In the Words of our 40 Adolescents

By Nancy Coronado, Metro Montessori Middle School Program Director

We begin every year in our adolescent program at the middle school with the opportunity for students to voice ideas and desires for their ideal school/work environment.  Over the course of the first weeks of school, we hold brief meetings to allow for this conversation to happen, for the students to hear each other and respond.  They then take these wishes for our community and create the MMM Code of Conduct, which we read every week at our council meeting and refer to when issues come up in the environment.  This code of conduct, created from a place of aspirations for our best selves, guides us throughout the year. 
As I read through it earlier this week, I was struck by the courage and vulnerability of the call to action in the Code.  What our students want is simple, but out in the world it gets very complex.  If I could boil it down to a few words, what they are asking for is a place of kindness, respect and love of learning; a place where they are respected for being themselves and where they will be received with kindness when they make mistakes, and a place where learning is all their own.  
2015-16 MMM Code
MMM students create a sustainable work environment where we each continue to thrive on our own educational path by:
  • Being positive, enjoying learning, and trying new things.
  • Caring for the material environment, keeping things tidy, responding to tasks that need to be done, and using our space and materials productively.
  • Listening actively to others’ opinions, trying to understand where the opposing person is coming from, and using their differing opinions to expand our world views.
MMM students contribute towards a social environment that helps build up other classmates and empower the community to:
  • Respect and celebrate differences, including, but not limited to: race, religion, gender, personality, sexuality, family, academic pace, etc.
  • Embrace the prospect of new friends, and be accepting and see the best in new students.
  • Be comfortable asking for help when needed, making others comfortable by giving help when asked, and understanding if/when help is not needed.
Our adolescents come together every fall to pour their hearts out and ask each other for the kind of place that they want to live in, and then they go about the year trying to live it.  Sometimes it’s clear that they know exactly where the path is, and other times we lose our way and need to be reminded of the importance of the code, and, in essence, of who we want to be and what we want for the world.