Posted by: csdailyblog | March 1, 2011

Conserve School Community Meetings

India, Bree, Devon, Hannah, Maggie, Amber, and Kellie on banjo entertain students at the most recent community meeting.

Every Monday after dinner, Conserve School students get together with administrators Stefan Anderson (Head of School), Cathy Palmer (Director of Outdoor Programs and Residential Life), Phil DeLong (Director of Admissions and Residential Life), and me (Assistant Head of School) in order to get to know one another better and to have fun. We administrators don’t have the chance to interact with students in classes and in extracurricular activities as often as teachers and graduate fellows do, so these meetings are welcome opportunities for us to spend more time with students in a casual, relaxed atmosphere.  

Our community meetings are short bursts of fun and community bonding before study hours, and they always include light-hearted activities that make all of us laugh. Every meeting ends with circle time, when everyone has a chance to talk about the highlight of their week and to thank other students or staff members for something especially noteworthy. At yesterday’s meeting, one student gave their roommate a heartfelt thank you for cleaning their shared bathroom, another student thanked a graduate fellow for making their recent trip to town so much fun, and several students thanked Cathy Palmer for arranging the Camp Berkie experience. (This past weekend, several of our students enjoyed volunteering at Conserve School’s Camp Birkie,  a day-long “camp” experience for the young children of race participants.)

Luke, Jake, Aric, Patrick, Henry, Jon, and Jennings take a turn performing for the group.

The students are extremely good sports about participating enthusiastically in the community meeting activities, and they often suggest new ideas for upcoming meetings. In the accompanying photos, you can see them competing with one another to see which group can do the best job singing (and remembering all the lyrics to) TV show theme songs, voting on the entries in the snowman contest to see which lucky students won jars of Nutella, and lying on the floor in a long “belly laugh” line, an activity during which it is absolutely impossible to keep a straight face.

Gaelen, Sam, Alex, David, Brendan, Adrian, and James enjoy their group's chance to shine.

The community meeting is one of several planned activities throughout the week that help to build a sense of community among staff and students at Conserve School. For example, at the beginning of every breakfast, a bell is rung and then, while students stand behind their chairs, one student explains the menu to the whole group and another student shares a thought for the day. After every dinner, a student gives a short description of the highlight of their day. (Last night a student shared that the highlight of his day was the walk in the woods during science class.) On Wednesdays, we have evening house meetings. On Thursdays, we have advisory lunches. All of these regular, predictable opportunities to share ideas, to show courtesy and appreciation to one another, and to enjoy one another’s company help to build for Conserve School students a comfortable feeling of connection and belonging.

Mary Anna

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  1. I want to go back to school! So great to see the laughter and smiles! 🙂 Can’t wait to visit soon!
    Mary Crocker
    (Koty’s Gramma)

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