Creating a Thriving High School Climate
Keith Hawkins has created different programs and speeches that will assist you in your mission to help your students and staff learn and teach in a healthy environment. Each program is designed to fit the needs of a high school student and give teachers the tools to help students thrive in education. Keith Hawkins has been speaking and creating programs for schools across North America for the past 20 years, he understands what it takes to create a culture in a high school where all students and teachers can be successful.
Connection, connection, connection is the key to a healthy school climate. We are experiencing more and more bullying and harassment in schools today at record levels. With the technology that all students are so familiar with bullying has grown to a new level. Students of all grade levels are experiencing isolation and a feeling that no one is there to talk to or to relate to. Students are turning to drinking, sex, and drugs to be accepted and feel like they belong by their peers. Some simply give up and turn to suicide. Their need for connection and acceptance is passed due and if we as adults don’t get a hold on this in the end we will all have to deal with the repercussions. Every program I offer helps teachers engage and connect with students and help students find the real value in their school mates. These programs will help build a healthy school climate and create a culture where everyone helps each other. When this happens teachers can teach and students can learn, and grow.
When administrators show great leadership their focus is on their relationship with teachers and students. What makes teachers so great is when they are empowered by their administration to do what they love doing, which is teach and help students. Teachers teach best when students have an expectation of themselves and see the value in what they are teaching. Students learn best when teachers are engaging and have a connection with their teachers. This can happen for your school if you focus on improving climate and culture. I guarantee that our programs will do just that.
Since 1992 I’ve been working with students around North America and I’ve seen the rise in bullying, harassment, separatism, and violence which affects everyone in education. If we are going to change this trend we have to start focusing on the whole student not just the education piece. We can help students but first we must validate their fears, concerns, and needs. My programs will assist you in doing this but you have to make the choice not to just react, but to respond with action.
High School Assemblies
Stepping up to the Challenge
Face it, we all have challenges especially as a teenager. Peer pressure, parent pressure, school pressure, and personal pressure. With all these pressures come the challenges that a young person might face: drugs, sex, violence, academics, social, and family. There is always someone asking me how I overcame my challenges. We know there is a way to overcome some of life’s toughest challenges, but the key is getting people to understand the steps it takes to overcome them. This is why I created the speech Stepping Up to the Challenge that describes the stages to self-worth.
First, remember the teachings of the people you respect and value. When you believe in a person with a strong character you soon will possess the attributes of a person with strong character. Second, is the power of belief. You must believe in yourself and your abilities because there will never be another human being like you, you’re amazing! Next, you must remember who you are and what you represent. It’s not just about you or me, it’s about all of us. Once you understand this stage you gain self respect and respect for others. Lastly, you need to be committed. Continue to strive to be committed.
These are my stages for overcoming life’s greatest challenges. I am an example of someone who looked up to people with character, believed in myself, remembered who and what I represented, and I walked the walk. Look, we all have challenges some harder than others. The true challenge is what are we going to do about it? They said I wouldn’t make it in life and I wouldn’t be successful because the challenges in school were paramount…they were wrong! We all can be successful if we Step Up to the Challenge.
The Power in Failure
So many times we are scared to fail because we view failure as something negative. The facts are: we all fail, you can’t go through life without failure, and if you don’t fail it means you are dead! Students are going to school stressed out today because of the pressure that parents, friends, society, and they personally put on themselves to be successful. A common theme I hear from my students is, “I don’t want to let down my parents.” This may seem like a good thing, but taken too far students will copy home work, cheat on tests, and even lie not to fail in school. I pulled one young woman up on stage and asked her in front of the whole school, “What is your relationship with your parents like?” I never forgot her response, “My parents love my grades more then they love me!”. I felt the audience of 2400 students sigh and then I watched many heads go down. There were many students who could identify with this young lady’s comment. Students today shouldn’t have to be afraid to fail and walk around school acting like they’re life is perfect. Failure is not an option, it’s reality, it’s a part of life, it’s how we grow, and get better. If we don’t realize and understand more students will quit and give up.
This keynote is very purposeful because it is so personal. There is Power in Failure because you learn what you did wrong and how to make it better. Students have so much potential, but so many don’t use it. They keep making the same poor choices and not understanding the consequences. No one is perfect and we all can make improvements, we just have to stop living with bad habits. So, many students learn to live with bad habits, those habits are hard to break, and they can also become part of your school culture.
