School of Compassion
What Does it Mean to Be a School of Compassion?
At Virginia Chance School, we believe that the earth is a place for everyone, we want to be in harmony with other people, our earth and animals; and it is important to have a warm heart and open mind.
Each year, the students of the school hear and talk about our Charter of Compassion and then either sign or fingerprint that they will remember to have a compassionate heart and wish to be a part of school initiatives that embrace this message.
Our goals of being a School of Compassion are to: provide ways for our students to grow emotionally, socially and morally; live out our desire to “treat others the way we want to be treated”; learn to have compassion and act on that in positive ways when students are young so it becomes part of their character; and to lead others in becoming more compassionate and impacting our community and our city.
How Did We Become a School of Compassion?
In 2012, Virginia Chance School identified that several of our initiatives demonstrated our desire to be and show compassion. We had some initiatives we were undertaking through Jane Goodall’s Roots and Shoots, the Green Team, and in classrooms as part of our Mission and Philosophy of the School. The classroom students and Green Team then created a Charter of Compassion that would reflect their own words, language, and wishes of the school’s students. From this work, the students identified three areas where they wanted to show compassion: the Environment, Animals, and People. We then partnered with the Mayor’s Compassionate City initiative, and on November 11, 2012, a group of students and Mrs. Houston joined Mayor Fischer on the City’s Compassionate Day and presented the school’s Charter of Compassion. Each year the school reflects on the original charter and invites school-wide learning and project participation.
Click here to read the Charter of Compassion: Vision and Objectives for School of Compassion
2018-19 School of Compassion Year at a Glance
During specific times of the year, the School’s Green Team will be presenting an invitation to take part in a School of Compassion Project or initiative around one of the three areas to the faculty and staff first. These invitations will come right before the month that the school dives into each project. Invitations will include the overall scope of the project and some ideas about how to get started or what your classroom might want to do. Information such as additional resources, logistics of celebration days, and professionals in the field will come from Rachel following that initial invitation and sharing from our Green Team.
Fall: Environment- We will start our year of compassion with Environment this fall. Unlike the other two compassion projects, Environment will start in November and will then span the entire year as our work here will be ongoing and continuous.
Winter: Animals- Once we are back from our Holiday break in January, each classroom will start their investigations of the chosen animal(s). For the entire month of January, each classroom will investigate this animal however they choose and in ways that are appropriate for that age group.
Spring: People- We will close our year with showing compassion to the people in our community that serve others.
Below is more information on each of the three projects. Please keep in mind that we are a school of exploring options and student leadership so there are many ways these compassion projects will take form in their classrooms.
Our Green Team has chosen “T.R.A.S.H.” (Teaching Recycling Act and School Help) as their environmental project for the year. Their goal for this project is to bring awareness to trash on campus (not just on the ground) and to encourage others to take part in reducing that or reusing that in some way. They are also wishing to teach ways to get rid of trash and find solutions to reducing the amount of trash we are depositing in our classroom bins and on the ground.
During the month of October, Green Team will be collecting your classroom trash and recycling cans and collecting their own data on this. (i.e. How much are we depositing in each and what are those items we are consistently depositing? Is there another method to reducing or reusing?)
At the last Faculty and Staff meeting of October, Green Team will present to the teachers the data they gathered and offer possible solutions. Starting in November, they will then teach and invite each classroom to take part in the process of carrying out solutions.
Throughout the year, Green Team will be monitoring this progress, collecting data and testing the solutions for a final report at the end of the school year.
When we return from Thanksgiving Break, the Green Team will announce the choice of animals that classrooms may vote on. Once the animal has been chosen by the school, then each classroom can begin to determine how the class wants to connect to, embark upon, or explore that animal in their classroom during the month of January! Perhaps in January, we will start to see friends walking like our animal, or living in a classroom habitat that our animal calls home.
The first week of February will feature our School of Compassion Animal Project Learning where the classrooms are the highlight as they feature their explorations, investigations, research, conversations and learning around our school animal of choice.
Who are the people in our community that help others? During the month of March, we will be meeting and experiencing the people in our city that provide a service. As we learn about these careers, what inspires us? Perhaps your class wants to thank these wonderful men and women who serve us and others by creating cards, blankets, or pictures or helping with a collection of some things they may need. Or maybe your class will brainstorm other ways to show compassion to these people who serve.
In April, we will meet these people of our city (and hopefully their vehicles) for a special day on our field and present them with our creations, collections, and other ways we have thought of to show our compassion and thankfulness.
Out Teachers will be hearing from Rachel in October to set dates in the first week of November for the Green Team to share and invite your child's classroom to show compassion to our Environment. Their classroom will decide which of the solutions they want to be a part of and report this back to The Green Team and Rachel.
In November, your child's classroom will start being part of the solution to show more compassion to our environment! (This will be after initial data has been collected by the Green Team).
Green Team will be collecting data throughout the process and year, and they will do this after school during thier club meeting time.