Membership and Belonging
When students feel like they belong, like they can come to school as their full selves and are known and cared for, and like they are part of something larger than themselves, they achieve more. Therefore, we know that academic growth and character development are inseparable (EL Core Practice 21). The Core Practice goes on to say that students experience a school climate that is safe and with clear expectations, joyful and inclusive, equitable and committed to social justice.
At WHEELS, we pursue membership and belonging in several key ways:
- Crew - Every student from PreK-12 is in a Crew of 15 students led by one Crew Leader. The Crew Leader is the primary point of contact for students and families in that Crew. The Crew Leader facilitates activities and initiatives 4-5 days each week to build relationships with the students and support them in building relationships with each other. students learn to be agents of self-change, to take responsibility for their learning, and to develop mentoring relationships with adults and peers. For specific information on the roles and responsibilities of crew leaders at different levels, and resources to support facilitation of crew, reference this document: WHEELS Crew Leader Handbook. Further, you can see the Crew Scope and Sequence here: Crew Scope and Sequence.
Community Values and HOWLs - We recognize that a variety of academic and character skills are a necessity for success in high school, college, and beyond. Among the character traits we strive to help students develop are:
- Integrity: I show courage to make positive choices and act honorably.
- Collaboration:I work with others to accomplish more than I could on my own.
- Respect: I honor myself and my community through my thinking and actions.
- Compassion: I work to understand the similarities and differences we share.
HOWLs (Habits of Work and Learning):
- Responsibility: I manage my time and resources.
- Craftsmanship: I reflect on my work and make revisions to create high quality products.
- Perseverance: I push through my challenges.
- Curiosity: I participate fully in class.
- Community Meetings in the MG and UG are opportunities for the entire grade to come together to celebrate progress and identify areas for growth. Community Circles in the Lower Grades provide a similar opportunity and include families.
- Clear Expectations and Responses - Our Lower Grades Expectations and Middle and Upper Grades Expectations are based on the NYC DOE Behavioral Expectations and continually revised to improve our impact. Our expectations and responses demonstrate an increased implementation of restorative practices building from our PreK through our 12th Grade and reflecting a developmental progression along the way.