TKC BREAKING NEWS!!! KCPS SCHOOL BOARD DIRECTOR AT-LARGE AIRICK L. WEST TOUTS TODAY'S COMMUNITY360 PROGRAM FOR STUDENT LEADERS!!!
TKC Note: Here's yet another hopeful announcement from Kansas City Public Schools about a program with a lot of potential . . . Check it:
Teaching Peacemaking, Connection & Empowerment
Envision a school where students take full responsibility for their choices and for their learning environment; where students mediate drama amongst themselves before it escalates, freeing up teachers to teach rather than referee. Envision a school where students organize resources in the community to support their schoolwork, freeing up counselors to guide rather than plead. And where students repair the harm created by the violation of school rules, freeing up administrators to lead rather than to police. Envision it.
A peaceful environment where students feel empowered and connected to each other is a necessary precondition of high achievement in K-12 education. But you can never police a community into being peaceful, connected and empowered. So either the members of that community will create peace through indigenous leadership and enjoy the sense of power and connection that comes from it OR they won't and external actors will try (and generally fail) to be substitute leaders. In the KCPS high schools we either give our scholars the tools to create a peaceful, empowering, connected school or we live with the consequences of not having done so.
It is in that spirit that sixty high schoolers will arrive today at Community360, a character and leadership development experience that empowers peer leaders to create peaceful, connected learning communities. Most of the participants are Kansas City Public Schools juniors and seniors who were recommended by their Principals to be delegates from their schools (delegations of 5-10 are coming from each of the KCPS' seven high schools).
The delegates who attend Community360 will engage in social justice/character development/personal leadership development followed by in-depth training in peer mediation, community organizing and restorative justice by expert practitioners in each field. Quarterly, day-long follow-up sessions will be conducted throughout the school year by Community360 staff to further support the leadership work of the students.
Working with our young leaders is a privilege that defies description. Being with someone as they awaken to the leader within and as they craft commitments that will lead to the healing of their communities is an experience that never wanes in potency. It is this opportunity that has compelled me to spend the next week of my life serving as the volunteer summer camp director with nearly 60 of our KCPS scholars at Community360.
If you become curious about what's happening here, contact Robyne Stevenson at 816.226.8246 or email@example.com to arrange a visit (though we can only allow a limited number of visitors so as not to disrupt the flow of the work and many of our elected, community and business leaders have already signed up). Either way pray for me: it's guaranteed to be a transformative and inspiring (but exhausting) week!