Jon's Weekly Update 9-5-14

posted Sep 8, 2014, 9:20 AM by Cynthia Friedman


Monday, Sept. 8: Cycle 1 of the Academic Calendar Begins

Thursday, Sept. 11, 6-7pm: Class Meeting, Middle School Classroom

Friday, Sept. 12: Spencer Butte Hike

Friday, Oct. 3: Vision Screening

Friday, Oct. 10: Cycle 1 of the Academic Calendar Ends

Sat., Oct. 11, 12pm-6pm: Ridgeline Block Party at Southtowne Shoppes



Dear Middle School Family,


We had three goals this week: 1. Learn everybody's name.  2. Get to know each other a little better (even the people we already (think we) know). And 3. Set the foundation for a safe environment where we are ALL willing to take responsible risks.


To that end, we played with beach balls and balloons.  We constructed marble ramps out of paint stirrers, masking tape, and manila envelopes.  We chased each other around in fields.  We safely lifted every member of the team, all 27 of them, over a rope 40 inches off the ground without touching it, or crossing even a knee underneath it.


Imagine being the first one over, with no one on the other side to catch you. (Carrie and I were spotting them the whole time, don't worry, but we didn't have to intervene even once.)  Imagine being the last one left behind, with no one to lift you over.  It felt impossible, but they did it!


We made a mess of notes and muddled rhythms approaching music on the ukuleles. We ate together.  We played together.  We worked together.


And we continuously processed each activity in terms of how we're working together as a group.  What worked?  What didn't work?  How can we be more successful?  How do we define success?  (If only two members of the team of 14 did the work to achieve your highest score, is that success?)


We spent a lot of time processing and re-processing our Group Agreements. The students have very strong opinions about justice and fairness, and the positive ways they want us to treat each other in this community.  The agreements boil down to a simple filter: We will all act to protect each member of the community's Physical Safety, Emotional Safety, and Intellectual Safety.


We've also agreed that it's up to all of us, not just Jon and Carrie, to uphold these safety values, and to remind each other when we're pressing the boundaries.  Good stuff.


This past week's work is fundamental to our program.  It's also on-going.  The truth is, academics and projects and the learning and creative work can all happen in isolation.  Alone.  What a waste that would be.  We're working together to create an environment where the work and learning that we're doing, the skills we're developing, are meaningful and useful to our community, as well as our Selves.  


We're in this together.  See you next Thursday.



Jon and Carrie


P.S.  Here are some pictures from the week. (Click the link, below.)

Pictures from RMS First Week