Secondary & Middle Schools
“Dialogue not only teaches you how to interact with and understand those around you more deeply, it also teaches you more about the world and yourself. I think dialogue is super important to my growth as a student, a global citizen, and a human being.”
Meirav Solomon ’20
Cary Academy (NC)
Imagine a school where conversations about tough topics are robust but respectful, where different views are not only accepted but invited, where strong cohesion bolsters resilience in the midst of conflict, and students excel academically while learning vital 21st Century leadership skills.
For 30 years, we have worked with communities around the globe to build trust, understanding, and relationships across differences. With public and private schools, districts, educators, students, administrators, and parents, we have helped to create more inclusive and resilient school cultures that prepare the next generation of leaders for a diverse, interconnected world.
“Schools today face challenges like no other time in history,” said Allyson Bachta, a longtime K-12 public school educator who also serves as an advisor for Essential Partners. “EP's approach is flexible enough to support educators working across diverse contexts and parallels work that they are already doing to support students' social-emotional development, create trauma-sensitive classrooms and schools, and differentiate learning experiences to meet the needs of all learners.”
We have collaborated with schools in Massachusetts, California, New York, Texas, North Carolina, and Wyoming, empowering students, teachers, and administrators with the skills to lead richer classroom discussions, create a more open, inclusive school environment, and transform their schools’ culture.
In Cary, North Carolina, for example, our expert Associates trained high school students to facilitate discussions about the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Election, guns and school safety, as well as race in America. Educators and students there have incorporated EP’s frameworks into classroom teaching and extracurricular programs, driving a sea-change in the way this community navigates important, sometimes contentious issues.
“The Essential Partners summer training really helped steep us in the mentality and philosophy of dialogue, which we then were able to apply to all sorts of parts of our curriculum. So you'll hear from the students today that this approach to listening and asking questions has spanned many of the different assignments and learning activities that they've had an opportunity to participate in.”
Eric Schildge, English Language Arts Teacher
In the classroom and throughout the school, our approach also supports social-emotional learning targets. It aligns with trauma-informed classroom practices and it is shown to improve students’ engagement, learning outcomes, and sense of belonging.
Because every community is unique, we offer custom-tailored training and program design to meet the specific needs of each educator, school, and district we work with. There are three basic models for a collaboration with Essential Partners:
- The Dialogic Classroom (for educators)
- Empowering Student Leaders
- School Culture Transformation (for educators, students, and administrators)
Every educator, school administrator, and parent who trains with Essential Partners also gains membership to EP’s global Community of Practice. Members of our Community of Practice receive exclusive lifetime access to skill-building seminars, peer learning opportunities, resources and exercises, as well as monthly office hours with an experienced EP Associate.
When you're ready to take steps to transform your school, reach out for a free consultation.