When you learn from failure you learn not to give up! 33% of students are dropping out of high school (2008 census) not because they can’t do the work, they drop out because they fail at something and are too scared to try again, and try harder. Making comparison’s with others who they consider to be successful also causes students to give up. If students learn not to compare they can learn how to be happy with who they are.
When students fail or feel like a failure they need to learn how to forgive themselves and others. Too many of our students are lacking confidence, cutting themselves, and committing suicide because they can’t forgive themselves for something they failed at. I believe in order to have hope we need forgiveness. Students are dropping classes, quitting teams, and developing poor relationships because they feel there’s no hope. If our students had hope, they can give hope to other students, and even their teachers. Hope helps create a thriving student and a thriving school culture.
After this keynote your students will walk away knowing how to make better choices, live better habits, and to never give up.
Day of Understanding/Unity Day
Not a diversity breakdown, an inclusive climate builder.
A school environment is vital when it comes to a student’s success in his or her high school. The culture that is formed over time in a particular environment creates your climate in your school, and studies say that climate is a direct link to a student success. Much of a school culture is survival. Students are more worried about being accepted and feeling like they belong. Students go to school clinging to their social group for identity; this causes people to make comparisons. When you compare there is always going to be someone superior and someone inferior. This is what divides students and puts them into a state of separatism. When you are separate from your school or your fellow students you don’t feel connected. If you don’t feel connected, you don’t see value in your school, and if you don’t see value you start to disrespect the school. This is what tears down the climate in our schools and when the climate is not good students don’t value each other or their education. Almost 1/3 of all American teenagers dropped out of high school in 2008, not because they couldn’t do the work but because they didn’t see the value in the work that they were doing. This is why Keith Hawkins created Day of Understanding.
Keith will take 200 students from different social groups on campus and put them in an environment that helps them connect with each other as well as their school and their education. Keith will get your students talking about things that matter in their lives. When we talk about what really matters we see we are more alike than different. Your students will walk away with common value for each other, but more importantly they will see the value in themselves and their educational future.
Keith will give a powerful keynote on the topic of Understanding Someone’s Story! It’s near impossible to disrespect someone else when you know their story. Many times their story is just like yours and you realize they are dealing with the same things you are. Your whole student body will hear this powerful message of hope and understanding that will enhance their lives and make the school a place where students can really be comfortable.
Schedule for Day of Understanding
|Keith will give a powerful message of Understanding! One or two assemblies whatever are best for your school.|
|Keith will train your Day of Understanding Ambassadors.|
|Keith will facilitate your Day of Understanding for 200 students from random groups plus the 40 ambassadors and the two advisors.|
Keith will stay up to five days at your school so that each student has the opportunity to experience Day of Understanding.
“This is more than a diversity program or a powerful moment at your high school. Keith Hawkins will empower your students to own their school and become responsible for each other. My school climate has changed in so many ways. Students actually care about their education, and more importantly, each other!”
Patrick Keeley West Hills HS Santee, CA
Real Talk: Follow up to Day of Understanding
After the Day of Understanding Program you will see that your students want more. They feel like they have so much in common with their peers, they’ve made new friendships, they’re looking for a place to talk, and for someone to listen. This is why we created Real Talk. Real Talk is a place where students talk about everyday issues. During this time they know someone will be there to listen and to validate them as well. During “Real Talk” an advisor or a councilor will be present for adult supervision and emotional support. The advisor will be provided with a structural format and content for your students to create healthy positive choices in their lives. Real Talk helps you continue the mission of creating a school environment where students connect with each other, respect themselves and their peers, and value all people as well as their education.
HELP Mission: Bullying Prevention Assembly
What so many high school and middle school students lack is a sense of sympathy for each other. So many students are worried about themselves, that they fail to think about what happens to their fellow classmates. This culture has allowed bullies to prey on students because bullies know that most students won’t stop them from bulling other students. This culture doesn’t just hurt the victim, it hurts all of us in the end. I spoke at Columbine in 1999, six months after two seniors shot fellow classmates and teachers, killing thirteen people, including themselves. It’s horrific that anyone would do this. Everyone was affected, and it was the result of bullying.
