I Belong, You Belong, We All Belong
In our first month back to school, we reflected on what it means to belong. Feeling like you belong in social groups is important for facilitating a sense of purpose and affirmation, ultimately making us feel safe, heard and valued. At IESÅ, we want to support our students in their relationships at school and generate a space where all feel like they belong and can flourish and grow.
So far, we have completed many activities and bonding challenges as a school in order to ensure that each individual feels that they are a part of something.
First, we kicked off the year with a door decorating competition. The door decorating competition gave our students an opportunity to express who they are and what they value to the rest of the school, all while bonding with their mentor classes. We are so proud of our students' creativity and self-expression! Creating such meaningful artwork that will be displayed in the building all year contributes to the school's community. Walking through the halls, you can get a sense of the many personalities and aspirations of our students, connecting us all together as a family.
Communication with mentor teachers is also incredibly important for our students, as mentorship allows individuals to get support when it comes to developing relationships and a feeling of belonging in the school. So far, our students have helped their mentor teachers get to know them better by filling in a journal entry in mentor time lessons. These journal entries include reflections about friendship, sense of self, as well as interests and values. Teachers read the journal entries in confidence in order to gain insight to better support and understand our students- after all, our most important goal is to help you feel like you belong here.
Further, it is important to note that we have a record low number of broken responsibilities and many community heroes so far! It is clear that our students are working toward reaching our school goal to "be respectful" by embracing our school routines, helping each other, and respecting our teachers - this makes everyone feel safe and welcome at school, ultimately contributing to a greater sense of belonging.
Finally, we have had a great amount of participation in events like House Day, Are You Smarter Than an IESÅ Teacher, and Mentor Day! Holding school and house events gives students a chance to meet new people, make new friends, and contribute to the school culture. We will also be introducing clubs next week, where students have the opportunity to attend meetings with like-minded people and grow in areas that they care about. For example, our new SAGA club has been absolutely fantastic! It is so inspiring to see our students getting more involved in the school.
It has been a great year so far at IES Årsta. We are very proud of our students' growth in character, and collective effort to reach our school goals. Next week, we will move into a new Mentor theme called "Anti-bullying". With this theme, our students will learn about strategies and resources for dealing with bullying scenarios.