Belonging to the School Community

Promoting a sense of belonging for all students and staff in the school community is an integral component of the Agents of Change initiative This is an ongoing effort of listening to the interest and concerns of the students and staff, identifying learning needs,  and designing activities that incorporate strategies to develop targeted skills.  

To prevent fragmentation of the school community, activities are whole school requiring all the stakeholders (students and staff) to take an active role in participating as a team.  

"Being together makes new possibilities."--3rd grade student

House Meetings

Ms. Haddad leads and designs whole school activities that aim to promote a sense of belonging, addresses data identified learning needs and deepens SEL competencies among students and school personnel.  

 

The school community includes a diverse group of approximately 400 students and 35 teachers and staff.  All students are grouped into "Houses".  House members are in grades Pre-K through 6th with a teacher or school staff lead.  6th grade students are lead facilitators of the activities.  The 5th grade students are behavior expectation monitors.  16 students from 6th and 5th grade are assigned as peer mentors to support students who have difficulty meeting behavior expectations. Teacher leads are supports in the activities

 

House Meetings are designed to foster intrinsic motivation for students to meet expectations, support learning among peers and to participate in the activities independent of their teacher lead.

Who Are We Individually and Together

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In this House Meeting students had the opportunity to build self-awareness, social-awareness, an awareness of inclusivity and develop a sense of belonging to the School Community.

  • Understanding how students feel when working collaboratively

  • Respecting others’ personal space and being comfortable in each

    other’s space

  • Students investigated how to make appropriate and intentional decisions in a social environment to promote a sense of belonging of the self and others.

  • Students and educational staff deepened their self-awareness by developing a more purposeful and intentional self-identification while building social-awareness.

House Meeting:

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Community and why it is important to be inclusive

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Mystery Madness

Mystery Madness is a whole school activity that aims to develop a sense of connectedness and belonging within the school community.  During Mystery Madness, students are grouped in Pre-K through 6th grade multi level groups that are led by the 6th grade students (Houses).  The Houses rotate through different exhibits of artifacts that identify different members of the school community (Teachers, administrators, custodial workers, lunchroom manager, parents/guardians, students...)  Houses work together to uncover the mysteries of the identifying characteristics of the exhibiting community member using clues and schema to draw inferences, identify topics and themes to synthesize the information in a culminating whole school activity.   

"We learn to be kind to everyone even if they are different."--Kindergarten student

House Meeting:

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Mystery Madness

Mystery Madness 1.0

"We are stronger together than apart."--4th grade student

 

In this activity students work in the Houses to uncover the mysteries of a school community member while deepening their literacy and SEL competencies. 

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Design and Planning

My team met bi-weekly to review my Mystery Madness design and plan. I consulted the team according to their teaching expertise regarding the learning needs of their students. All suggestions were worked out to best meet the students learning needs and implemented into the design of the work.

 

I detailed the plan for the activity and communicated to each educator in the building.

 

I trained the 6th grade students with support from their classroom teachers to facilitate the activity for students in grades pre-k through 5th.

 

We worked with the school counselor to have a restorative practice location where students could go if they were interrupting learning to review expectations, adjust behavior and return to the activity.

 

Participants (students and teachers) were surveyed to highlight successes and areas for improvement and identify future activity designs. The team reviewed the work and it's effectiveness which informed future activity designs and plans.

Activity Extension
Art Integration

The teachers and staff created exhibits that modeled for the students how objects identify us individuals.  With this newly learned knowledge students created drawings using symbols that identified them.  They added their drawings to a display that included every student in the school community.  Students searched the drawings for a similarity they have with another student and connected their drawings with a string.  

Identity In A Bag

Mystery Madness 2.0

The teachers and staff created exhibits that modeled for the students how objects identify us individuals.  With this newly learned knowledge students created drawings using symbols that identified them.  They added their drawings to a display that included every student in the school community.  Students searched the drawings for a similarity they have with another student and connected their drawings with a string.  

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