Collaborative Learning Communities

Alzar School | 02.12.20

Do you make a New Year’s Resolution each January? Have you ever made a goal for yourself, tried out a new hobby or sport, or sought out coaching or guidance from an expert? Maybe you’ve volunteered for an organization, served on a board of directors, or brought a meal to a friend or neighbor? If so, then you have demonstrated two of the 10 Elements of Leadership: ‘Continual Learning and Improvement’, and ‘Community Membership and Service’.

Bench (built by founding teachers) overlooking Payette River, from Alzar School’s perimeter trail.

At Alzar School, not only do we work to provide students with meaningful opportunities to grow, lead and serve, but we as a faculty also embody this philosophy. One of the ways we do so is through our Collaborative Learning Communities, or CLCs. Similar to Professional Learning Communities, CLCs are a common practice in schools and educational institutions nationwide. Teachers come together around a common goal for growth or improvement as professionals. Each August, during staff training, our faculty brainstorm, discuss and ultimately form CLCs with distinct goals for improving our school, campus, staff or student experience. The CLCs are all aligned to some aspect of our Strategic Priorities and are written in the form of a SMART goal.

A new path, built by teachers, leading from the bench along the river directly to staff housing.

Here are our Collaborative Learning Communities for the 2020-2021 school year:

1. Campus Projects:

– Enhance infrastructure to improve already strong staff quality of life, thus improving their capacity as educators, learners, and community members.
– Includes a path from river to staff apartments and building a dry food storage unit for the common apartment.

2. DEI in Curriculum:

– This CLC will develop a program-specific diversity, equity, and inclusion curriculum evaluation tool to be used across all disciplines, including Yurt Advocacy and Expedition Programming.
– Includes creating an Alzar School-specific DEI curriculum evaluation tool, compiling resources for curriculum, and developing identify-focused lessons for various disciplines.

3. Community Partnerships:

– Includes creation of a list of organizations and guest speakers that would be willing to interact with our school population, either through a visiting guest speaker, or our students visiting a location or organization on site.

It’s invigorating to see our teachers lean into serving our school and mission, while engaging with topics they care deeply about. Indeed, these three projects will no doubt help our staff in creating powerful learning outcomes for students, both for the Fall 2020 semester and well into the future.