How does it work, concretely?
Every Monday morning, we have a Set-The-Week meeting: it is a meeting where we introduce and schedule trips, projects, classes, games, film screenings, etc. , which we refer to as "offerings". Resource people make offerings and get commitments from those interested. There are progress checks on regular offerings to decide whether they should continue. Groups working on long-term projects increase their work days or rehearsals as benchmarks and showcases approach. Possibilities become plans and they get posted on a weekly schedule board where they are easily referenced through the week.
Everyday, children gather for Spawn Point. There is one for the Roots (younger students ages 5-7) and one for the Branches (older students 9 and up). In this meeting, each person states their intentions for the day and makes any requests for support they may need. with intention, accountability, and a chance for cross-pollination.
The learning cycle that begins with Morning Meeting’s intention sharing comes full circle during the Afternoon Spawn Point. This meeting focuses on personal and group reflection. We take this time to ask, “Did we accomplish what we intended to? If so, how? If not, why not?”
These meetings create a feedback cycle through which learners grow in self-awareness. Documentation tools are regularly used during these meetings, to further support students in self-assessing their progress towards their goals, recognizing patterns in their time-management and decision-making, and deciding what–if anything–they want to change when they approach their intentions the next day.
At Change-Up Meetings, all staff and students gather for a check-in. At Dat School, they currently happen on a weekly basis. The goal is to discuss and possibly change-up school culture. Participants bring “awarenesses” to the meeting. Maybe they are aware that there isn’t a norm established regarding use of a specific room, and they bring it to the group’s awareness because they want clarity. More often, the awareness is an issue that the participant would like the group to address. The group brainstorms solutions and then picks one to try out for a short period of time. We refer to these trial solutions as being in “implementation.” The group revisits the solutions in implementation at their next change-up meeting; those that are working move from implementation to “practicing,” where they stay until they become an established community norm–part of the culture–and the issue vanishes. If a solution in implementation turns out not to be much of a solution, it gets thrown out and the group implements a different solution. A very useful tool for tracking and visualizing the process while also documenting the norms the community has established together through the Change-Up process is called the Community Mastery Board.