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Increasing School Connectedness for Healthier Kids

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School connectedness happens when students feel that adults and peers in the school care about their learning as well as about them as individuals. It is identified by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention as an important protective factor for young people. Research has shown that young people who feel connected to their school are less likely to engage in many high risk behaviors, including early sexual initiation, alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use, and violence. An analysis of the most recent California Healthy Kids Survey data for San Mateo County schools found that students who feel less connected to school are more likely to use alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. Through tools such as the county’s Restorative Justice Practices Toolkit, we can work to create a better school climate and improve social connectedness.

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