New Program Initiated around 40 Developmental Assets Approach

I apologize for the length of this message, but it contains very important details about a new effort underway. I am writing with information regarding a newly formed regional partnership aimed at strengthening the likelihood of success for our students in school and as members of the community. This regional effort, the Essex County Asset Builder Network, is being funded by the Tower Foundation. The focus is on proactive measures to equip our youth to make positive choices, rather than being reactive following an unfortunate event. The effort is framed around The 40 Development Assets Approach by the Search Institute, and you can read more about it by clicking here.

Research has identified 40 developmental assets comprised of skills, relationships and behaviors that enable youth to be successful as adults. While the assets build youth self-esteem and competence, the framework also emphasizes the importance of building community supports to help youth thrive. Recently, the communities of Amesbury, Georgetown, Newbury, Rowley, Salisbury and Newburyport have partnered together to form the Essex County Asset Builder Network and have received a grant to use a common language of asset development (creating protective factors) that will enhance the great work already being done to support youth and families, and expand community supports, opportunities, and resources. Tina Los is the Regional Project Coordinator for this work.

This fall, all communities in the partnership will be administering the Attitudes and Behaviors Survey which anonymously measures youth assets and risk behaviors with students grades 6 – 12. This data will help create a global picture of strengths and needs of our students and to help us understand how we can best support them to be successful in the future. This survey is being conducted as part of a larger regional partnership bringing the communities of Amesbury, Georgetown, Newbury, Newburyport, Rowley, and Salisbury together to prevent and reduce health risk behaviors among youth. The data will only be reported on a global basis by school, as there won’t be any personal  identifying information included.

We will be administering this voluntary student survey in mid November to all students in grades 6 through 12, with the exact date varying by school. This survey will be administered by your child’s teachers, be taken online, completed anonymously, and will take approximately 30 minutes to complete. As a parent, your child’s school will be sending a form to officially opt out of the survey. However, students will also be instructed that they can opt out on the day of the survey, or they can skip any questions they don’t want to answer if they do participate. This will be made very clear by the teacher when administering the survey. As this is global data, the more responses we receive, the more information we’ll have to know where best to target our prevention efforts.

There will be an information session for parents/guardians at each school. Tina Los will be present, and able to answer questions about the 40 Developmental Assets, as well as the survey itself. While we can’t send home copies of the survey, we will have them available to review at the schools and also during these information sessions.

Parent Information Sessions:

  • Middle/High School: Wednesday, October 25th @ 5:30 PM
  • Newbury Elementary School: November 16th @ 6:30 PM
  • Pine Grove School: November 7th @ 6:00 PM
  • Salisbury Elementary School: November 14th @ 5:30 PM

I would encourage you to attend the parent information session if you have questions about the 40 Assets or the survey specifically. You can also reach out directly to Tina Los at TLos@cityofnewburyport.com or by phone at (978) 992-1671.

Thank you, and I look forward to partnering with you and our community at large on behalf of our children!

Brian Forget