California Adopts the Term “At-Promise”

California Adopts the Term “At-Promise”

As many of you who have heard Larry Bell speak in the past know, Larry encourages educators to refer to students that are facing particular challenges as students that are “at-promise” rather than “at-risk. ” He has done so for the last 20+ years because he believes that it is essential for the teacher to consistently recognize the students’ potential rather than focusing on their deficits. When a teacher puts potential first they tend to have higher expectations for the students. As you know, high expectations lead to increased achievement!

Well, due to the efforts of an organization entitled RAPSA (Reaching At Promise Students Association) and SIATech, as well as the work of Assemblyman Jones -Sawyer and many other legislators and educators in California the legislature passed and the Governor signed into law a change in the education and penal code that would remove the term at-risk and replace it with “at-promise.” This action will help educators see the importance of how we perceive and approach our students.

This all started several years ago when SIATech (Charter schools that provide recovery programs for students who have dropped out of high school) held a conference and invited Larry Bell to present. When Larry spoke at the conference the people there heard what he was saying and adopted the term “at-promise” as well. However, they took Larry’s idea even a step further and formed RAPSA the Reaching At-Promise Student Association. These amazing educators were committed and passionate about this concept. They have worked tirelessly to put this idea into law and with the help of Assemblyman Jones-Sawyer and many others this became a reality.

We congratulate RAPSA, SIATech, Assemblyman Jones-Sawyer and all those that worked to pass this bill. We encourage all educators to adopt the term ”at-promise” and integrate strategies into their daily teaching that help communicate high expectations for all their students. 

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