Appreciating Others’ Values Creates Community
Brashier Project Outline/Justification
Date submitted: March 11, 2011
I. Appreciating Other’s Values Creates Community
II. Who: Brashier Student Body
What: A series of events to promote community & connection
When: 2010 – 2011 school year
Where: Brashier Campus
Our project is centered on the idea of creating a close-knit community in our high school through the communication and appreciation of each other’s values. We feel that at Brashier, just like any other high school, you have cliques and groups who naturally segregate by friendships, extracurricular activities, or even ethnicity. Many do not see this as a problem; however the majority of the success of a middle college comes from the close relationship between the teacher and student as well as among peers. For our project, we have developed a series of events throughout the school year to successfully complete a new wave of community and connection among the Brashier students. These events include designing Enrichment lessons school wide, running communication and social experiments, holding a “Community Day” for the school, and hosting a dinner to honor seniors prior to graduation.
Our main focus is to understand how you get from “communication” to “community” and this is crucial to successfully reach our objectives for this project. We are proposing that the formula below is our best approach to create community.
Communication -> Understanding -> Identification -> Friendship -> Community
The first step is initiating the process and the rest would subsequently follow. We need to communicate our ideas with our peers, our peers needed to communicate with each other, and Brashier Campus is the most appropriate forum to do so effectively.
III. Throughout our past, Brashier has had a strong need of unity and communication. As Ambassadors, we believe the two go hand-in-hand. We noticed some students spent much of their time alone, whether in class or at lunch, as if they weren’t sure of where they belonged within our community. We also noticed that the administration wasn’t doing much to bring the students together or listen to their needs. To reach unity, a society or school must first communicate. As a whole, our school is pretty much a functional family. But the idea of 400 students in one “family” is still somewhat large. Therefore, some people’s voices and opinions aren’t heard. We wanted to bring everyone together and discover more about each other and what each person’s “niche” is within the family. We recognized that some students were yearning for a chance to speak up. We cannot be brought together as one until everyone is acknowledged and their needs are met.
IV. Our project improved the Brashier environment in many ways. The students at Brashier came together as a whole and discussed their values, their morals, and shared opinions. Since our project revolves around communication, it was a great idea to have the students to come together and join as one. This helps bring the student body closer, which benefits everyone in some positive way, including faculty and staff. The people that were negatively affected were the people who didn’t participate in the different lessons and studies. When the particular students or teachers decided not to participate, they missed out on developing and understanding in communication about their fellow students and administration. The faculty and administration may have been affected negatively in a few ways at first, but it all worked out well in the end. The faculty and administration had to cope with the fact that parts of our project planned to interfere with some instructional time. However, the faculty and the ambassadors came together on a mutual agreement and put together proposals for Enrichment Lessons and community-based events, and things were worked out. All together, everyone except the students that refused to participate benefited greatly from our project. It was nice to see the student body come together as one.
V. We chose this project because Brashier seemed to be in need of unity. The
Brashier student community needed to become closer. It’s easy for students to get intimidated by the “cliques” and social groups in high school. Especially in a smaller school, it may be more difficult to find where you belong. The ambassadors noticed a need to bring our classmates together as one. We needed the students to also know who the student ambassadors were so if they had questions as to what we were doing they would know who to ask. The only forces against this project would be us as an organization.
We chose this project at this time because we, the Brashier students, needed some major community building. It’s amazing how much these people don’t communicate with each other so we wanted to do this to unite the Brashier kids. The forces against this project would be the kids who didn’t give a flip and didn’t even attempt to try.
VI. Throughout the duration of this project, we as a group found that several materials were constantly used in unison. The two main materials that we frequently used have been time and energy. The time that we utilize to get our ideas across to the students was limited, but it was how we developed our project as a whole. We also needed cooperation from students, teachers, and our fellow Ambassadors. We had to spend time coming up with Enrichment lesson plans which allowed us to actually get our message across to the students as to why we were doing this project. The relationship between the Ambassadors and teachers/administration got stronger in that they accepted our project and learned to embrace our concept as a whole. Ambassadors had to write proposals to administration as well as make sure the teachers understood why we were using the allotted time slots. Time, energy, and brain-power were the best resources that we had and we used each of these to the fullest.
VII. We had a few allies throughout this project. We were our own allies because we controlled the situations and were the ones who decided the projects. Time was another ally. This project took a lot of time and cooperation to perform it. The teachers were a help in the whole thing. They helped with actually doing the Enrichment lessons and telling the students to actually try to do what we wanted them to. The main allies were the students who actually did the work. You always have those few students who won’t do anything and think that “Brashier is lame.” So that was a little problem. Some of the teachers also didn’t do the Enrichment lessons either and that proposed a big problem because the students in their class then didn’t have the chance to do the Enrichment lesson and participate. After the first Enrichment lesson, we started doing videos as instructional aides to make sure the lessons were clearly understood and executed. We responded by sticking with our plan and just moving on. If they didn’t want to do what we proposed, then they just got left out. So it was a matter of yes or no. Either you do the lesson or you don’t.
VIII. Community, unity, respect, values, kindness; all of these are what makes up the legacy of the Ambassadors of the 2010/11 year. We’ve taught that appreciating the values of others in the community creates unity in which can be carried out from year to year. Brashier became a school where the value of self was trumped over the value of your community around you, our school. The importance of community became very prominent and the connection that was made between students is the legacy created by this project.
IX. The Student Ambassadors has become the “student relations” committee for the school. They would be in charge of projects to keep the school together as a community. To keep the project sustained over time we could have a community building day every year as well as keep doing enrichment lessons for the whole school. We could also keep the “Table Talk” idea up as a permanent kind of thing. Cycling them out every now and then would really make it last. The tables make people ask questions and think about our school as a whole. Every time that we finish with an idea or sheet we could showcase them around the school so that future students would be able to see them. Another activity that we could do to keep the project going is have a day in the beginning of the year. This day would be an event where the entire school can come together so that new students can be welcomed to the school and everyone is introduced to each other. On this day we could show the whole school student teacher and administration included the progress we have made.
Our project will continue to impact our school with our enrichment program as well. Having had student created enrichment lessons has shown the facility and administration that it is good to have student contribute to the educational curriculum and increase student voice and student buy in. We have found that when students present material to other students that they are more likely to listen and in engage in the activities. As a result, the school will be modifying its Leadership class to have student leaders organize and develop lesson plans for next year enrichment. This increases student ownership of learning and promotes good communication skills to teach others lessons that benefit our community.