We can stop bullying but we have to be willing to do something about it now, before it’s too late. I will challenge your school and everyone in it to HONOR each other! At best people want respect, but if you fall short of respect then you become disrespectful! Let’s honor each other. If you fall short of honoring someone, at least respect them. ENCOURAGE each other, we all need to be validated for the good things we do, and everyone can do something good. Encouragement helps build people’s confidence, instead of tearing it down. LEAD our friends to do what’s right, instead of doing what’s wrong. Our students would rather fit in, even if it means doing something wrong, than stand out for doing something right! The first part of leadership is to lead yourself; it’s harder to bully someone when they are a leader. Lastly, we must PROTECT each other. We are part of a family outside of school, but we should also feel that we are part of a family when we are in school. Families always take care of each other, they “have your back”, and are always there when you need them.
If this HELP Mission becomes a part of the culture at your school, then bullies will become the ones who are intimidated, rather than the students who come to school to just learn. If the culture at your school becomes a culture where we HELP one another, then the climate is brighter for all of us.
“Our school has never had an experience like we had with Keith Hawkins and his Help Mission program. So many schools around the country are dealing with bullying issues, but not having enough resources to help stop it, as an administrator sometimes you feel helpless. Administrators know that parents are busy working, demand on our teachers has increased, and students feel that there’s no one to turn to once they’re bullied. The Help Mission challenged our students to help each other, to honor, encourage, lead, and protect one another. This program gave my school direction, insight, and a mission to stop bullying.”
Mark Melton, Principal Yukon High School Yukon, OK
Freshman Orientation: TRL (Taking Real Leadership)
TRL Program in Action at Canyon High School in Anaheim Hills, CA
TRL is our freshmen transition program where seniors and juniors mentor incoming freshmen for the entire year. We have put together a freshmen orientation program that goes beyond one day. At the heart of this program are successful upper classmen who mentors your freshmen, these mentors are called ambassadors. What I found in other freshmen transition programs is that most of their mentors are chosen based on achievements, both academic and athletic, but the freshmen who are mentored are not always that type of student, so it becomes hard for the mentee to connect with the mentor, and follow their actions.
What freshmen desire in a mentor is someone they can connect with, a peer that can lead them and know where they are coming from. To be an ambassador for TRL the student should be a leader that has credible relationships on campus, empowers students to do what’s right, challenges their own attitude, and leads by example. The TRL program gives the advisor and the ambassadors the ownership to customize the program to fit their school needs.
Keith Hawkins will train your ambassadors and advisor’s for a full day before your freshmen orientation. Most of the training focuses on the ambassador / freshmen relationship and the advisor’s roll as a TRL program director. Your advisor and ambassadors will be given the necessary tools to face the challenging, but rewarding school year. Your freshmen will benefit from having a mentor that will listen, lead, challenge, and help them become successful students at your school.
Keith Hawkins will be the only one who will conduct your training and TRL day. Keith has been training, organizing, speaking at freshmen orientations across the country for the past 20 years, and is considered one of the most knowledgeable orientation consultant in our country and will exclusively be there to help your freshmen program thrive and create a process that can be life changing for your students.
Here is a sample schedule of our TRL Freshmen Orientation Day
7:00-8:00 Ambassadors set up for freshmen orientation.
8:00-8:15 Registration for the freshmen
8:15-9:15 Keynote and Teambuilding with the Ambassadors (mentors) and freshmen
9:15-10:15 Family Session One.
10:15-10:40 Activity Break
10:40-11:40 Family Group Two (Freshmen receive class schedules in small group).
11:40-12:15 Campus Tour
12:15-12:30 Closing Assembly
1:00-3:00 Freshmen receive ID’s, PE clothes, books, etc.
FOLLOW UP!!! For TRL follow up starting in September throughout the school year, Go to our Fresh Start Program for information.
“Keith has done our freshman orientations for the past nine years. His program really helped the climate of our school. We used to have freshman who were intimidated by the upperclassmen, now our upperclassmen have become mentors for our freshmen. We used to do our orientations which were good, but having a professional like Keith has made it excellent. His freshman orientation has taken the stress off of me and my staff.”
