The Better Together Challenge

An invitation to Maricopa County Middle, Junior and High Schools to strengthen school communities.

The Better Together Challenge was developed by the T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics (SSFD) at Arizona State University (ASU) to work in partnership with Maricopa County middle, junior and high schools to support students' success.

Did you know that...

When students get along,

  • Students have a sense of belonging at school - feeling safe and included
  • Teachers feel more satisfied and less stressed
  • Students participate more, learn more, and develop in healthy and successful ways

Research shows that when students at school get along, when they see each other as allies and sources of help and support, and when they respect and care about each, good things happen.

When barriers exist between students,

  • Students feel neglected or excluded
  • Bullying, discrimination and other problems arise
  • Achievement declines

This can happen all too often in middle, junior and high schools. For example, only about 1 in every 3 students feels that other students at their school care about each other.

We are better together!

Breaking down the barriers that interfere with supportive, safe, and inclusive relationships among students at school is an important goal for educators, parents, and students. Although important, this goal may be overlooked when attention is directed to other priorities. This is problematic because barriers to inclusion interfere with achieving other educational goals. The Better Together Challenge supports students and teachers in Arizona's middle, junior and high schools in creating environments that are safe, inclusive, and equitable for all students. Through this effort, we promote the idea that we are better together and that positive and inclusive school relationships help students thrive in the classroom and beyond.

About the Better Together Challenge

Plan

Teams of students work with a faculty advisor to design projects to make their school environments more inclusive, safe, and equitable. Each team will create and submit a proposal based on their ideas and plans.

Review

A Better Together Challenge review panel will select the finalists. Each team will be publicly recognized to acknowledge the teams' success and to pay it forward by inspiring others to act.

Act

Each finalist team will put their ideas and plans in action. Each finalist team will receive funds to purchase needed materials or resources. Teams will implement, document, and measure the success of their project.

Achieve

At the end of the action period, a final report will be submitted. The Better Together Challenge review panel will select the winning team. The winning team will receive a financial prize and funds to sustain the project for a year.