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Youth Development at Dryden

More About the Developmental Assets

Dryden has adopted the Search Institute's model called the 40 Developmental Assets.  This functions as a framework that provides a common language, a research-based understanding of the topic, and a bank of resources, including high quality surveys to better understand our students.  Visit here for more information from the Search Institute.


District Mission Statement



Key Information

What are Dryden schools doing to address the youth development aim in the District Mission Statement?

Besides the myriad of things already built into our education system (ie: character education, leadership opportunities, items included within the curriculum, etc.), Dryden has made a larger commitment to focusing on Youth Development through an adoption of the 40 Developmental Assets philosophy created by the Search Institute.  This adoption provides us a common language, and a research-driven framework, for understanding what can be a hard to measure topic.  Further, given the understanding this philosophy provides us, it helps give shape to our efforts to help our students increase the number of developmental assets they possess, and thus, increase their ability to thrive now and later in life.


What is a “developmental asset”?

These are positive experiences, relationships, opportunities, and personal qualities/skills that young people need to grow up healthy, caring, and responsible.  Essentially, the assets are key building blocks to make young people successful in life.


How did the Search Institute settle on these 40?

Through extensive national and international polling (over 4 million children) and further research, these 40 were identified as the key ones, with strong correlations to healthy youth development in the long run.  The more of these particular assets a child possesses, the less likely they are to engage in risky behaviors and the more likely they are to thrive.


What work has been done so far?

-4th, 7th, and 11th grade students have been surveyed each year starting in the 2014-15  school year
-District staff have been presented with the thought-provoking findings from student surveys and have been provided training on the 40 Developmental Assets philosophy

-"Bite-sized" professional development has been periodically provided to teachers to keep us mindful of the whole child  throughout the year, truly making this a long-term commitment over a one-time emphasis

-MS and HS students have been assessed to see if they have positive adult relationships in the school

-We have promoted the good things our students to do the community to improve their view of young people

-Student community service opportunities have expanded

-Students have been brought into the conversation on survey data and what we can do to build assets for the student body


A solid foundation has been laid, but we are looking to go from understanding, planning, and laying ground work to achieving results!  This will take a whole-community approach.


What work is coming?

As we continue to integrate youth development as being "business as usual" at Dryden and not just a side-focus, we are looking to task our Site-Based Teams (staff and parent committees at each level) with taking on a key issue or two of choice each year to work on.  We are also involving students directly in looking at the data and working at making positive changes.  The K-12 Dean will continue to: 1) Survey students annually, and analyze the data, to continually update our understanding, 2) Offer professional development items to staff on youth development, and 3) Take on initiatives that aim to help build assets in our students. 


What can I do?

1) Realize that you play a HUGE role in the youth of our community reaching their potential

2) Seek ways to be an "asset-builder" for our youth--find ways to encourage and mentor young people; provide them opportunities to lead and exercise their strengths in meaningful ways; set a good example for them; advocate for public policies and organizations that will help them...in short, invest in them!  Many more asset-building tips can be found on the right of this webpage.

The 40 Developmental Assets

What things can I do to be an asset builder?

A great parenting item from the Search Institute

Parenting is a tough job...but it may be the most important one you'll ever do.  Coming out of the 40 Developmental Assets model, the Search Institute has developed a parenting resource called Parent Further.  This interactive webpage provides short self-quizzes to reflect on your child's strengths and needs and gives tips for how to help them.  You can visit it here.

Presentations and Handouts