Culture and Climate
The culture and climate at Renaissance is crafted with thought and care because we want each individual that walks through our doors to feel a sense of belonging to something uniquely special. We accomplish this by creating a healthy and positive environment through the development of mutual understanding and trust and shared values and behaviors resulting in deep connections among individuals. These are the things that bind us together and make cooperative action possible.
RENAISSANCE CORE VALUES
Empathy - Feel with and for others
Stewardship - Carefully and responsibly manage something that has been entrusted to your care
Integrity - Do the right thing, even when nobody is watching
Beneficence - Bestow your generosity, but as though no such thing as gratitude existed
Perseverance - Continue an action or belief over a long period, and especially despite difficulties or setbacks
THE PRIMACY OF SELF-DISCOVERY
Learning happens best with emotion, challenge and the requisite support. People discover their abilities, values, passions, and responsibilities in situations that offer adventure and the unexpected. At Renaissance, students undertake tasks that require perseverance, fitness, craftsmanship, imagination, self-discipline, and significant achievement. A teacher's primary task is to help students overcome their fears and discover THEY CAN DO MORE THAN THEY THINK THEY CAN.
ROLE OF THE TEACHER
“No significant learning can occur
without a significant relationship.”
- JAMES CORNER
Building relationships between staff, staff and students, staff and parents and staff and community is core to Renaissance’s philosophy of teaching and learning. A quote by Dr. James Corner that graces our main hallway gives the purpose for this belief, “No significant learning can occur without a significant relationship.”
Teachers strive to form bridges between school and home. One way is to share the journey of discovery undertaken by students so parents can see how such a journey can be exciting and fulfilling. Teachers use a variety of formats - paper, email, instagram, blogs, websites; whatever best fits the needs of the teacher and the families they serve. At the beginning of the school year your student’s teacher will let you know the preferred method of communication.
LEADER & LEARNER
We are all leaders and learners at Renaissance. We respect, teach and learn from one another. Staff use their first names knowing that respect is earned through mutual acceptance, trust, and understanding. A title such as Ms., Mrs., or Mr. in front of a staff member’s first name is added to recognize their unique leadership role.
Instructional protocols are used by teachers at Renaissance to support the success and empowerment of our students, ensure every voice is heard while encouraging critical and creative thinking. Below is a sample of instructional protocols used by teachers at Renaissance.
Anchor Charts build a culture of literacy in the classroom by making thinking visible: recording content, strategies, processes, cues, and guidelines during the learning process. Posting Anchor Charts keeps relevant and current learning accessible to students: to remind them of prior learning, and to enable them to make connections as new learning happens. Students refer to the charts and use them as tools as they answer questions, expand ideas, or contribute to discussions and problem solving in class.
Thumb-O-Meter and other related strategies, help students and teachers visualize student comfort level or readiness in relation to a learning target or aspect of their work using their thumb. Teachers can then adjust their instruction accordingly.
Teachers often provide Guided Practice in a lesson after students grapple with a concept or a text, before releasing them to independent application. Guided Practice provides a model for how the independent work will run as well as a concrete representation of the goal of the work.
This protocol can be used to offer critique and feedback in preparation for revision of work. It is used after a draft of what will become a finished product is completed. This process will help students see what is working and then ask questions and offer suggestions, leading to revision and improvement.
Socratic Seminars promote thinking, meaning making, and the ability to debate, use evidence, and build on one another’s thinking. When well designed and implemented, the seminar provides an active role for every student, engages students in complex thinking about rich content, and teaches students discussion skills.
This protocol promotes productive and equitable conversations, where all students are given the time and space to think, share, and consider the ideas of others. It ensures that all students simultaneously engage with the same text or topic, while promoting synthesis and the social construction of knowledge.
THE CIRCLE OF COURAGE
Based on the four universal growth needs of all children: belonging, mastery, independence, and generosity, the Circle of Courage is the North star that guides our journey of learning because we know children blossom when they feel safe, cared for, capable and that they matter.
OUTDOOR LEARNING ENVIRONMENT
The Outdoor Learning Environment at Renaissance is an extension of our traditional playground, providing students with natural places for exploration, solace, and creative/unstructured play. OLE serves as an outdoor classroom, service learning site, and natural schoolyard.
We transform conventional thinking about outdoor environments and plan our outdoor learning environment as thoughtfully as we do our indoor learning environments.
The out-of-doors offers a large world for children. It can provide places for freedom, exploring and solace. Being in natural outdoor environments helps children thrive, not only physically but also socially, emotionally and intellectually.
Well-designed outdoor learning environments reduce stress, sharpen concentration and promote creative problem solving. We can nurture children’s enthusiasm for the out-of-doors and their commitment to protecting nature.
When planning our outdoor environment we consider:
Connecting children to nature
Caring for plants and creatures
Landscaping for adventure and drama
Creating places to feel powerful and competent
Designing cozy spaces and gathering places
Enhancing play with props and activities
Defining spaces for people and things