Tern Foundation Supports Hampshire College, Peck School Collaborative Project
How do you build a culture of respect in schools?
A collaboration between Hampshire College and William Peck School in Holyoke aims to develop creative approaches towards fostering a respectful, safe school environment, with their work supported by a grant from the Tern Foundation.
In an elective course at Peck and working across the fields of education, childhood studies, design, art, and technology, eight Hampshire College students will develop social justice experiences for students in grades six through eight. Goals include familiarizing students with basic technology and design tools in order to develop creative interventions that will be rolled out to the broader school community.
The yearlong project extends longstanding ties between Hampshire and Peck School. Led by architectural studies professor Thom Long and education studies professor Kristen Luschen, the project will develop interventions that respond to students' experiences of mistreatment or bullying.
Professors Long and Luschen designed the project proposal in collaboration with Peck School Principal Paul Hyry-Dermith and Full Service Community School Director Megan Harding.
"As an alum, I know firsthand that Hampshire is all about fostering a learning environment that encourages its community to shape a better world based on respect and compassion," said Marianne Lampke 77F, co-director of the Tern Foundation. "This sensibility, reinforced by Thom and Kristen's distinctive vision, is perfectly compatible with our goal to invest in projects that embrace creativity to promote a culture of civility in schools."
The project will utilize Hampshire's Childhood, Youth, and Learning (CYL) and Design, Art, and Technology (DART) programs. The Hampshire students will begin their involvement in fall 2011, starting with basic research and introduction to the project goals, with the work continuing in an independent study in spring 2012. The course at Peck School will be held in spring 2012.
"The class will help students to consider what it means to convey and experience respect in school and in their community and to examine the barriers to this in school, among their friends, and in their community," said Professor Luschen. "It will draw on students' stories of when they haven't experienced support as well as things that make them to feel connected to one another, respected, safe, and generally engaged with the school."
Tern Foundation is a small private foundation launched in 2010. Through their newly inaugurated Peace Education Initiatives grant program, Tern will consider funding to qualifying educational institutions and nonprofit organizations in support of imaginative ways to create a culture of respect and civility among youth, faculty, and families through hands-on, project-based creative learning experiences.