Pillar Spotlight #12: Students take ACTion in Student Government Association @Caliber: Beta Academy!
Read all about how two middle school students at Caliber: Beta Academy Upper School are taking ACTion through the Student Government Association!
Student Government Association of Caliber Beta academy is democratically elected group of students and is run on the principles of leadership and stewardship for the Caliber community. Students within SGA embody the Pillar of ACT by assisting with daily responsibilities and operations of the school, they fund raise and plan for student activities, and they organize events for the community at large.
- Michelle Cardenas, Upper School Assistant Principal @Caliber: Beta Academy
A recent interview with Zhyier Rivers (8th) and Brandon Blackmore (7th)
Tell me more about SGA (Student Government Association) and your role in it:
Brandon: It stands for Student Government Association. Students drafted the constitution and this basically lists our rules during meetings. We have the “one mic” rule and it allows us to respect what each other is saying. The meetings take place every morning at 8 am and there are about 15 students who are involved. I am the advisory representative!
Zhyier: "Last year, Ms. Cardenas presented what SGA was during advisory and I decided to join. It sounded like a club where students get to talk about things that affect us at Caliber. That's why I decided to join and now I am SGA's secretary."
Tell me, why do you think it’s important to have student government?
Brandon: "As a representative for my advisory, I think it’s important for someone to speak up about the needs of what students want and I can be their voice."
Zhyier: "It’s important because it allows students to have a voice about what happens in the school. Students get to take on responsibilities that we otherwise wouldn’t. They might want to take on politics in the future and this is a great start.
Brandon:"The experience you get from it- like when you apply to high school and they see you were involved in middle school, that says something good about you. You get to build leadership skills before you get to high school!" "
Tell me more about the types of things you do or talk about in SGA:
Brandon: "We talk about planning dances, and advisory competition like door decorations. It's always based on the season. Last year, we had an ugly Christmas sweater competition! We also talk about potentially opening a school store, having healthy snacks and school supplies for students. We were talking about this because people used to sneak in candy and sell it on the low, but we wanted to make money for the school and sell healthy things.
How is this project related to the ACT pillar?
Zhyier: It's related to the ACT pillar because we take ACTion on things that matter to us! You are taking Actions by speaking up for students.
Brandon: "Taking ACTion means you also take on responsibilities. Every morning a student from SGA volunteers to collect cell phones and puts these in Yonder pouches. This is an ACT to make sure students are focused in class!"
If you could share one piece of wisdom or insight related to this Pillar what would it be?
Zhyier: "Having a voice matters"
Brandon: "If you see something, say something."
Read all about how 3rd graders at Caliber: Beta Academy are exercising HEART through interactive dialogues!
Interactive student dialogues are very much part of our HEART pillar, in that they help students articulate their knowledge of self and others. It's a great opportunity for students to share a part of their story, often relating to their family and culture. After sharing their object, they then take related questions. This gives each student a moment that is theirs, to experience peer interest and curiosity in their story. It also helps to build a foundation for future discussions on themes relating to culture and identity... as well as a moment to shine!
A recent interview with Byron Rodriguez (3rd) who recently presented during morning circles:
Tell me, why do you think it’s important to have interactive dialogues?
Byron: "It's important because my classmates get to learn more about me. They also get to learn what is important to me and we get to talk about why I chose the object. Others might not know this part of me and my family, but during morning circles we get to discuss this."
Tell me about the object you brought this morning to share:
Byron: "I brought the bible-- a Christian bible. It’s important to me because it was passed down from one generation to another. My great grandmother didn’t know how to read and when she learned this was the first book she read and from there it was passed down to my grandmother and mother. It’s also important to everyone that is Christian like me and I wanted to share that with other students in my class. "
Why is this dialogue important for students to engage in?
Byron: "It helps other students understand our differences. When we bring in an object that is important to us, we get asked how it's related to our culture and this is a good thing to talk about. There are students that are Catholic and they get to learn about Christianity and why it's important to me."
How are interactive dialogues related to the HEART pillar?
Byron: "To me HEART is love and sharing my bible with my class is meaningful to me."
If you could share one piece of wisdom or insight related to this pillar with our community, what would it be?
Byron: "Open up yourself to the world so they can learn about you!"
Read all about how 6th graders at Caliber: ChangeMakers Academy are using SMART in their ELA class!
In 6th grade English we are writing narrative stories. Narratives are my favorite because they allow students to unleash their imagination while they are learning structures and elements of an essay. In this particular essay they are writing about climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. We got to explore the biomes of the mountain and learned about my own personal experience of climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. Being able to integrate other subject areas into mine, is my favorite part of teaching English. It is a joy to see an extra layer of excitement about their narrative because they can talk to someone that completed the journey. Narrative writing is my favorite genre, and its amazing being able to share it with my students.
- Alycia Barlow, 6th Grade ELA Teacher @ChangeMakers Academy
A recent interview with two 6th graders:
Tell me more about the narrative project you are working on:
Kendall: “Well, we are making up a story about what happens as we climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. We write about the biomes we are going through and the challenges we face. This assignment is helping us think about important writing skills and pushing our imagination.”
Jeffrey: “This type of writing let’s our imagination out and let’s us be more creative. In elementary school, they didn’t let us do this, everything had to be a specific way. Also, with this assignment we mix Science and ELA!”
Tell me a little bit more about your own narrative piece:
Kendall: “In my story, I am in a big group and we have one cook that makes all the food for everyone, but the food gets stolen and that’s where my adventure starts.”
Jeffrey: “My title is “Mt.Kili the Abominable Adventurer." My story has an unidentified character that decides to climb the mountain.”
Why is this kind of writing important for students to do?
Jeffrey: “You add so many voices to your writing, even though we are writing this on our own. I think it sets a path for us and gives us practice in our writing. Before we wrote things just to write, but we are learning to use quotation marks and commas. We are learning where they belong or and how these set apart characters.”
Kendall: "I want to be a geologist when I grow up and I want to write books about geology. The writing I am doing today is helping my prepare for my writing in the future. This helps make our writing better."
How is this project related to the SMART pillar?
Kendall:“This type of writing helps us be mindful about what is happening in places that you never imagined! We can connect subjects like Science and ELA. That is the SMART pillar!”
Jeffrey: “You have to teach yourself when you are writing! You realize that you can create and solve your own problems through writing. That is SMART!"
If you could share one piece of wisdom or insight related to these narratives and the SMART Pillar, what would it be?
Kendall: “Creativity is important because you catch a reader's interest!“
Jeffrey: “In narrative writing, you can combine reality with fiction.”