Understanding resilience in educational trajectories: Implications for protective possibilities



A growing body of literature on risk and resilience, school engagement, and positive psychology offers school psychologists new perspectives with which to consider students' progress through school. This literature emphasizes the importance of monitoring student internal and external assets. In this article, a framework is reviewed that highlights student strengths and contextual protective factors, moving beyond an exclusive focus on student deficits. It offers school psychologists a systematic set of empirically derived categories for thinking about, collecting, and presenting information about the strengths of students that (a) help to focus not only on risks but on protective factors, (b) facilitate a “developmental trajectory” perspective, and (c) recognize the role of important school, peer, and family contexts. The concepts reviewed in this article are intended to provide a template for use by school psychologists interested in thinking about student development and how schools can foster protective possibilities. © 2006 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Psychol Schs 43: 19–31, 2006.