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Communication Agreements

Two kids working in a classroom

Why We do what we do

Horizons Communication Agreements, which are posted in every classroom, guide interpersonal communication at our school for adults and students. These guidelines were developed by the Horizons Council and reflect the values of parents, teachers, administration, and students.

We agree to...

  • Be direct. Discuss your concern with the person (parent, teacher, etc.) with whom you are having a conflict or problem
  • Be clear about your concerns—keep the issue specific to your personal experience, trusting you will be received in a nonjudgmental way
  • Ask for help. All teachers have been trained in communication strategies. Feel free to ask your teacher, other teachers, and the Head of School for communication assistance.
  • Listen without judgment, making sure to understand the speaker's message and concerns; paraphrase to ensure and demonstrate accurate understanding
  • Be respectful
  • Believe other people's messages/views are real for them
  • Maintain a communication structure for the school that is known by all community members
  • Work together to meet challenges a way that...

  • Builds our relationships through honesty and empathy
  • Works to find win/win outcomes
  • Keeps a disagreement problem-based
  • Is blame-free
  • Keeps the wellbeing of the children first
  • Supports/upholds the goals and philosophies of Horizons
  • Creates a shared solution

Expectations for Horizons Community Members

Education at Horizons is a team effort that involves students, teachers, and parents working together to implement the school's vision. Horizons teachers and parents are expected to share the responsibility for ensuring successful learning experiences for our students by:

  • Creating and maintaining a respectful school climate
  • Collaboratively developing, refining, and implementing the vision of the school through the work of the Horizons Council

Parents will support the Horizons mission by:

  • Educating themselves about the Horizons philosophy and goals, which guide the learning activities at the school
  • Strengthening the Horizons’ climate of trust, respect, and shared problem­ solving by practicing the Horizons Communications Agreements
  • Providing feedback, in a timely fashion
  • Participating in shared decision­ making
  • Thinking positively and critically about Horizons, and contributing ideas that will help the school continue to flourish
  • Attending at least one school event and Council meeting every year to build an understanding of and connection to the Horizons community Parents will support their children in becoming successful learners by:
  • Supporting their children to attend school regularly
  • Helping children arrive at school on time on a consistent basis
  • Participating in the development and evaluation of their child’s learning goals at Family Conferences
  • Notifying teachers of significant changes or events in their children’s lives that may affect their school performance
  • Letting their children know, in word and action, that education is important
  • Helping their children develop good study habits and pride in producing complete, quality, and accurate work
  • Providing necessary supplies at home and at school to complete tasks, or accepting assistance/supplies from school
  • Providing a time and place at home for their children to work on assignments
  • Supporting their children in completing their assignments on time by adjusting family activity schedules as appropriate
  • Planning alternative learning activities if children must unavoidably miss school

Parents will develop effective communication links with the school by:

  • Modeling the Horizons Communication Agreements
  • Communicating information, questions, and/or concerns to teachers about instructional styles, student needs/interests, and classroom procedures as they arise
  • Regularly reading the classroom and/or school newsletters, and checking the Horizons website
  • Helping other Horizons parents to understand and to practice the Horizons Communication Agreements

Parents will support the health and safety of all Horizons students by:

  • Following the parking rules at morning drop ­off and dismissal times
  • Picking their children up from school in a timely fashion
  • Supervising their own children at events held outside of regular school hours
  • Supporting efforts to clean and maintain our school building

Parents will model being community contributors who support the operation of the school by:

  • Participating in the Horizons Council
  • Coordinating or volunteering at a school activity or in the classroom or finding ways to help from home

Students will show respect for themselves, other people, and property by:

  • Maintaining good attendance
  • Arriving at school and getting to class on time
  • Practicing appropriate hygiene
  • Dressing appropriately for school activities
  • Cleaning up after themselves
  • Respecting the property of others
  • Respecting school environment, equipment, and materials
  • Willingly participating in service-learning
  • Honoring their commitments (keeping their promises)

Students will demonstrate effective communication by:

