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Creating Communities of Care Among Diverse Learners

Session 3
Kathy Clunis D'Andrea, Mark Basnage, Jenni Schneiderman, Jenn Moore, Zoe Duskin, Sandra Hinderliter — Ashoka

We all know how important school culture is to creating a strong learning community, but what are some specific ways that we can build empathy and care into our routines, curricula, and school systems? This is a question that we ponder often in Ashoka’s Changemaker Schools Network, a community of traditional public, public charter, and private schools across the country that are finding innovative ways to educate students as empathic, collaborative leaders. In this fishbowl conversation, you will hear from teachers and principals at one traditional public, two public charters, and one private Changemaker School about approaches they use to build trust and empathy across difference. Specifically, we will discuss: how Academy for Global Citizenship in Chicago, IL is bridging school and community; how Mission Hill School in Boston, MA creates a culture of trust in its classrooms; how Prospect Sierra School in El Cerrito, CA teaches students about race and changemaking; and how Inspired Teaching School in Washington, DC equips teachers to create a caring school environment.

Conversational Practice

Following a brief introduction from each school, we will engage in a fishbowl conversation where everyone can ask questions and actively participate in the discussion. For the fishbowl conversation, five people sit in chairs in an inner circle and the remaining participants are arranged in a circle around them. Those in the inner circle will kick off the conversation, sharing how their school approaches creating communities of care. Throughout the 30 minute fishbowl conversation, any member of the audience can, at any time, join the fishbowl. When this happens, an existing member of the fishbowl must voluntarily leave the fishbowl and free a chair. The discussion continues with participants frequently entering and leaving the fishbowl. After 30 minutes, those not in the inner circle are invited to offer their thoughts and comments on what they are hearing in the inner circle. We will use the remaining time in four small groups, led by the Changemaker School representatives. We will generate a list of four topics that participants would like to explore more deeply after hearing the fishbowl conversation. We will spend about 35 minutes in these breakout groups. Each group will put together a poster illustrating one key take-away from their conversation about how they can create communities of care in their own school or context. One person from each group will briefly share the key take-away from their poster with the whole room, and we will wrap up the conversation highlighting the major themes uncovered.

Conversation Links

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Presenter Profiles

Sandra Hinderliter
Sandra Hinderliter
Zoe Duskin
Zoe Duskin
Inspired Teaching School
Dolores Gmitter
Dolores Gmitter


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