Étude Middle School Blog
November 18, 2019
by: Courtney Kissinger
Advisory is a core element of our school culture at Étude Middle School, and one unique component of our Advisory program is Town Hall. We have Town Hall meetings every week, and it is a time when the entire school gets together for one of three reasons, to build community, watch and interact with a performance, or improve school culture. Each Town Hall meeting is hosted by an Advisory with student-led gathering, activities, and reflections, as well as announcements and appreciations. Here is a closer glimpse into the different types of activities you may see happening in a Town Hall meeting at Étude Middle School:
Culture Town Hall
One example of a Culture Town Hall meeting is pictured here. Students at Étude recognized that as middle school students, they don't always acknowledge or share the positives they see in one another. The activity "reach out and tap someone" is designed to help students identify the things they appreciate about their peers. Students sit in a circle facing outwards while the facilitators, students from the hosting advisory, read prompts such as "reach out and tap someone who you can trust" or "reach out and tap someone who made you smile this week." The students in the middle then acknowledge others by simply tapping their shoulder. Activities like these help us build a school culture where students appreciate each other, establish trust, and create a sense of belonging.
Performance Town Hall
The Performance Town Hall meetings provide a glimpse of what students have been creating within their seminars over the course of the year. In one specific Performance Town Hall, the Ensemble seminar class performed a song they recreated using nontraditional musical instruments. After the performance, students in the audience were asked to give feedback to help them improve and further prepare for their next performance. Through Performance Town Halls, students at Étude appreciate the diverse range of talents of their peers and are inspired to explore their own creative options.
Community Building Town Hall
The Community Building Town Hall meetings are quite popular among the students of Étude Middle School. During these meetings, students are posed with some type of challenge that they need to complete with their advisory members. Each activity requires all students to collaborate and communicate in order to complete the activity, and is followed by a reflection on what went well and what they could have done differently. As an example, students recently participated in a challenge called "Helium Stick" where all students must keep a finger on a stick while lowering it to the ground. After this activity, students reflected on how important it is to have effective communication within a group, which translates directly to their learning and experiences in academic classes.
Why do we love Town Hall?
Advisory is a wonderful school community development tool, and Town Hall meetings are just one of the many elements of our advisory program. We love coming together every week to participate in these Town Hall meetings, and the student-led design gives our students a voice in what their school community looks like. Providing leadership roles for our students within this structure has led to significant cultural improvements at Étude Middle School, and continues to benefit them socially, emotionally, and academically.
September 3, 2019
by: Courtney Kissinger