Relationship-Focused Schools Initiative

by | May 17, 2021 | Front-Initiatives, Initiatives | 0 comments

The CERES Institute for Children & Youth is partnering with MENTOR—The National Mentoring Partnership—to develop strategies, tactics, tools, and processes to implement and evaluate a relationship-centered schools initiative. The goal of the project is to develop a consultative process, including customized tools, that will be used to support school districts and schools around the country.

This initiative is being designed in collaboration with and in support of education leaders to create and implement relationship-centered strategic action plans that integrate building and sustaining quality relationship-supports for ALL students enrolled in a community’s schools.

In its role, the CERES Institute will work in concert with MENTOR and partner schools and districts to:

  • Construct a set of tools for the implementation and evaluation of the relationship-focused schools initiative.
  • Develop measurement protocols and evaluation strategies for assessing how well the initiative is being implemented and the implications of the initiative on school and student outcomes.
  • Design and implement a continuous improvement process that provides timely and actionable data for strengthening the initiative.
  • Implement the evaluation protocols in the partner school districts and build the capacity of districts to continue the evaluation process.
  • Analyze, interpret, and write reports about the data.


Using the Web of Support Framework  is a tool designed for use by youth-serving professionals and by youth, themselves,  to define and visualize current and potential supports in a young person’s life in an interconnected web; to identify areas where greater support or more coordinated support or intervenion efforts would be more effective; to brainstorm improving individual relationships and building connections across relationships for young people; to organize programs, policies, and research from a perspective that centers relationships and networks for young people.

Read our latest blog from Shannon M Varga and Jonathan F. Zaff on Using the Web of Support Framework. Every day young people attend schools, participate in after school programs, show up for jobs, and navigate their neighborhoods filled with adults and peers who have the potential to help them as they pursue their education, work, life, and health goals. Yet, too often, the potential power of these relationships remains unfulfilled, leaving young people without the full impact social supports and capital resources can provide.

By the Boston University Wheelock College of Education and Human Development CERES Institute for Children and Youth