Developing the social contract
A busy first week of school was book-ended by two All School Gatherings. On Tuesday morning, we welcomed new students and staff (Kate and Sarah) and admired the freshly painted Great Room floor. Todd led us in a raucous rendition of My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean that had adults and students smiling and moving in spite of themselves.
The week concluded with another All School Gathering at the close of day on Friday. At this one, we had more serious business to attend to. As part of our week of preparedness for the year ahead, advisories had engaged in a process of developing statements for a Social Contract. Each advisory then sent representatives from their groups to a “summit” meeting with me. My task was then to guide the group (6th through 12th graders) to consensus on statements they agreed would speak to a “way” that we would live by in the month ahead together. This process took many hours, much discourse and argument, and careful revising and editing.
The result of this hard work? Four concise statements of intent:
We will respect our environment
We will strive to be creative learners, hard workers, and use our time wisely.
We will try to help others meet their potential while achieving ours.
We will acknowledge the individuality of each member of our community.
At the All School Gathering, the summit committee members shared the process they had engaged in with the rest of the school. Students then had popsicles (another tradition), signed the contract and headed outside a break in the fresh air to end at great first week. Many students, and some staff, at this point engaged in a fairly chaotic game of soccer where we discovered that our new math teacher, Kate, is a soccer talent of some standing.