In the 2013-14 school year, JMSG piloted a new element of the schedule to bolster our relational model: a “band” of time stretching across the week to ensure that we are connecting as a community every day. Our intention behind this:
Community Time has been to promote bonding among peers, to facilitate student contact with teachers, to support student self-advocacy, and to create space for us to share, celebrate, and play together as a school community.
Community Time looks different each day of the week:
On Mondays, we all gather together in the Ming Quong Room for All-School Meetings led by 8th grade students. There, we acknowledge birthdays, honor Women and Girls of Courage, give shout-outs, and gain inspiration from guest speakers and special presentations.
On Tuesdays and Fridays, we gather in grade-level Advisory groups to learn about ourselves and peers through reflection activities and check-ins. The group experience of Advisory lends itself to a sense of “home” at school, and each advisor is available as the school’s “primary care person” for advisees and their families.
On Thursdays, we gather by grade-level in either Study Hall/Office Hours groups or as a whole grade for Class Meetings. Study Hall/Office Hours afford students the opportunity to work on assignments at school with the support of their peers and teachers, and students are strongly encouraged to seek out their teachers one-on-one during this time to clarify understanding and make a personal connection. In Class Meetings, we make announcements, plan and engage in fun community building activities, and learn from films and special presentations that tie in to our academic curriculum.
On Wednesdays, girls participate in Families, making positive connections with peers across grades with the guidance of faculty and staff mentors. Families check in, engage in discussions, play games, and work on projects together. Whereas Advisory focuses on specific topics, sometimes sensitive and/or confidential, Families focus on creating a sense of cross-grade bonding through fun activities. Subsequently, each Family has its own unique character, as mentors are encouraged to plan activities that engage their strengths while promoting connection and a sense of joy at school. Highlights from the past two years have included: “upcycled” artwork, student-designed scavenger hunts, random acts of kindness for other Families, and an all-school balloon stomping tournament.