The fun truly begins with our group as we look at the information we have gathered from peers, colleagues, students, and through research. My piece of the puzzle has been research. I started with the #DTK12chat list on Twitter, and found a series of great articles from across the country where restorative justice is being introduced to schools and the community. As we worked to gather and review our data, we were looking for some of the key trends. What I noticed in my research was the need to change culture and the need to build relationships.
This was a common trend for my group mates as well, based on what they were sharing with the rest of us. What started as a challenging topic for me, restorative justice, is becoming something I gain more and more interest in. Even in a virtual charter school, there exists a need to build community amongst our scholars, staff and stakeholders. My group, and this topic, have helped me see this need and our unique ability to use technology to meet the need.
As part of my reflection, I wanted to share one way that we will try to build this virtual community next year at Compass Charter Schools, through a draft letter to families:
Dear Learning Coaches:
Welcome to Compass Charter Schools and the start of another exciting year for our school and the scholars we serve. You have joined a virtual charter school, who is dedicated to ensuring your scholars are prepared to succeed where ever life takes them once they graduate from us. To that end, I want to share the Compass way to succeeding in the virtual setting.
Be present. Strange to say in an online school, but be active and engaged in our live Learning Lab and Q&A sessions. These weekly sessions will allow your scholar to interact with not only their teachers, but fellow scholars as well.
Be engaged. While attending these online sessions, ensure your scholar is being an active participant. Ask questions, of both the teacher and fellow scholars. And ask these questions in a respectful way. We are a family here at Compass, which means we all come together to help each other learn and succeed.
Get involved. There are numerous opportunities to be involved with Compass, through our scholar-led clubs to amazing field trip to enrichment days. Participate in those things that you are passionate about, and if we do not offer something you have a passion in, let us know and we will see what we can do. After all, we are a family.
Be respectful. No matter the setting, show respect to yourself, and your peers at Compass. We will be hosting a workshop on Internet Safety, which also talks about how what you do and say online will always remain online.
I am so happy you are part of our Compass family this year. This is an exciting time for the school, whose focus is on the success of our scholars. However we can support you on this educational journey, let us know. We are on this path together.
J.J. Lewis | President & CEO
Compass Charter Schools
Additional Resources. Looking for resources to support you on this journey? Visit our website, and take a look at our Parents & Scholars section. If you have a resource that may help another learning coach or scholar, please send it to us and we will add it!
J.J. Lewis - a blog sharing the journey throughout SDSU's MA.EL. program.