The Secret to Successful Students: Who’s in Your Hive?

Learn more about what a "hive" is in education
Contributed By

Jennifer Larson

CEO & Co-Founder of Hive Digital Minds

The Secret to Successful Students: Who’s in Your Hive?

Posted in Community | May 22, 2019

Collaborative groups, or “hives,” have been known to help promote engagement, establish relationships, enhance decision-making, and lead to successful outcomes. In a hive each member plays a significant role; therefore, understanding each member’s role and the information they need to contribute is a critical step toward realizing success, particularly for students.

Think of each student as the center of their own hive, and ask yourself who else plays a role in sustaining the collaboration among each of its members? Parents, teachers, coaches, and spiritual leaders immediately come to mind, but they don’t make a complete list. Consider the following:

  • The typical high school student has eight teachers, assuming no overlap of subjects/classes (Quora, 2015).
  • 7% of all children live in the home of their grandparents. (Child Trends Databank, 2014).
  • 61% of families with children have two parents working full time (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017).
  • 10.2 million children (18%) participate in an afterschool program (After School Alliance, 2014).

What can we conclude from these statistics? There are a variety of caregivers who participate in a child’s life and play a critical role in the development of that child. This begs the question: who’s in your hive?

Identifying the Hive

With the modern family growing to include grandparents, step-parents, unmarried partners, and even older siblings, we can’t assume ‘mom’ is the only person at home who needs the information. Similarly, with multiple teachers, coaches, school administrators, program leaders, paraprofessionals, and tutors all playing a role in a child’s life, we can’t assume only one point of contact within the school is sufficient.

Given the number of people who play a role in a child’s day-to-day life, it’s possible the average student’s hive can exceed 10 members. Hives this big can be an asset when they work together and become engaged in a common goal: student success.

Led by the primary caregiver, who can collect and disseminate information to the rest of the hive, members can gain insight into that student as a whole rather than the snapshots they see through their own lens. This results in a truly engaged support system that gives each student the greatest opportunity for success.

Supporting the Hive

Identifying the hive is the first step toward building an engaged support system, but unless the hive members understand their role, and how that role contributes to the student as a whole, connections will still be fragmented.

Consider, elementary-age students often have multiple teachers for core subjects and learning groups, yet it is typically the homeroom teacher who is responsible for communicating with the parents. If the homeroom teacher isn’t also the reading and the math teacher, how effectively can they communicate about what’s happening in those subjects?

Large support systems require consistent communication among everyone involved to ensure student success. The sheer volume of people who play a role in a child’s learning journey makes it difficult to effectively send and receive information, but by understanding the role each of these people play their communication becomes more relevant, and hive members become engaged in student success.

Hives In Education

Students aren’t the only ones with a broad support system. Families, local communities, and even schools themselves are all dependent on the satisfaction and loyalty of the members in their hive to be successful. Schools are often the common link between all these entities, and students, parents, and local organizations can take their engagement cues from the example set by the school.

Schools have a lot of information to disseminate, but unless they can make that information relevant to the audience they miss the opportunity to fully engage with their own support systems. Identifying the members of a hive, and recognizing that students have multiple caregivers, will help them refine their messages to fit the audience.

Looking Ahead

Oftentimes the members of a hive go about their daily lives thinking their contribution to a student’s success is limited to specific touch points such as class lectures or dinnertime conversations. However, when a hive is engaged their value extends to all aspects of a student’s life.

Over the next several weeks we’ll take a closer look at two key members of a student’s hive, school leaders and teachers, and the role they play in student success, to offer insight into how these hive members can work together for the benefit of their students.

About Hive Digital Minds

Hive Digital Minds is the creator of SchoolBzz, a cloud-based platform for whole-school communication that streamlines how schools share information with everyone involved in a student’s learning journey. The SchoolBzz team is comprised of parents, educators and communications experts who built the platform with the specific goals of addressing parents’ needs and schools’ frustrations, to eliminate barriers to effective communication and foster a thriving school culture. Hive is a member of AWS EdStart, and a certified partner of Schoology.

About The Author

Jennifer Larson, is the Co-Founder, CEO and visionary force behind Hive Digital Minds. As a mother of four she is passionate about finding innovative ways to engage parents and supporters in their child’s learning journey. Her company’s flagship product SchoolBzz is the culmination of Jennifer’s 15 years in education – working with thousands of educators and parents on their communication and engagement strategies.




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