School is where we learn to flourish, together.

We strengthen the human capacity to care, understand, and transform, creating schools where each of us feels hope and knows we matter.

What we do

We Listen / listening schools network

First, the facts. Students who feel seen, heard, and understood are more likely to stay in school. Youth who contribute meaningfully to their school community feel they matter. And youth who feel they can make a difference, have hope for their future. Schools that work collaboratively with high school youth set their students on a path to productive civic engagement. Communities that value each member’s perspectives and wellbeing are places where youth want to invest themselves. We all flourish when we work with others to make the world a better place.

Using a flexible and iterative curriculum connected to Maine Learning Results, We Listen provides the support schools need to ensure their students know they matter and have the confidence and the skills to contribute productively to their communities. High schools form a We Listen Team of up to 12 student participants who engage in participatory action research using surveys, focus group conversations, and empathy interviews to learn about their peers’ experiences, as well as what their teachers’ goals and obstacles to success are. Then they design and collaborate with adults on implementation of effective, meaningful solutions. We provide the teaching, the tools, and the technology. You provide the students, an advisor (often the principal), and a dedicated period of time during the week.

Students learn to prioritize issues of concern; consider their own perspectives alongside those of peers and adults; understand and use policy development principles in the school context; and leverage technology to analyze quantitative and qualitative data to support their own and others’ understanding of the issues and their potential solutions. Students strengthen agency, hopefulness, and mattering as foundations for academic and life success.

Educators and principals learn too to ensure We Listen is integrated appropriately into the structures, processes, and culture of each school over three years and continues with gradually less direct support from The Source School. Team advisors also have the opportunity to connect with We Listen team advisors from other schools.

Each school is unique, and each implementation of We Listen is unique. We work together with each school to develop a custom implementation plan, and we partner with school leaders to ensure solid preparation for project success — from inception to analysis to action steps for adult-youth collaborative response to the learnings. Students, advisors, and building leaders are supported and empowered throughout the entire program. Learn more here.

Strategic Listening + Planning

We work with school boards and district leaders to create deeper community connections to — and investments in — their schools.  Creating a strategic plan that prioritizes those connections begins with listening. We offer comprehensive focus group research that leads to an inclusive, equitable,  and informed strategic planning process, and when desired, we lead teams through the planning process itself.

Educators, parents, community members, employers, and youth participate in small, in-person or virtual focus groups lasting 75 to 90 minutes. Our conversation protocol and trained facilitators offer participants the opportunity to connect with each other in new ways, share their stories, and consider the future of your community and the role school has in creating that future — with no need for them to give up a day or you to organize a large group full day weekend event.

We analyze the conversations with the help of the greater community using artificial intelligence-aided technology created at MIT’s Center for Constructive Communication. High school youth can play an integral role, working with us to define research questions, facilitate focus groups, guide analysis, and present findings. The outcome is more than a plan; it is a shared understanding of history and context, needs and dreams and how your schools can evolve to create the future your community envisions.

For districts wanting support in using the listening report to create a strategic plan, we offer a comprehensive experience for your team to create a plan focused on what’s working well and where energy and need intersect.

Creating cultures of connection

In-person retreats and virtual gatherings for district, charter, and independent school teachers who feel a longing to connect more deeply with themselves and their purpose in teaching as well as their students to create nourishing and inspiring learning environments for adults and young people alike. School staff can make the difference in a student’s life, the difference between a youth feeling they matter and feeling invisible. But how do you do that? Teachers leave with greater clarity of purpose, tools for deepening relationships with students that don’t require taking “extra minutes” from your curricula, and a network of connections to local teachers. We collaborate with local professionals and members of The Source School from around the country. We also can bring a “retreat” to your school over one or two days.

Teacher and Principal Coaching

Making deeper connections between our intentions for ourselves and our professional work can lead to greater satisfaction in our work lives as well as more impactful classrooms. Building relationships through content and pedagogy can lead to more engaged students who feel a true human connection to their teachers; and for administrators, creating clear, socially hygenic, and supportive relationships with staff creates an atmosphere where all can thrive and best meet the emerging needs of students. With these in place, classrooms and schools can become transformative for adults and students alike. We support educators throughout Maine in both classroom and administrative roles, serving children and adults from infants through higher education.

We also offer coaching to building and teacher leaders who want to create leadership opportunities for youth in their schools. From initial thought partnership to planning and implementation phases, we can support you in your own transformation to an open and inclusive leader.

How we do it

ME to WE

An awareness-based systems change (ABSC) model is the foundation of our work. ABSC grounds individuals in themselves — Who am I and what is my purpose, my vision of myself, my highest future potential? — in the context of deep interconnection with the world. This happens in presencing — becoming still, present, reflective. It also happens in moments of creativity and flow and in the reflection on the creative process and product afterward. Grounded in a connection to ourselves, we can create a healthier social field between ourselves and others that helps suspend expectations, biases, and assumptions. Then, together, students, teachers, administrators, and community can collaborate toward shared visions for their school and community, leading to meaningful learning and healthier social and civic spheres.


Natasha Brewer

M.S. Ed., MSAD #42, English/G&T Teacher
District Library-Media Specialist

Our partnership with The Source School has been integral in increasing student voice in our school community.

Jennifer’s holistic and supportive approach has provided our students, teachers, and principal with the confidence needed to build a student-led, project-based program uniquely different from any classes we previously offered. We have learned valuable skills needed in creating an environment that is focused on listening with intention and purpose in order to determine what direction the group will take in their time together. We have been able to increase opportunities for our students to grow as leaders who are learning skills that will have a lifelong impact.

Jennifer Gulko (she/her)

Principal, Freeport High School

Collaborating with Source School and Jennifer Chace has enabled our students at Freeport High School to engage in meaningful leadership initiatives that have had a tangible impact on our school community.

Our students have learned how to use their voices to impact our school community, including how to facilitate discussions and analyze data to turn their ideas into action. They’ve understood the importance of gathering diverse perspectives and effective communication within their team and with school leaders. Working with Jennifer and Source School has been key to providing this learning opportunity and driving change in our community. We aim to keep collaborating with Source School to further develop our student leaders’ skills and continue making a positive impact.