“Community Building” is a class unlike any other. It is based on genuine participation in daily life at Wellsprings. It is an essential part of being a Wellsprings student, and making the school a comfortable, functional, and fun environment—for you, and for everyone here. Formal credit (0.25 credits per term) is based on the following criteria:
- Participation in Morning Circle
- Being present in Silent Circle
- Participation in Community Meetings
- Participation in All-School activities
- Participation in School Chores
“Community Building” is required for graduation. It is graded as either “Pass” (P) or “No Basis” (NB), with credits calculated proportionally to attendance and participation. Because many students do not begin at Wellsprings in their freshman year, requiring a single fixed number of credits for everyone is inappropriate. Instead, the requirement is individually calculated, based on the expectation that you will earn an average of at least 0.2 credits per term in attendance, or in other words, at least 80% of the credit for Community Building that you could earn while enrolled in Wellsprings.
Every day starts with a 10-minute Morning Circle. Announcements are made, stories told, birthdays celebrated, a “quote of the day” and “word of the day’ shared, and often a joke or bad pun leaves everyone laughing…or groaning.
After Morning Circle on Fridays, the school community remains for Silent Circle, a practice of value for our daily lives and a practice that has roots in many cultures and traditions. As the whole group settles into a sustained period of silence, every person should seek to quiet their mind and body. This is a time for personal reflection and community oneness. During Silent Circle it is not appropriate to talk, whisper, touch others, make noise, listen to headphones, read, share seats, leave the room, or in any way disturb the peaceful atmosphere. The Silent Circle lasts fifteen minutes, and ends when the leader says, “Good morning, friends,” and everyone in the circle holds hands.
Once each term all students and staff gather for a Community Meeting, and at other times when needed. All members of the community are expected to attend. Students and staff are encouraged to bring items for discussion along with concerns and problems that may need to be addressed by the entire community, as well as joys and other sharing. All points of view will be heard and respected, with consensus being reached on any item that requires a decision.
Friday afternoons are set aside for all-school activities. Each week is a different activity. Once a term we hold a Community Meeting and once each term we do Community Service. A popular community service activity is Burrito Missionaries, when a group of students, led by a teacher, travel around the city and hand out burritos—made in the morning by the Cooking Class—to unhoused individuals. Recreational activities, always popular, include bowling, laser tag, miniature golf, visiting the pumpkin patch, and many others. We also visit local museums, farms, production facilities like Glory Bee, and so on. Another area of Friday activities is professional performances, which have included Chinese Acrobats, Native Pride Dancers, Robotics demonstrations, Taiko Drums, and Juggling; and also programs by local organizations such as SASS, Courageous Kids, HIV Alliance, CALC, and 350 Eugene. Lastly, some Fridays we just hang out here at school - sometimes, “free form” when everyone gets to choose one of various activities happening around the school; other times, something like a “movie night” afternoon, complete with popcorn!
Part of being a community member includes keeping the shared environment clean and comfortable. At break time during afternoon block classes, waste baskets are emptied, floors swept or vacuumed, stray dishes collected and washed, recycling and compost taken outside, etc. Everyone is expected to lend a hand.