John Wilbur, Principal, Fillmore High School, Fillmore, California
“Reflecting on the 4 years you have facilitated our TRL Program, I want to thank you for the major impact you have had, and continue to have on our students. Canyon is indeed a special place – and you have helped to create the positive culture we have developed. You help students lay the groundwork for developing the relationships they will need to be successful in high school, and our focus on connecting the freshmen to the school is amplified and accelerated because of your work. We would not be who we are today without your influence and guidance!!
Greg Bowden, Canyon High School, Anaheim Hills, California
Fresh Start for Freshman
One of the most difficult challenges in high school is going from middle school to high school. You can have a great freshmen orientation (freshmen transition program) but what happens to the students once they are thrown into the population of high school? If a freshman is scared, intimidated, or lacks self confidence they will follow anybody, and “anybody” might have their own issues (apathy, immaturity, laziness, no expectations, etc). A freshman’s biggest fears are not being accepted, and feeling like they don’t belong. Unfortunately, some freshmen will do anything and everything to be accepted and feel like they belong. This is why the drop-out rate for freshmen is so much higher than any other grade.
Keith Hawkins will come to your school and address your students in an all freshmen assembly on the topics of Choices, Decision Making, Expectations, Integrity, Conflict Resolution, Self-Confidence, Attitude, Mentoring, Involvement, Character, and Habits.
Following the assembly Keith will do a workshop for your freshmen who are struggling or may be considered difficult to reach. Keith was an at-risk student during most of his schooling but that changed once his habits changed. “There are no bad students, just bad habits. If you change the habit, the habit changes you.”
In the afternoon Keith will do a workshop for all your freshmen leaders, students with positions of leadership, and those students who lead but don’t have a position. Freshmen leaders are critical to the culture of their class for the simple fact that freshmen are looking for identity. The freshmen leaders need to know how important they are to their class. They need to learn the skills of REAL LEADERSHIP. Real leadership is when you get others to follow your good choices so that we all can go further in our education.
We all make mistakes, and the faster we go, the more mistakes we make. Nevertheless, we all deserve a FRESH START. This program will give your freshmen the start that they need to build the foundation of their high school career. Here is a sample of the day:
|Potential Leaders Workshop (at-risk students)|
Follow up will be provided for each student who attends the workshops.
A student’s senior year should be filled with experiences that bring a class together unlike any other year. With trips, games, classes, teachers, and friends, a senior year is the closing of an exciting chapter that a student shouldn’t forget. I would say most students experience this, but many times this is not the case. Unfortunately, many seniors describe their senior year like this: “I can’t wait to get out of here! I can’t wait to get away from these people! I just want to graduate!”
Unfortunately this poor attitude becomes contagious and before long the senior class has become one that everyone would like to forget. Cliques become more evident, administration and staff notices a lack of enthusiasm from seniors, and the whole school feeds off this missing magic. As a speaker I see this too often, so I created the Senior Workshop.
The Senior Workshop is most effective in the fall so seniors can use the skills they learn at the workshop throughout the remainder of the year. Another benefit of doing the workshop in the fall is so the seniors can develop the relationships they make during the workshop.
During the senior workshop the following topics make it most effective:
|Reflect on what they have learned|
|Conflict resolution issues|
|Understanding of self and others|
|Creating new traditions that inspire|
|Mentoring and role-modeling for underclassmen|
|The value of all people|
|Working well with teachers and administration|
The senior class is a reflection of the whole school. A strong or weak senior class sets the tone for the rest of your students. Seniors are a major factor in your school culture and climate, so let’s do something about it. Leadership starts at the top. Equipping seniors with the skills to be responsible and accountable is the first step to improving school climate.
The senior workshop will provide an environment that will encourage your students to step up to the challenges of being a senior, as well as helping them create a year of memories with their classmates that will forever be cherished.
The evening before the workshop a training for the selected senior leaders is administered. The training is from 5:30-8:30 with dinner starting at 5:00. During the training the senior leaders will learn how to be facilitators for the next day. These skills will not only help them the day of the workshop but the rest of their lives as well. By making the senior leaders facilitators, it shows the senior class that they have ownership of their destiny.
