What is the BRC Initiative?
In January, 2008, a group of parents concerned about the social and emotional issues affecting student learning came together to discuss their concerns. Initial discussions focused on problems affecting students at all levels (K-12) within the school environment. The following topics were idenitified.
- Physical, verbal, and cyber bullying
- Lack of respect for one another (mocking differ-ences)
- Isolations (kids feeling left out, lack of support system)
- Parental fears
- Teen relationships
Recognizing that there was a loose connection between current efforts to address these topics and initiatives among schools, the group initially focused on three major questions and their relation to social and emotional learning:
- What do we want our students to know and be able to do?
- How will we know when they have learned?
- How do we respond when they are not learning?
The overall goal when addressing these questions was to create a community in which all participants had a greater respect and active concern for others, “a respectful community.” To achieve its goal, the group identified several objectives, including developing a common language that students and the community can use, collecting information from a variety of groups to identify where the issues lie (lunch room, recess, etc.), identifying the impact on and making a connection to the broader community (students, staff, parents, coaches, Boosters, North Andover Youth Services, and the greater North Andover community), and implementing a K-12 programmatic approach. In order to ensure success, the group needed to define the roles of all participants and promote a forum for open communication, pro-viding a safe environment in which individual concerns can be raised and ad-dressed. From this initial meeting, the Building Respectful Community Committee was formed.