Caring School Community
Research shows that building a safe and caring school community for students is instrumental to their academic, social, and ethical development. Staff members intentionally work to create a caring community of learners where students learn to take responsibility for their own learning and behavior, and where they become committed to values such as fairness, helpfulness, caring, and respect. in this culture, students learn to feel safe to take the risks and explore new ideas necessary for academic achievement.
*Respectful, supportive relationships among students, teachers and families.
*Frequent opportunities to help and collaborate with others.
*Frequent opportunities for autonomy and influence.
*Emphasis on common purpose and ideals.
*Class Meetings provide teachers and students with a forum to get to know one another, discuss issues, identify and solve problems, and make decisions that affect the classroom climate. One specific type of meeting in the Morning Meeting, in which students intentionally greet each other, share and practice conversation, participate in an activity and read a message together.
*Buddy Activities build caring relationships across the school by pairing older and younger students together for joint academic and social activities. Younger students benefit by developing a sense of belonging and security, while older students benefit by giving them the opportunity to be a positive role model and show genuine concern for younger students.
*Homeside Activities give simple, inclusive opportunities for students to share their school lives with their parents at home. All activities build on the value for parents and children of talking and listening to each other -- in their home language. It's important for students to know that the adult guiding them at home are valued by the adults guiding them at school.
*Schoolwide Community Building Activities link students, parents, teachers and other adults in the school in non-competitive activities. These focus on fostering new school traditions, promoting participation and inclusion and teaching cooperation and responsibility. The emphasis is these activities is on building relationships and fostering a sense of community.
Social-emotional skills are important to healthy child development and contribute to success in school and life. Staff members intentionally teach, model and give students opportunities to practice developmentally appropriate social-emotional skills using storytelling and role-playing.
*Empathy Training focuses on learning to identify our own and others' feelings as well as how to show care and concern for others.
*Impulse Control & Problem Solving teaches students to identify when they are experiencing strong emotions, calm down and problem-solve.
*Emotion Management helps students to manage strong emotions with an emphasis on anger management at first through fifth grades. Lessons do not teach that anger is bad, but that how one acts when angry is critical.
Advisory teachers use lessons from Teaching Tolerance to explore identity and diversity, recognize injustice, and learn to take action. These robust lessons promote social justice, challenge bias, and reinforce critical social emotional skills.