ONS "Extending our Roots" InitiativeThis year, the Onondaga Nation School (ONS) has undertaken a cool enterprise: the “Extending Our Roots” initiative. Conceived by the school’s Restorative Practice Team (RPT), the goal of this initiative is to create and foster relationships that will better help anchor the school to its community, while simultaneously encouraging students to get out and try different activities.
How it works: Each month, 30 minutes are reserved for students in grades Pre-K-5 to choose where they would like to go, and which activity they would like to try. Activities are conceived by both middle school students and staff, and by tapping into individual talents and interests. The activities are broad-ranging; beading, origami, social songs, Spheros (robots that help teach kids how to code), and food science, to name only a few. The result is students from different grade levels joining together to pursue common interests. On these days, the building hums with excitement from the start, and students always finish the day glowing as they head back into their classrooms to share their experiences!
The idea comes from the RPT, and the professional learning community book study “Better Than Carrots and Sticks: Restorative Practice for Positive Classroom Management.” The book study is fueling school-wide initiatives at ONS that cultivate relationships among students, while challenging staff to consider their own relationships within the building as well.