The Gathering Place model will be radically different from traditional school models with an emphasis on social justice, creative arts, and project-based learning. Instead of transitioning from one isolated class to another, students will spend the majority of their day working on projects and artwork that they design and is relevant to their lives. In addition to dedicated time each day to learn the foundations of literacy and conceptual numeracy, children will have art every day and will experience dance, theater, visual arts, and music throughout the year. Student projects and art will often focus on social justice, allowing for the development of a critical consciousness of the inequities with the world and the harnessing of tools to create meaningful change. Students will learn through hands-on, real-world projects that are based on problems and questions that arise from their communities and lives.
Teachers will focus on nurturing creative confidence and activating students to think and act in ways that bring about new ideas and forms of expression. Much of the work students will engage with is collaborative, helping to develop strong social skills while also experiencing firsthand the power of collective impact. The school culture will be rooted in relationships and creating a sense of belonging for all students to be their true selves.
The school community will focused on restorative practices that address and resolve conflict instead of punitive detentions and suspensions. The Gathering Place will employ an array of trained mental health and social services staff to support students and their families.
The Gathering Place aims to serve at least 50% low-income families and match or exceed nearby school’s enrollment of children who are English Learners and/or in Special Education.
The Gathering Place will open in fall 2020 with grades K-2 inside the 410 loop on the west side (exact location to be announced soon). It will add an additional grade level each year until serving grades K-12.