Harmony High School
Location: Bloomington, IN
Type of School: Independent, Non-Sectarian
For nearly 30 years, the Harmony School, a K-12 private school in Bloomington, Indiana, has worked to “sensitize young people to the delicate balance between individual growth and community responsibility.”
Harmony’s emphasis on building community is reflected in the school’s schedule, which provides time for two-hour Family Meetings on Fridays. Chaired and scribed by the students themselves, the Family Meetings allow the entire Harmony community to discuss a wide range of issues, from developing new school policies, to reviewing achievements (both academic and social/emotional), to interviewing and selecting new teachers. Harmony is also one of fourteen schools in Indiana and Vermont exploring how to have high school students become more engaged in antipoverty activism as a part of their school’s curriculum.
Despite its successful history, teacher Sallyann Murphy and others feel the First Amendment Schools project has helped Harmony “go further.” Since becoming a First Amendment School, Harmony's students have launched an online news magazine, The Zeen; created a Student Advisory Committee; and reformed its Family Meetings to give students more control.
In sum, said Murphy, “Harmony’s tenure as a First Amendment School has contributed enormously to our community. It has led us to examine and reexamine ideals that we hold dear; it has stopped us from becoming complacent about our community culture; and it has encouraged us to reach out beyond the walls of our school and share the lessons we have been learning.”
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Tuesday, December 10, 2013 | 22:09:05