received numerous academic and community awards over the past few years. During her senior year, Marilyn was accepted to the University of Arizona and earned scholarships to cover 98% of the cost. She plans to pursue a career in law enforcement. Marilyn’s grandmother is quoted as saying, “Your education is the only inheritance no one can take away from you.”
Expect More Arizona seeks to build a culture of high expectations throughout the state, ultimately ensuring more students graduate from high school ready to succeed in college, career and life. We are happy to provide parents and others with information, tools and resources to help them stay engaged and ensure their students are prepared every step of the way.
Click here to find simple, daily actions you can take to support Arizona’s students, and be sure to sign up to join the movement for world-class education in the top right sidebar of this page.