"And now that you don't have to be perfect, you can be good." - John Steinbeck
The question often arises about why we feel the need to create contracts in a school that has elementary and middle school aged kids.
Do kids actually understand what it means to uphold a contract?
One of the most powerful tools that we can provide is empowering students to take ownership of their learning. This starts with a contract and a commitment to be a part of our team. The reason why we spend so much time at the beginning of the year creating a contract is to ensure that the team has a voice that is reflective of its members and that the contract is reflective of core values that matter to our team.
This takes time. Teammates begin to see actions or words that they want to uphold or not allow in our space. When they contribute to the process of creating our contract, they have specific examples to reference, and some of the strongest comments came from some of the youngest teammates.
As they create the final contract, they believe in what they have built. They understand why there is a need for an accountability system. They also know that they have a role in upholding something that they have had a part in creating.
This, takes commitment. We are clear that the expectation for upholding the contract is not perfection, but it is the expectation to have a growth mindset and to take ownership of your own actions. When we sat down and silently watched each teammate step up to sign the final contract, it was with great responsibility and a choice. No one was forced to sign. Everyone chose to sign and therefore be a part of our team.
This is where the hard work begins. Signing a contract is one thing. Upholding it for yourself and others is quite another.
This is where our team gets to be warm hearted and tough minded. You encourage others and yourself on your journey, but you also keep the standard high.
This team is special.
This team has chosen to exist.
This team is made up of individuals who have the potential to change the world.
Imagine, just imagine, what they can do together...
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