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  • Writer's pictureThomas Kadelbach

Am I safe at school?

I haven't blogged for a while as I was finishing my Master's degree this fall but hope to be more engaged going forward including sharing the results of our research.

They say you should begin with a beautiful photo but sometimes I like messy ones because they show a process.

As planned in my last blog, our students created a definition of emotional safety through a school wide process. First, in advisory, all students students engaged with a prompt "What is emotional safety for me? What does it look like, sound like, and feel like?" Then, each advisory created a definition for themselves, which are shown in the middle column above. Then, our two amazing school psychologists combined their ideas into a definition that used student language and ideas as represented by the green highlights in the middle column. Finally, we went back to the students and asked, "What do you think? Do you see your ideas represented here?" They all agreed they saw themselves in our definition.

Despite not being able to physically be together and all of the implications of this, I am really proud of our students, teachers, and parents. The creation of this definition together is what I consider our greatest work to date because it is the voice of 279 middle school students brought together. Each persons' voice being heard, respected, and taken into consideration is the foundation of equity and democracy. This is the starting place for everything else that we do and how we live together as a community.

Our next steps are to integrate this into all that we do both in advisory, in class, and, when we return to physical school, in common time and spaces.

My next blog will share more student voice and the research from this past fall.

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