- Create a school culture based on strong adult-student relationships and positive character, with rigorous expectations for behavior and achievement.
Interpersonal relationships are at the core of teaching and learning despite what many in education policy think. The emphasis on standardized testing across the country has shifted funding from developing these relationships toward test preparation and implementation. As an EL school we try to counter that by holding one class per day simply Crew that is meant to help develop social and emotional health in our student body.
The major motto of this class is "We are Crew, not passengers." While passengers are passive participants in a given situation (be it traveling on a bus or sitting in a classroom), the Crew are the people in charge of the directional heading, whether physical or metaphorical. Every day we work with 20-25 students in a classroom, providing time for them to talk to one another about issues of home, family, identity, and more while also giving space for games (known as initiatives) that provide a context for fun, joy, and trust. This document explains some of the ins and outs of being a Crew as part of an EL School.
While I have only been a part of the school for five months I can already tell how much this class affects the longterm success of the student body. Numerous seniors have described Crew as "their family" and told me a story about an individual or group in Crew that has supported them through a personal struggle. It is quite amazing to see or hear such a thing taking place and I am proud to be a part of school that does this. I only wish other schools would join in.