Courtyard Swings (Bob Jones High School)
We are raising funds to build a pergola with swings for our outdoor courtyard. Our unique project, designed and built by Bob Jones students, will provide a space on campus for students whose native language is not English, military connected students, at-risk students, and other students and faculty to connect for conversation to develop and enhance Social Emotional Learning skills. All students need practice in conversation as well as relationship skills and opportunities to develop self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and responsible decision-making skills. Swings, rocking chairs, and the inviting nature of this outdoor space will give students a place to visit with peers and even decompress as needed throughout the school day. The goals of this project are to serve our entire student body and provide organic opportunities for them to practice and develop social and emotional learning skills. This unique multipurpose area will provide all students a place for conversation and relationship building, but our English-learning students can use the space to practice social and academic language skills. Regularly occurring events will be scheduled for our military connected students to meet new friends and connect to their place in our school family. It will serve a secondary purpose of providing a space for teachers and students to model healthy social and emotional learning skills. If students need a place to decompress throughout the day, they will have a place to do so. The outdoor conversation area can also serve as a classroom setting for discussion-based lessons. Our Construction Science Academy teacher will supervise as his students design, purchase materials, and build the outdoor conversation area for our school. Once the outdoor conversation area is completed, we will organize an official grand opening. Students and teachers will be able to use the space for conversation and decompression during class change/breaks and lunch. Classes can also meet in the area if their lesson can be enhanced by student discussions. Our school serves 1785 students with a community where 61 EL students are enrolled and 18 different languages are represented. We also have 432 military-connected students with 70 students whose parents are active duty. These student populations indicate the transience of our community and the need for our school to have and work consistently to provide a culture of welcome and care. Relationship skills, social awareness, self-management, self-awareness, social awareness, and responsible decision making are important skills that can be enhanced. If EL and Military Connected students engage with our student body sooner, then the project will have been a success.