Today was our first real day of intersession. Okay, we had one day of intersession last year, at the beginning of April, and it went pretty well. But, this week is a whole intersession plan. The theme of the week is “community.” We are still building this school, we’re barely into year two, and finding our identity. The focus for today was “community inside” meaning inside the building, among ourselves. We had time to work on digital portfolios – the kids have student-led conferences on Thursday and have lots to prepare. As they were working together in our advisory, there was lots of sharing and supporting of each other. I am lucky to be advisor to such a kind group of students.
We had a round of what we’re calling “mixers” because we’re able to have a structured discussion across grade levels and break down those walls. The mixer was facilitated by student senators and focused on academic challenge and rigor. What do we want our school to be? Do we want to be challenged in class? What is the student responsibility regarding challenge and school work? It was interesting to hear the students talk about an idealized view of the “perfect” student: hard-working, organized, focused, driven. It wasn’t presented to them that way, but that’s how they responded. At the end of the discussion, I asked how many of them achieved that ideal, and got a lot of “um, well.” Frankly, I doubt that I could achieve the ideal that they set forth. But sometimes, I think that teachers do expect that ideal student to land in front of them every day.
After lunch, we relaxed with a community dessert and an open mic session at a hall nearby, where we could all fit comfortably and enjoy each other’s company. Students and faculty performed. We heard from lots of different groups, from storytelling to spoken word to musical talent. I’ve had my time performing on stage, and know how nerve-wracking it can be. But it’s easier to get up in front of a group of strangers than it is to perform for your peers and colleagues and students. My colleagues and students were very courageous and very supportive of each other today.
And that’s how we build community.