In Community

Community Meeting is an element of Higher Achievement’s program model that builds camaraderie at center and develops scholars’ social-emotional skills that are critical for high school readiness. During Community Meeting, scholars participate in discussions, games, and activities that help them practice self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making. Scholars also have the opportunity to lead, learn new cultural perspectives, and collaborate with their peers.

Community Meeting takes place approximately twice a week at center and joins scholars from all grade levels. The gathering opens with a time of welcome where scholars and staff check in with one another. The topic and activities of Community Meeting vary and can include discussion of recent events, games and competitions, and activities with real-world applications of social-emotional skill-building. During the closing time, scholars often participate in reflections and share-outs that strengthen their leadership skills.

Recent Community Meetings at Mt. Royal Achievement Center included “Culture Con” where scholars and staff researched a country of interest. Mt. Royal Learning Coordinator Mariah chose the Philippines and gave a presentation and made a Filipino dessert. Scholars played traditional Filipino games utilizing numbers they learned in Tagalog during the presentation. Later, scholars brought in items for show and tell or presented on their chosen country. During the fall, a Community Meeting about Thanksgiving included a discussion about common myths and misconceptions concerning Native Americans, an exploration of the history of the Wampanoag people, and an activity with team-based memory games.

At Greenbelt Achievement Center, scholars participated in a two-part Community Meeting on active listening where scholars gathered in pairs to interview one another and create a poster about their assigned partner. The follow-up meeting included a gallery walk and presentations by scholars. A Kinesthetic Knowledge Bowl Community Meeting created a relay competition in which scholars worked together in teams to solve equations, answer history questions, and create a call-and-response chant.

At Boushall Achievement Center, a January Community Meeting engaged scholars in reflection of the prior year and encouraged consideration of skills that would set them up for success in 2024. Scholars participated in a writing activity and group discussion about overcoming challenges, staying motivated, and establishing habits.

The collaborative model of Community Meetings enables scholars to build relationships with their peers and staff while strengthening the social-emotional skills critical to success in middle school, high school, and beyond.