Here is a great article by Dorothy Rich. (Requires registration) :-( Dorothy is the author of MegaSkills which are the list of life skills you see posted inside the Wawasee elementary schools. Here is an excerpt:
May we not forget it.
When I am asked about the key factor that makes students like school, study hard and stay in school, the answer is "caring." Students have to feel needed. Parents have to feel needed, teachers, too. This is the human element in education. Connectedness is a protective factor in children's lives. Schools and homes have to find ways of helping everyone feel important, essential and connected.
It's all very well to talk about test scores. But we have to remember that we build test scores by building people, children and adults included. Education is a very human, "messy" enterprise. Even in the age of computers, education is still a person-person connection.