The governance model at Ridge and Valley Charter School is collaborative, circle-based modified consensus. Students, guides, trustees, and families use the circle form for meetings, discussions, and decision-making in small and large groups and in committees.
RVCS has benefited from resources and guidance from mentors connected to the organization PeerSpirit. The informative PeerSpirit and The Circle Way websites have been helpful tools to support the evolution and development of our own specific practices from a foundational model of circle governance.
The trustees and staff credit the responsibility and relationships fostered by circle-based collaboration for the successful development of the school so far. Children and adults seek to model the personal responsibility and mutual respect necessary to work in a circle of peers: to ask for what we need and to offer what we can, in support of the explicit shared intention of the group. Using circle practice helps students to develop self-awareness and the capacity for self-regulation.
The circle, or council, is an ancient form of meeting that has gathered human beings into respectful conversation for thousands of years. The circle has served as the foundation for many cultures.
What transforms a meeting into a circle is the willingness of people to shift from informal socializing or opinionated discussion into a receptive attitude of thoughtful speaking and deep listening and to embody and practice the structures outlined in the file available below.
RVCS Behavior Rubric (PDF)