Leadership, Citizenship, sElf-Governance & Learner handbook
“Leadership is never an avenue to be self-serving, but rather a platform to render great service to others.”
—Ifeanyi Enoch Onuoha
Nea prides itself on creating and building a sense of community within our learners and families.
Our school's structure as a small-scale democratic society is the way we live out these values and accomplish these goals. Democratic societies require community members to participate in leadership, citizenship and self-governance to be successful. In other words, they require members to step up and take responsibility to function well.
Nea's Leadership, Contemporary Community Citizenship (CCC) and Judicial Committee (JC) are the learner-led and facilitator-advised bodies that carry out these functions and create the unique democratic culture that permeates Nea's academic and extracurricular life.
Leadership is a vital way that Nea empowers learners.
Leadership takes on the executive functions of the community of learners, similar to a student council, and conducts its business using Robert's Rules of Order. This group meets frequently and works closely with a facilitator to deliberate, vote on, and implement proposals submitted by the community.
Leadership responsibilities include: codifying changes in the rule book, enforcing community rules, coordinating center activities, supporting the smooth operation of day-to-day affairs, and coordinating and facilitating the annual Nea Constitutional Convention. Many functions such as planning CCC meetings and announcements, coordinating field trips, and other facilitative and communication roles are accomplished by Leadership.
Leadership gives learners extensive experience in management and facilitation of operations and mitigates the necessity of hiring support staff to perform these functions.
Leadership offers learners the opportunity to engage in self-management and organization of their own learning community.
It also provides meaningful roles and real-world experiences for learners and helps maintain and operate the school more cost-effectively.
Contemporary Community Citizenship (CCC)
CCC serves as the primary communication matrix of Nea and encompasses both the Lower and Upper Village community of learners. It consists of a weekly whole-school meeting which then breaks down into small group formats to ensure all voices are heard.
CCC empowers Nea learners to establish the operational rules of their learning community and make decisions about the use of resources (e.g., purchase of specific equipment, use of funding for field trips, etc.).
In CCC, learners come together to discuss ongoing issues of importance to the school. Issues as mundane as noise levels and cleanliness to issues as complex and critical as sexual harassment and community relations may be discussed and decided upon. Individual needs may also be discussed.
CCC also assumes responsibility for legislative action – making, discussing and voting on formal proposals that relate to the policy and operations of the school. Many of these actions are controlled by the CCC and do not require review or approval by the Nea Board.
CCC is the locus for Nea's annual Constitutional Convention, during which the entire community reviews the operations of the year and make changes to the Constitution governing the school. This includes the creation and amendment of the Law Book – the document which clarifies the rules and code of conduct for the entire Nea Charter School community, including learners, facilitators, parents, and community visitors.
CCC evaluates our facilitators, Leadership Committee and school operations and makes recommendations for change.
CCC also elects learner representatives to the Nea Board.
Much decision-making power related to the self-management of the school involves the participation of Nea learners. However, issues which reflect a change in basic mission, charter, philosophy, budget and personnel matters require review and approval by the Nea Board or the CLCS Governing Board before they take effect.
Judicial Committee (JC)
The JC is vital to the governance of Nea, placing the responsibility for self-management directly on the learners.
JC enforces the rules of the school by hearing cases submitted by learners and facilitators and deciding on appropriate consequences to specific actions. The findings of the JC are binding on all parties involved and may result in further action, including suspension or expulsion, if necessary.
The JC also mediates disputes and assists parties who engaged in conflict to find common ground and move forward in a cooperative manner. This role is particularly important to maintain harmony among parties who remain in the same learning community and interact regularly.
The Judicial Committee (JC) is comprised of five clerks elected by the learners and one facilitator selected by his/her peers. JC meets each week to consider issues related to infringement of rules codified in the Law Book developed by CCC.