We are small and intimate. But the robust community we foster does not just happen because of our scale. We work hard to create opportunities for community engagement and to help students form genuine relationships with each other and with their teachers. From holiday celebrations to whole school activities to service learning, we create forums for connections between students, teachers, and parents throughout the year. We also have a unique governance structure that gets students and teachers working together to manage and develop the life of the community. This fosters a sense of student ownership of the school that is pretty special.
We create opportunities to enable and develop our students’ leadership. Students on our Admissions Committee host prospective students and provide their insight into the admissions process. Student Council members work with school administrators to gather information in town hall meetings and turn that into positive action for our community. They become peer mediators and peer mentors. Our Responsibility Committee is made up of students and teachers – this is the group which manages our disciplinary system through a consensus decision-making process. Activity Committee members plan and facilitate whole school community building events. These are significant and meaningful roles, and our students bring the perspective and thoughtfulness to be able to assume these responsibilities effectively. In the process, they develop the personal values that will guide them throughout their lives and the skills that will make them leaders wherever they go.
The governance committees are our formal system for developing student leaders while managing various facets of community life. We also host a chapter of the National Honor Society and we have students who serve as representatives to the Austin Youth Council. Through all of these opportunities, we all get to practice sensitivity, tolerance, civic responsibility, and leadership. It can be an amazing learning experience for all of us.