  • Practicing the Communication Agreements
  • Appreciating and interacting successfully with people of all ages
  • Sharing their knowledge, ideas, and successes
  • Respecting each other’s truths and points of view
  • Demonstrating empathy, kindness, and inclusiveness
  • Using appropriate language
  • Offering their individual perceptions and assessments as a unique thinker

Students will become self-directed learners by collaborating with teachers and parents to:

  • Recognize and produce quality work
  • Set goals for themselves, and then reflect and evaluate their progress toward achieving those goals
  • Make responsible choices about their learning
  • Organize time and materials to meet their learning goals
  • Plan, initiate and follow through with activities
  • Take risks and challenge themselves

Teachers and Administrators will support the Horizons mission by:

  • Educating themselves about the Horizons philosophy and goals, which guide the learning activities at the school
  • Working together to develop and implement curriculum, activities, procedures, and policies that support the Horizons philosophy that recognizes different cultural, identity, and racial knowledge and perspectives, and teaches a curriculum that is inclusive of all throughout the school year
  • Advocating for the social, emotional and academic growth and development of students
  • Strengthening the climate of trust, respect, and shared problem ­solving by practicing the Horizons Communications Agreements
  • Providing constructive feedback, in a timely fashion, to the faculty and/or the Horizons Council to assist in the resolution of school issues
  • Facilitating shared decision ­making
  • Thinking positively and critically about Horizons and contributing ideas that will help the school continue to become stronger and more successful
  • Attending Horizons Council meetings to participate in the school governance process
  • Attending school events to build and strengthen the Horizons community
  • Regularly attending and contributing to faculty and team meetings

Teachers and Administrators will support students in becoming successful learners by:

  • Maintaining high standards for student academic performance
  • Maintaining high standards for student behavior
  • Guiding students to become self-­directed learners through conferencing with students and their families in order to identify and evaluate individual learning goals.
  • Responding to the needs of individual students and differentiating instruction to reflect abilities, needs, and interests
  • Maintaining organized, attractive, eco­-friendly classroom environments conducive to learning
  • Offering appropriate learning activities for all students to facilitate student progress
  • Supporting students in completing their assignments on time
  • Developing and implementing clear and consistent classroom procedures
  • Allowing students to express their ideas and make choices in their learning
  • Helping students appreciate and value different opinions and points of view
  • Planning for and utilizing classroom volunteer time effectively
  • Helping students develop good study habits
  • Communicating to students when homework is important, is an opportunity to improve skills, and can be an extension of the school learning process
  • Evaluating student learning using performance and product assessments, portfolios, observations, and standardized assessments
  • Providing natural/appropriate consequences to students when necessary
  • Holding students accountable for quality work and appropriate behavior

Teachers and Administrators will develop effective communication links with families by:

  • Modeling the Horizons Communication Agreements in word and example
  • Explaining classroom expectations and procedures to students and parents
  • Being clear about homework expectations and school requirements
  • Providing on­going, timely feedback about student progress to students and parents
  • Responding to and/or requesting meetings with parents to clarify information and concerns, and to participate in joint problem ­solving

Teachers and Administrators will support the emotional and physical health and safety of all Horizons students by:

  • Guiding students to value individual differences be it racial, ethnic, ability or orientation
  • Receiving training in CPR/First Aid procedures on a regular basis
  • Participating in the supervision of students during recess and student pick­up
  • Guiding students to participate in cleaning their classrooms, the school, and the grounds
  • Understanding student and family life changes and transitions

Teachers and Administrators will guide students to become community contributors by:

  • Modeling community service as they support the operation of the school through a contribution of two hours per week of school service and regular participation in the Horizons Council
  • Communicating the value of service-learning to students and parents, and helping students identify opportunities for community service experiences

Teachers and Administrators will demonstrate a commitment toward professional growth by:

  • Attending faculty and team meetings, in­services, and Council meetings
  • Taking risks, and working in an open and supportive manner with each other to continuously improve the Horizons program
  • Modeling life­long learning through individual professional development activities
  • Participating in the Horizons Peer Review process