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Building a Collaborative School Community

Teaching students to cultivate and sustain a caring, collaborative community is not a quick process, but must include earnest role-modeling and a genuine effort to create a safe, warm, connected environment.

Developing a sense of responsibility and willingness and capability to serve the common good is only possible in a school environment that promotes these values in the every day classroom setting and the opportunities that are created for the children.

Developing character does not need to happen at the expense of academic focus, but can happen in concert. Building quality relationships between students, as well as students and faculty, providing opportunities for students to share their opinion, make their own choices, collaborate with others and reflect on their experiences are crucial.

A retreat focused on building a collaborative school community begins with all students on equal-footing, in a new environment where the activities that help develop self-awareness & self-management skills, then an awareness of others and relationship management skills are the central focus. This will help students feel that they belong to and are connected to a community. This belongingness and connectedness is crucial to the community's success (Resnick et al, 1997).

Crucial Aspects of a Collaborative School Community

  1. Student opportunity for choice, expression of values
  2. Student opportunity to collaborate
  3. Student opportunity to reflect, determine values
  4. Cross-Age Conversations (Peer Group Connection)
  5. Whole Community (Parent, Faculty, Student) Activity
  6. Genuine Faculty Role-Modeling

Developing Character

Developing Tolerance

Developing Spirit

Peer Mentors

Multiple Visits

Faculty Retreat

SEL

Circles

Restorative Justice

Resnick, M. D., Bearman, P. S., Blum, R. W., Bauman, K. E., Harris, K. M., Jones, J., Tabor, J., Beuhring, T., Sieving, R. E., Shew, M., Ireland, M., Bearinger, L. H., & Udry, J. R. (1997). Protecting adolescents from harm: Findings from the national longitudinal study on adolescent health. Journal of the American Medical Association, 278, 823–832.

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