Highlands School District
The Sanctuary Model
Highlands School District is the first public school district in the nation to implement the Sanctuary Model in each building. The Sanctuary Model is a step-by-step method of communication that will help strengthen the ties between the district and community to create a positive learning and work environment.
This framework will enable the staff to recognize the external stressors as well as the emotional needs of students to improve success in the classroom and avoid unnecessary conflict. By integrating all of the beliefs and programs of the school, a kinder and gentler community will be created due to positive, open lines of communication.
This model can also be applied to everyday lifestyles outside of the school to improve communication at home and work.
Participating staff, students and community members are empowered as key decision makers because they have a voice for change. The benefits to be achieved by this philosophy are improvement in staff and leader job satisfaction, an increase in positive behavior of staff and students, less turnover of staff, and an increased sense of community.
There are 7 Commitments to guide an organization in the development of a new culture. This includes a commitment to: Non-violence, Emotional Intelligence, Inquiry and Social Learning, Democracy, Open Communication, Social Responsibility, and Growth and Change.
Dedication to these commitments will create shared meaning across the district with the use of common language and respect for everyone. Teachers and administration went through extensive training with members of the Sanctuary Institute during the summer of 2010 to help prepare them for the school year. Faculty from the Sanctuary Institute will continue to provide support teams to ensure a long-standing commitment by all.