Harbor S.A.I.L. Sets the Course for Positive Youth Development
Test prep, in and of itself, provides virtually no opportunities for intellectual discovery. What is needed for students to succeed—academically, professionally, personally, and socially—is an intentional approach to acquiring, applying, and demonstrating knowledge.
In communities where families are poor, have low educational attainment, are recent immigrants, or are otherwise disadvantaged and overlooked, there is a persistent problem in public school education that goes beyond standard measures of success. It is not just about test scores in Math and English Language Arts. It is not just about truancy, delinquency, and low graduation rates.
The problem is a public education system that no longer addresses Positive Youth Development as an intended outcome.
Positive Youth Development is an intentional approach that provides ways for youth to enhance their interests, relationships, and abilities. This approach has been proven to help students learn responsibility, independence, and discipline: three key supports to build their internal leadership strengths.
At Boys & Girls Harbor, we approach Positive Youth Development through a unique educational model called Harbor S.A.I.L. — Student Achievement through Inquiry-based Learning.
Harbor S.A.I.L. was conceived in 2015, and introduced into Boys & Girls Harbor’s programming for Grades 3 through 12 during the 2016-2017 program year. The model’s goal is to produce intrinsically motivated students who are empowered to exceed Common Core standards and pursue their full cognitive potential.
The Harbor S.A.I.L. Model is comprised of these tiers:
- Acquisition of Knowledge: Core learning in which students enroll in a variety of academic and high-interest courses to uncover their talents and embark on a major.
- Application of Knowledge: Project-based learning in which students research, debate, experiment, and collaborate within their group to establish and then begin to answer their Challenge Question.
- Demonstration of Knowledge: Student teams refine and practice their Harbor Capstone Presentation, which contains a written, oral, and visual component. The presentation then becomes part of the student’s Individual Portfolio as well as the group’s Dashboard.
- Building Growth-Promoting Relationships: Throughout the sequence is the constant presence of engaged and experienced adults. Harbor staff, corporate and community volunteers, and parents build relationships with students that heighten their educational experience, strengthen intellectual character, and increase confidence.
Harbor S.A.I.L. Works
An analysis of Teacher/Evaluator surveys and rubrics reveals that, overall, students at Boys & Girls Harbor made gains, some highly significant, in aspects of Positive Youth Development (intellectual character, caring, connection) and in cognitive skills (depth of understanding, written, oral and visual expression and collaboration).
Harbor S.A.I.L. helps students—of all abilities—to advance literacy and communication skills, Intellectual Character, and social and emotional growth.
Harbor S.A.I.L.™ is a trademark of Boys & Girls Harbor.