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Out with “Agreements”, in with “Guiding Pillars”

Out with “Agreements”, in with “Guiding Pillars”

Opal 3's work to compose and adopt agreements for our community has continued these past weeks. After brainstorming and refining, the children came to agreement on five ideas to guide the way we will strive to be together this school year. But it felt strange to call them "agreements" after all the discussion about and comparison of our community as a kind of bridge that we are building. How could we envision our agreements in the context of our work with bridges?

The children wrote this letter to our friend, occasional special guest, and founder of Opal School Judy Graves, to tell her about the work we had done:


Dear Judy,
We expect you know about the Opal agreements.  Well, they just took a trip to the trash can and they’re NOT coming back.  So, say goodbye!  We replaced them with guiding pillars… big GINORMOUS guiding pillars. 
Between the time when you last visited us and now, we came up with these guiding pillars.  When we were done with our bridge work with Steve, we started thinking about our community as a bridge.  The pillars are our agreements that guide us.  Our guiding pillars are:
·        Be safe.
·        Respect everyone.
·        Support everyone in our community.
·        Treat materials and surroundings like treasures.
·        Think before acting.
MG had an idea to create the pillars in the classroom.  So on the playground side of the classroom you can see five painted pillars that represent our guiding pillars. 
We’re using our guiding pillars to help us figure out what role we play in our community. 
We want to share this with you and hear the end of your story tomorrow.
Opal 3

Pillar Respect others   IMG_0343
Pillars Support everyone    IMG_0346
Pillars Think before acting    IMG_0342
Pillars Treat materials    IMG_0344
As we continue working and learning together in the New Year, these pillars will provide constant guidance to our thinking and acting. Certainly, they will inspire questions and continue to spark our thinking about what it means to be a community together this school year.
Wishing everyone a lovely and restful Winter Break – see you in 2012!


December 30, 2011