Week 16 in Review: Our first Honor Code


Middle School Update:

This week, Heroes took another big step in Studio governance. They saw a need for more accountability to the principles they put forward in the Studio Contract earlier in the year. They needed a code to live by and a clear consequence progression for violating it. 

A couple of heroes volunteered to look at exemplars of Honor Codes at other schools. They drafted up a version of an Honor Code and sent it to the Studio Council. The Council revised the draft and brought it to the whole Studio to ratify. As Guides, we led launches on different aspects of accountability, community, and honor. We offered some access to examples and templates for Heroes to use. We gave encouragement and growth mindset praise. And we let the Heroes work it out. 

You can read the Honor Code here.

Elementary Update:

“Literacy and language is an act of power and freedom. It is why slaves in our wrenching and painful U.S. history were forbidden to learn to read and write, and why young girls living in repressive societies today are kept out of the classroom. When children realize the power of narrative, they begin to dismantle patriarchy, racism, and oppression. In a true democratic society, every child has these tools of literacy to both absorb the stories of the world and to tell their own.” ~International Literacy Association

So, why, at a learner driven school, with an hour and a half a week for D.E.A.R (Drop Everything And Read) time do we dedicate ten minutes of every day to an intentional Read Aloud time? Because one of the most effective ways to cultivate a love of reading in children is to read to them. Through this practice, young heroes learn the art of nuance, inflection, and language structure, as well as develop the ability to create an image in their mind of the narrative (a critical left-brain skill). A study conducted by the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research found that reading aloud to children every day puts them almost a year ahead (academically) of children who do not receive daily read-aloud. The practice sets the stage for lifelong success.

There’s much more to reading aloud than reciting words from a page. It’s a meaningful experience for our heroes and choosing to read a wide variety of diverse books is key to fostering a passion for stories, language, and social justice in the studio. Sometimes in schools we have this idea that if something is fun for children, it must not good for them.

But here, we have a purely simple case; the Read Aloud, yes, is fun for children, but also deeply good for them (and for democracy).

banner image via

Tyler Thigpen