On May 23, the Otter Valley Union Middle and High School Youth-Adult Partnership team finished their work this year by facilitating a work session with the staff based on the Values of a Learning Community activity that the team had participated in during their work session earlier this spring. This activity is designed to reflect on the experience in a positive, supportive learning community, identify what that experience felt like and what need met when we felt that way, and think about an action each person could take next year to help more youth – and adults – experience more of these feelings and get more of these needs met. 

The youth facilitators welcomed the staff by telling them a bit about their work with UP for Learning and why it mattered to them. They went on to list some things the team will be focused on next year: Student Engagement, School Board, Teacher-Student Relationships, Learning Options, The Student Experience, Collection, Analysis and Sharing of data, Peer Support groups and Phone Use. Then to set the work in motion, they described their hopes for the work session and agreements to guide participation, including: Believe other people’s stories, It’s always OK to pass, Be a supportive and judgment-free zone, All together, working as a team, We are a voice for others – be determined.

The feedback on exit tickets was uplifting and reinforcing.

“I definitely see the teachers in a different light. I feel more comfortable around them too. It was really interesting to hear from them and kinda flip the roles.”

“This was a great opportunity to reflect on my teaching practice and to be reminded of my values as a learner and teacher. Thank you”

“Identify what matters to students, co-create what we learn and how we do it when possible”

“I learned that students do empathize and understand our plight as teachers.”

“Allowing vulnerable moments to foster authentic learning to meet a feeling or need.”

“Important to listen to students- need to create opportunities and structure to be able to do this.”

“It felt really nice to be able to connect teachers and students on a “human” level. I’d love to feel more opportunities like this.”