Together with a colleague, I created this model to guide my philosophy and actions as a leader. Our students take ownership to the "communities model" and engage and invest in it daily. Additionally, our policies and SIP (School Improvement Plan) are largely based on and driven by the foundation of these values.
In order for students to interact appropriately they must first know who they are and how they fit in the communities in which they are members. My educational philosophy is based on the ability to promote success through the value of community. As I observed success with students, I am continually re-assured that their work on belongingness and their collaboration in diverse communities are the foundation for that success. The endeavor to create community with and for at-risk adolescents is more accurately understood as a journey of creating “circles of community”.
Circles of Community
- Inner Circle - Community with Self. The student invests in a relationship with self as he develops tools to further self-awareness, self-confidence and self-discipline. The student cannot effectively greet others until he/she knows who it is they are introducing.
- Second Circle - Community with Individuals in the Learning Environment. The student’s investment in connections with peers and staff provides opportunities for the student to feel valued, needed and supported. Diversity of student experience and identity is not only acknowledged but also celebrated. Collaborations and communication with others who think and live differently helps them to better understand their own values and direction.
- Third Circle - Community with the Learning Environment as Whole. The student functions in ways that promote his/her own learning as well as that of other community members regardless of his relationship with specific individuals, but rather based on his investment in the community as a whole. This connects the student to learning as a journey and a process in and of itself, laying groundwork for future lifelong goals.
- Outer Circle - Community with Partners. Finally, student transfers these skills with other partners—businesses, vocational education or colleges, agencies, community organizations, and even family both current and future.