The Source School


Deepening Connections in Schools

Youth + Adult Collaborative Circles

This is our newest offering, created for those schools or groups who want to dip their toe into deeper, more satisfying relationships between youth and adults. Collaborative circles are designed to nurture deeper relationships between adults and youth in schools of all types. School staff, teachers, administrators, and volunteers 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? How do adults cultivate the space for relationships to grow when the school day is so hectic? Collaborative circles bring a group of six to eight together for 60 to 90 minutes to get to know each other better through specially designed conversations and activities. Our trained facilitators provide the structure and content for participants to relax and enjoy the process of developing deeper connections that leave adults and youth alike feeling renewed. This is a great experience for student leadership teams, clubs, students in need of warmer holding, or even whole grades. Circles can be held during class time, after school, or in a retreat format.

Creating Cultures of Connection in Your Middle School Classroom

Youth mental health has been on a precipitous decline over the past few years, but there are ways for us to address the core issues of disconnection from within any classroom — from algebra to English to chemistry. Middle schoolers are at just that moment of beginning to make social habits that will last years to come. How they see themselves as social agents and how much they feel they matter to their community have deep impact on their health and wellbeing. And, if they can find joy and purpose in your classroom, this experience can be a protective factor against the adverse childhood events (ACEs) so many young people experience. We come to your classroom for three to twelve weeks to support your class’s deepened connection to themselves, each other, you, and the content you bring. Our model is to provide the structure and processes to respond to the needs of your particular class and to support your ongoing learning so this experience can be carried forward and new cultures maintained and deepened sustainably.

Listen to ME: Youth Leading Change in Schools

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. 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 stay and invest themselves. 

Listen to ME provides the support schools, districts, and communities need to grow together. High school student leaders engage in participatory action research to learn through leading small focus group conversations what their peers are experiencing at school and what matters most to them, lasting a month, a semester, or a school year. We collaborate 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. Local Voices Network provides artificial intelligence (AI) analysis of conversation data and project support, connecting high school students with research scientists at the Center for Constructive Communication at MIT.

Activities connect directly to standards including interdisciplinary learning opportunities for students in statistics, data analysis, group facilitation, written and verbal communication, project management, and community engagement. Youth learn how to listen, share openly, interpret, prioritize, and collaborate with adults toward meaningful solutions. School leaders learn what their students are experiencing and how to approach collaboration that leads to a more connected school community and a learning environment that helps all students thrive.
We have multiple school partners in currently process, but are looking for new partners to begin in Fall 2023 or Winter 2024.
Strategic Listening

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. Educators, parents, community members, employers, and youth are included in small recorded focus groups lasting 75 to 90 minutes. Counterintuitively, we have found that Zoom is the perfect focus group setting. Participants can join from their own homes or offices, where they feel most comfortable and able to share openly, and no one needs to give up extra time in their busy schedules, meaning more of your community members will participate. 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. And 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.

We have multiple school partners in currently process, but are looking for new partners to begin in Fall 2023 or Winter 2024.