Last year the students and facilitators at Branches evaluated our school culture with our first ever “report card.” We had fun making it! I wrote a blog post about that last year where you can read more about how the activity was introduced and facilitated.
We continued this practice this year, which felt really great as an end of year ritual for Branches students.
Review of Year 2
We started our evaluation with a review of last year’s report card. The yellow stickies in the picture above are items from last year’s report. I placed them on the continuum of “Needs Work—-> Doing Ok —-> We Rock at This!” where we decided they belonged at the end of last year.
We discussed our continuum as levels 1-10. A level 1 means we really need to work on this, level 5 is doing okay, and level 10 means we rock at this time. The numbers between help us place every item on spectrum from 1-10.
I’ll review the items from last year below:
- If someone has a problem, there is time to talk about it: This item moved up from a level 5 to about a level 7. The kids and facilitators agree that we are connecting more in Spawn Points and that this feels like a good place for us to ask for help when we need it. Specific examples were brought up about times a kids was upset or had a problem and was able to share that in Spawn Point and receive care and support in return.
- Being “re-friendly” (friendly & respectful): This item moved up from a 4/5 to an 8. We discussed how this applies being friendly and respectful to visiting students and each other. We had a couple new students and visiting students this year share that they felt welcomed when they came to school and confirmed that this item should be moved up considerably from last year.
- Being able to lie down when need to: The kids moved this from a 6 to a 10! This item really speaks to having calm and quiet spaces for kids to go to when they need it. Last year, we had lots of big energy inside and it was much louder in the school. This year, we’ve increased outdoor time and made clear community agreements about loudness inside to help keep the inside calmer than before.
- Being awesome: The kids moved this from a 7/8 to a 10+. They like having this item be a descriptor for the quality of their school!
- Cleaning up: This moved from a 7 to a 8.5/9. The end of day clean up process has evolved during the school year. The students now rotate in teams around different areas of the school. One student articulated how much smoother clean up feels now, and also shared how it feels like the clean up teams communicate with each other and get right to work at 3pm. We did discuss that during the day clean up individuals with their crafts still needs work, but that this sticky just applies to the school as a whole for end of day cleaning.
- Having Choices: The kids moved this from a 9 last year to a 10+. They all felt that this year they’ve had many choices for different types of activities/trips/learning experiences, and understand that this school is about having choices and making choices.
- Spending Time Outside: This was a 10 last year, and remains so. The kids enjoy many hiking trips in addition to going outside on the campus and to the park. As noted in one of the items above, taking loud and rambunctious energy outdoors more allows for a more calm and quiet space inside 🙂
- Being Creative: Was a 10, stayed a 10.
- Going on Field Trips: Was a 10, stayed. We take trips weekly!
New Items for the 2015-16 School Year
Next, I shared some new items that I felt we could add to our evaluation for this year:
- Self-Directed Learning: How are we doing on self-directing our own learning?
- Resolving conflict through communication
- Having quiet spaces for reading/writing/quiet activities available.
As a whole group, and also in small break out groups we came up with other items:
- Being supportive of others and their dreams
- Positive attitude
- Feeling trusted by adults
- Engagement in meetings to increase efficiency of meetings
- Authenticity: being genuine & sincere with others
- Including other people – two different small groups came up with this item, which I loved seeing. Last year, we had more dynamics of “leaving people out” occur, and this year the kids make more of an effort to include others in their play.
- Paying attention to other people
- Connecting with others
- Believing in our ourselves
- Empowering space we can navigate confidently (this was a suggestion by an 8 year old!!!)
You may notice that some items are slightly repetitive and could possibly be clustered together. During this activity, it felt more important to honor the suggestions made by the students than to spend more time on clustering. Some kids felt very strongly about how they worded an item and wanted it in the evaluation, and we just let it be. As a facilitator, you have to just sense what is more important in the moment. Allowing the kids to feel connected to and ownership of this process was way more important than sidetracking into a conversation about repetition during the hour we had together (IMO).
Our 2015-16 Report Card
Items from last year are listed in orange.
Items new to this year are listed in blue.
Please pardon the table formatting, and comment below if you have advice for me on how to re-format more attractively!
Engagement in meetings/efficiency
|Authenticity being genuine & sincere w/others
Quiet spaces available for reading/writing/quiet activities
Feeling trusted by adults
If someone has a problem, there is time to talk about it.
|Being supportive of others & their dreams
Connecting with other people
Resolving conflicts through communication
| 8.5 Empowering space we can navigate with confidence
8.5 Cleaning up
Including other people
Paying attention to other people
|Believing in ourselves
Being Awesome (10+)
Being able to lie down when we need to
Having Choices (10+)
Spending time outside
Going on field trips