A Solution Focused Approach
Imagine a high school where students are in control of their destiny. Imagine a high school that believes that a student's environment and past history does not have to decide his or her future. Imagine a high school that teaches that a student's family problems or neighborhood do not have to dictate their personal success in school or work. Imagine a high school that considers a student's personal adversities and life difficulties as strengths that they can harness for their personal betterment. Imagine a high school that inspires hope and teaches that the small steps that a student takes can lead to big changes in their life. Imagine a high school where each principal, teacher, social worker and staff member are convinced that every student has capacities that can be built upon to assure a positive outcome for that student. Imagine a high school where at-risk and dropout youth attend school, graduate from high school, and successfully transition to college and work. Imagine Gonzalo Garza Independence High School, a solution-focused high school, where dreams come true.
From "Whatever It Takes: How Twelve Communities Are Reconnecting Out-of-School Youth," Martin & Halperin, American Youth Policy Forum, 2006
What is the Solution Focused Approach in Education?
Garza Independence High School is pioneering the solution-focused approach to dropout prevention and successful work and career transition. "Brief, Solution-Focused Intervention" is a mental-health model that was developed by clinical social workers and family therapists from the Brief Family Therapy Center in Milwaukee. It has evolved over the past 18 years in the context of working with multi-problem, impoverished and hard-to-reach individuals and families who sought help at counseling and social-services agencies. The solution-focused model is a strengths-based helping model that offers specific skills and change strategies for enabling and facilitating positive future behaviors. It is future-oriented and goal-directed, and offers a set of well-defined and easy-to-learn intervention methods that focus on making changes in people's perceptions, behaviors, and social environment.
The solution-focused intervention model offers all school staff specific skills for fostering strengths in students. In the school setting, for example, practitioners assisting students use the solution-focused intervention skills to help students to develop an image of a realistic solution; discover the ways in which the solution is already occurring in their lives; determine small, measurable goals toward the solution; and take immediate steps to make a difference in educational and life outcomes.
Recognized for our Solution-Focused Approach
Imagine a high school where students are in control of their destiny. Imagine a high school that believes that environment and past history do not decide a student's future. Imagine a high school that teaches that a student's family problems or neighborhood do not have to dictate personal success in school or work.
Imagine a high school that considers a student's personal adversities and life difficulties to be strengths that can be harnessed for the better.
— An excerpt from Principal Webb's book Solution Focused Brief Therapy in Alternative Schools: Ensuring Student Success and Preventing Dropout