“Every year Keith comes to our school and gets our students fired up and focused for the school year. He shares experiences and stories that our seniors can relate to. Keith is definitely one of the top youth speakers in our country. We look forward to having him each year.”
Sandy Hillman, Assistant Principal, Center Grove High School, Greenwood, Indiana
Boys to Men (Mentoring Young Men)
What scares me most is how many teenage boys don’t make it through high school. I see roughly 150,000 young men each year and most of them are searching for a blueprint of what they should be and who they could become. They look to entertainers or sports figures for an identity. The simple fact is, most of our teenage boys are growing up in homes where fathers work 24/7 to provide for their sons, or they are divorced so their sons don’t see them every day, or the father is missing all together.
“You take a father out of a home the son or sons will struggle, you take fathers out of a community you will have boys who don‘t know or understand what it takes to be a man.” If your school is dealing with immaturity, bad attitudes, apathy, violence, anger, bullying, teasing, poor choices, and distrust from your teenage boys it is because of the issues stated above. We can help these young men and I know this because I use to be one of these young men who acted like a boy in school when I need to act more like a young man.
I found someone who was a blueprint of what I could become and he showed me that my situation did not have to dictate my destiny. This person taught me skills to use in life and in school that helped me create good habits. These habits helped me grow into a man.
Keith Hawkins will give your students the skills to go from being a boy to being a young man.
Keith will conduct a three hour program for 150 of your male students. This program will include a powerful keynote on reality, a workshop on expectations for themselves and as a young man, and a teambuilding session on trust.
|Keynote on REALITY|
|Teambuilding on Trust|
|Break and Reflection|
|Workshop on Expectations|
I Own My Life (Mentoring Young Women)
Empowering girls to take charge
Because I grew up in a home with a single mom and a sister, and because I have a wife and daughter of my own, I feel personally connected to girls and women. There are so many teenage girls who don’t realize that it is their life and they are the one who is in charge of it. My mom gave birth to me at the age of 17 by herself with no father in sight. The illusion we had growing up was that my mom was strong enough to be the mom and the dad. The harsh reality is that if my mom owned her life as a teenager, instead of letting a teenage boy own it, we would have had a father. This is only one extreme, but what about when a girl is in a relationship that is physically or mentally abusive, or when girls compare themselves with other girls with appearances, and material things? My number one fear as a father is for my daughter to forget who she is and what she represents. My daughter, like other young girls, is beautiful, powerful, intelligent, graceful, smart, strong, and confident. It is one thing to say these attributes but it’s another for young girls to actually believe it. This is why I created a program called, it’s My Life!
This a program geared towards helping teenage girls through some of life’s difficult challenges as a teenager in high school. People always ask me, “What do you know about being a woman if you are a man?” I respond that when I want to know how to be an awesome dad I don’t ask dads, I ask teenage girls who have an incredible relationship with their fathers. I also ask married women to give me three things they love about their husbands so that I can learn to do those things for my wife. I am a guy, who grew up with a single mom and a sister, and now I am married and I have a daughter. I know women.
Keith Hawkins will give your young ladies a powerful keynote on Ownership. He will share with them the importance of expectations and give them the tools that will give them complete control over their destiny.
Keith will provide an incredible experience for up to 300 students. They will hear a keynote, participate in teambuilding, go through a workshop on leadership, have time for reflection, and come up with practical ways that they can share their experience with other teenage girls on their campus.
|Reflection and pay it forward|
Leadership is why I became a speaker. I’ll never forget all the camps and conferences that had speakers that had a huge impression on me. This is why this speech is so important to me. In my audience I might be speaking to the next Martin Luther King, Mother Theresa, or Ghandi. Whoever it might be I want them to walk away feeling empowered and know that they can make this world a better place. To do this you must Stand for Something.
During this speech students will understand why standing for something is so important. When you think of the saying, “stand for something” the first thing to come to mind are values. The way we develop values is through developing good habits. Character is next. If you don’t have character what do you have? Once a person develops strong values and character they become an effective leader. Effective leaders know how to build relationship with people and through those relationship people believe in them.
To follow is a choice and to lead is a gift. “What you know dies with you, what you share is immortal.” What are your leaders doing with their gift?
