Implications of Asset Building in Schools

Every school employee is an educator.  The support system for students encompasses all personnel who have direct and indirect contact with students.  Here are some of the implications of an asset-building approach for different people within schools.


  • Make asset building a focus in schools and the community.
  • Keep student needs center stage in all school decisions and provide opportunity for their voices to be heard.
  • Talk to and get to know students in your district.
  • Communicate with stakeholders about the role of asset-building in the schools.
  • Examine all school policies and practices to see whether they contribute to all students’ success and healthy development.
  • Allocate resources (staff, time, money) to support asset building strategies.


  • Express interest in and care for all students.
  • Empower all stakeholders to give of their time, talent, and creative potential to make good things happen in the lives of children and youth.
  • Welcome and encourage innovation that benefits students and staff.
  • Celebrate progress toward the vision and goals.
  • Foster a positive, healthy school climate for faculty, staff, and students.
  • Work with faculty and staff to shape policies on scheduling, grade configurations, building transitions, discipline, assessment and reporting practices, partnerships with parents, and similar issues so that they are consistent with asset building.
  • Provide in-service opportunities to enhance staff members’ skills in asset building strategies.
  • Monitor students’ developmental assets and progress in building assets.


  • Express interest in and care for students.
  • Develop lesson plans that integrate content, skills building, and personal responsibility for self and toward others.
  • Create a positive learning climate where students feel challenged and supported.
  • Work in teaching teams to explore alternatives, develop community, and focus on how best to teach students.
  • Involve students in classroom and school decision making.
  • Respect and teach to a variety of learning styles.


  • Treat faculty, staff, and students with respect and courtesy.
  • Take time to thank teachers, support staff, and others for their role.
  • Participate in activities that build your own assets.
  • Get involved in programs (such as peer-helping) that seek to build assets for other students.

(Social workers, counselors, coaches, librarians, school nurses, etc.)

  • Create an open-door policy with youth; let them know you are available when they have a question or need to talk.
  • Encourage youth to think about the many different ways they learn now and how they can continue their education after high school.
  • Know and understand the school’s asset-building mission and integrate the vision into your own work with young people.
  • Take time to talk to and get to know the young people you work with.

(Custodians, secretaries, bus drivers, food service staff, etc.)

  • Create an environment of caring within your own sphere of influence.
  • Express interest in and care for students with whom you interact both formally and informally.
  • Identify and celebrate ways your work contributes to asset building.
  • Compliment young people when you see positive behavior in the school and intervene when you see negative behavior.


  • Advocate for school policies and practices that undergird developmental assets.
  • Play an active role in your own child’s learning all the way through high school.
  • Get involved in school reform and improvement efforts.
  • Participate in school activities as an observer, advocate, or volunteer.
  • Take an active interest in the healthy development of your friends’ children and your child’s friends.

This page may be reproduced for educational, noncommercial uses only.  ©Copyright 1997 by Search Institute, 700 S. Third Street, Suite 210, Minneapolis, MN 55415; 800-888-7828

To sign up to receive weekly newsletters on building assets in your school contact Rachel Pena at 

Check out the documents below for a sample of the newsletters and more ideas for building assets in your school:

Planning and Decision Making
Interpersonal Competence
Resistance Skills
Developmental Assets In Schools
Ideas for Schools
Introduction- pdf