Exercising the democratic governance model and celebrating its newly-renewed charter, Unity Charter School’s March 26th Assembly meeting helped pass an annual budget that will shape the school’s direction and priorities this year. Looking ahead, main school priorities include a slight increase in enrollment, as well as the creation of a new middle school learning group with an accompanying teacher specializing in science. The Board of Trustees also reported strides on existing goals such as improving data tracking and reporting of student achievement, mapping and expanding curriculum and strengthening the future vision of the middle school grades.
About once a month, the CommUnity comes together for coffee after the school wide morning meeting. Lately, the meetup has evolved into curated discussions about various topics related to our school. This past week, I was able to attend the discussion about adopting a policy to make Unity a “Commercial Free School”. Commercial Free Schools are schools that “adopt policies that assure positive public school- private sector relationships, and guard against commercial partnerships that require school districts to advertise as a condition for receiving funds, products, materials or equipment.” (http://www.ibiblio.org/commercialfree/policies.html)
On this very day (Monday, March 19th 2012), we are honored to have Joe Biden, the Vice President of the United States, visit the beloved Morristown, in which our school resides. We believe our politics are just as important as Joe’s politics. Read and see how. – Editor Every day at Unity is living proof that a collaborative environment yields a productive participatory school community. As I greet the students and their families, on a first name basis each and every morning, it is an example of our philosophy about respectful relationships. The founders of Unity believed that Democratic Governance would be a pillar of the school. Within that framework, one does not earn respect with a title such as Dr. or even Mr. and Mrs. Rather, respect is earned with actions. Every member of Unity is valued and has a voice.
The Unity Talent Show is hands down my favorite fundraiser of the year. Don’t get me wrong… I love the rollerskating fundraiser and the Hoopla (i.e. student versus staff basketball game) is so exciting to watch, but you just can’t beat the Talent Show for a great evening of “commUnity”. I found out about the Unity Talent Show long before my kids started attending the school. My neighbor, whose son attended the school, would rave to me about how great the talent show was and that I really should come and watch one. “Watch a talent show that my kids aren’t even part of?!” I thought. “Why would I put myself through that agony?” But then my kids got accepted into the school. Of course, we all wanted to attend and support the school. That was the spring of 2008. I have been captivated ever since.
Toni Morrison said, “You need a whole community to raise a child,” and we parents know this to be true. We send our kids to school, we send them on playdates, and eventually, we send them out into the world. The word “community” has many different meanings, but this is my favorite one: A group of people living together in one place, especially one practicing common ownership. Common ownership. I like that. It leaves a feeling of belonging, a feeling of pride, a feeling of unity.