There are so many people looking for REAL leadership, leaders that don’t just talk a good game but play a great game, leaders that have values, integrity, purpose, and commitment. In order to learn these values we need to give leaders the tools to obtain, sustain, and follow through. The definition of leadership is “the ability to get others to follow.” Today’s leaders are struggling to get people to follow them, especially in high school and middle school. Many of the youth leadership organizations I work with are filled with students have a position of leadership, but most students are not following them. A majority of these leaders have a 3.0 or higher GPA, play one or more sports, are involved in a club or activity on or off the campus, and are rarely, if ever, sent to the dean for suspension or expulsion. These students are great leaders, but it is essential that our student leaders know that they can’t rely on a position of leadership to get their peers to follow them or to truly make a difference. We need to transform these leaders into what I call REAL LEADERS and give them the tools necessary to get their fellow students to follow them and do what’s right.
REAL LEADERS master four areas so that people can follow them: Relationships, Empowerment, Attitude, and Leadership. When it comes to leadership, everything starts with the relationship between the leader and the followers. Empowerment is the key to how people see you and how you see others. If you are not empowered, how can you empower people who should be following you? Everything starts and stops with leadership.
We can give your student leaders the tools to transform their position of leadership and turn it into Real Leadership! Give your students an opportunity to own their position of leadership by hearing a powerful keynote that gives students the tools needed to really make a difference as a leader.
I’m hired by many different types of groups for retreats and usually it’s when they’re in a crisis, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Most of the time leaders are brought together to be a team but too often never spend the time on forming the team and helping each other become better. These groups are formed with no teambuilding, no personality assessments, no expectations or agreements, and with no vision. Because of the individual talents we think they can perform at a high level and just get it done. This is why mid way through the school year leaders find themselves fighting and arguing with each other. The fighting isn’t due to any particular issue. It’s mostly due to the fact that they were never given a solid foundation that would help them be successful as a team. If you are looking for students who don’t get antsy after homecoming, who take initiative and act more like a family then you need a retreat.
During a retreat I bring your group together through interactive learning activities. Activities that will bring out the best and the worst of your students so that everyone can see what’s great and what needs to be improved. Your students will know the expectations you have of them because they will take ownership in creating those expectations for themselves and for the group. What are expectations if group members don’t agree with them? This is why each group member will sign off on all agreements that are created to help each person reach the groups expectations. I will help your group create a mission statement, a vision, and ways to accomplish their mission and create their vision. Each student will learn how to run a meeting, plan projects, and how to do their job effectively. Your group members will set short and long term goals, and will be given real tools so that they can reach these goals. Your students will walk away knowing their job, each group member, and the purpose of their particular group.
A retreat in the summer or during winter is vital for your group’s success. A retreat is somewhat like a family vacation. If you don’t take a vacation you get burned out! When you finally take that vacation the first thing you say is, “Why didn’t we do this sooner?”, “We need to do this more often.” Why? Because a vacation energizes you, prepares you, fire’s you up, refocuses you, and makes you feel good about the people you are with. A retreat will do this for your leaders and so much more.
Keith Hawkins also offers parent or community nights when he is in your area for more than one day. You can expand Keith’s message into the community by inviting your community and parents to take part in an hour long keynote covering communicating with teens and preteens as well the topics covered that day at your school. This is a great way to get more parent involvement. So many parents have good intentions when it comes to raising their children and although parents do their best, some realize they need more tools to assist them. Some parents have such a tough time raising their teenager they feel like giving up. My parenting workshop gives parents simple tools to aid them during this difficult challenge. When parents have real ways to communicate and understand their children they learn to stop majoring in the minors and focus on what really matters.
Through Keith’s work around the country, he hears many of the same complaints from teachers and administrators: students disrespecting teachers, teachers not relating to students, and staff morale low. If you feel these issues have effected your staff, an enrichment day is what you need.
During this powerful enrichment workshop, Keith focuses on creating real relationships with students and staff. The objective for the day is to find value in people and in your work place. Once value is established, your staff will take more responsibility and accountability for your school.
If we can reach this simple goal, it will create a better climate for your staff and students.
IN-SERVICE, RETREATS, WORKSHOPS, AND KEYNOTES:
Real Inspiration, Inc. guarantees that your staff will walk away empowered.