Some of the strongest memories students have of their school when they get older are the traditions their school had in place to create a warm and welcoming environment. Maybe it was the holiday concert or the sports awards ceremony. Or maybe it was a simple tradition of coming together to celebrate student success at a community meeting.
Cate Reed, seasoned administrator, current Senior Vice President of Teach For America, and Possip Reporter, explains how to foster a deep sense of belonging through regular school community meetings.
Having a strong community meeting at school creates an inclusive culture where everyone feels heard and valued, and people can be regularly recognized for their contributions. These meetings, if done in a celebratory and consistent manner, can provide lots of opportunities to recognize hard work, persistence, and kindness among students and staff.
Here are some tips to help you organize effective and engaging community meetings–and to have students looking forward to gathering with one another and with teachers and staff.
Have a Regular Schedule
Establish a regular schedule for community meetings, so parents, teachers, and other stakeholders can plan to attend. Consistency builds anticipation and encourages ongoing participation. Once a week for an hour is plenty! Publish the schedule early in the year, and consider having a topic for each meeting that students know is coming. The schedule for the time should be consistent so students know what to expect.