Message from the Principal

Closing Circles at Ross Park

This school year, teachers and students at Ross Park are participating in the practice of closing circles at the end of each day.  In the last ten minutes of the school day, students gather together and take turns sharing a reflection about their day in response to a question posed to the group. Each student is encouraged to share their response.  Questions can be teacher or student led, depending on the age and grade level of students.

The practice of closing circle reflections is modeled after the Responsive Classroom approach to education.  The Responsive Classroom is an evidence-based educational approach, that focuses on the strong relationship between academic success and social-emotional learning (SEL). Retrieved from: http://www.responsiveclassroom.org

While Ross Park teachers have been utilizing a daily morning meeting format to connect, check in, and review the happens of the day with students for years, most teachers did not have a similar structure of checking out with students at the end of the day.  In turn teachers reported the end of the day often feeling rushed and stressful, for not only themselves, but for students as well.

Over the summer, the Ross Park School Leadership Team dug deeper into the practice of incorporating a daily closing circle in an effort to encourage, not only the crucial learning practice of student reflection, but also with the goal of bringing a more peaceful ending to each day.

Through the work of teachers leaders, peer to peer observations and grade level collaborations, closing reflective circles have been developed and implemented in all Ross Park classrooms.

Teachers now report that closing circles have not only given them valuable insight into students’ reflections of their days, but they have completely eliminated the frenzied feeling at the end of day.  Teachers and students alike state that now, instead of dreading the end of the day rush, they look forward to the peaceful transition into the evening that closing circles provide.

For more information on Responsive Classrooms, please visit the Center for Responsive Schools at: www.responsiveclassroom.org.

Sincerely,

Eve Mills, Principal