Leadership & Communication


Leadership

Multi-age classrooms offer opportunities for all Marin Horizon School students from Hawks (Kindergarten) through middle school to develop and hone their leadership skills. 

Primary Classes 
The Hawks take leadership roles in class community service projects, class plays, in helping younger students with their work, and in publishing a Hawk newspaper.

Lower Elementary
Students have leadership roles in community service projects, their work with younger buddies, and in making presentations to peers and parents. Beginning in second grade, classes send an elected representative to Student Council.

Upper Elementary
Fifth graders participate in a year-long leadership training forum that prepares them to serve as student leaders during their week at Camp Redwood Glen, where our 1st - 5th graders come together for a week of outdoor and environmental education. At Redwood Glen the 5th graders participate in a ropes course leadership program, lead the campfires and help resolve student issues.

Middle School
Students lead school-wide service projects, organize their activities with their classroom buddies, and train to be peer conflict resolution specialists on the playground. All students have opportunities to learn leadership skills in multiple settings including academic projects that are presented in public forums. Eighth graders participate in a fall leadership retreat where they learn advanced skills and determine their leadership goals and projects for the year.

Classroom Buddy Program

Beginning in third grade, all classrooms are paired so that older students all have younger buddies. Buddy classes get together at least four times a year for field trips, art projects, reading or other kinds of joint activities. This program is an important way we build community among students and it provides opportunities for leadership skill building.
 
Public Speaking

Primary
Public speaking at Marin Horizon begins in preschool, where students present reports to their classmates and participate in a class play at the end of the year.

Lower Elementary
Students make formal presentations of their work to parent audiences at events such as Author's Chair, Poetry Night, and Africa and Australia night.

Upper Elementary
Students present formal research projects to parents at annual events such as Astronomy Night or California History Forum.

Middle School
Students participate each year in simulations that involve historical or scientific research and dramatic reenactments or plays. These opportunities allow them to synthesize and present their work for evaluation by broader adult audiences. At graduation, each of our eighth-graders writes and delivers a speech that is a reflection on some important aspect of what they've learned at Marin Horizon. These speeches are always an incredible highlight of the year and a wonderful affirmation of how impressive our students are as bright young people with intellectual gifts, talent for communication, and kind, thoughtful hearts.

Conflict Resolution

We help develop social skills using an integrated model that emphasizes respectful behavior, personal responsibility, intrinsic motivation to do the right thing, and constructive conflict resolution. In the begining of each school year, students and teachers discuss classroom values and behaviors and prepare guidelines that are prominently displayed for all to see, published in the classroom newsletter and given to the Head of School. We encourage students to address issues or misunderstandings with each other directly and teach them how to communicate verbally. Some of the techniques used include "magic circles" and the "peace table" for younger children and direct or moderated conversation for older children. Student advisory groups meet once a week in fourth through eighth grade and are led by teachers and/or the student counselor. Our students are taught about their roles as leaders as early as kindergarten and continue with this training throughout their tenure at Marin Horizon. Fifth grade students participate in a year-long conflict resolution forum and eighth grade students train to be peer resolution specialists.

Skill-Building


Research Skills

Students at Marin Horizon develop extensive research skills, beginning with simple book-based reports in lower elementary, moving to step-by-step research projects in upper elementary, and culminating in complex, multiple-resource projects and multi-media presentations in middle school. As a result, our students emerge as confident learners and critical thinkers, who are not only able to answer important questions, but to ask them as well.

Computer Skills

At Marin Horizon School, we use technology as a tool to amplify student learning. Technology is not taught in isolation, but is integrated into the curriculum to create a real world and challenging learning environment for all.

We continually evaluate our use of technology to support exploration and innovation, both within and beyond the classroom. Students begin to use computers in 2nd and 3rd grade to prepare final written reports and stories using Word. Keyboarding is taught in 4th/5th grades when students complete more elaborate final projects using their computer skills in word-processing and graphics. Middle School students learn to use Excel spreadsheets in math and science classes, and in 8th grade they complete mastery projects using PowerPoint.

Study Skills

Study skills are explicitly taught in grades 1-8. Students learn different approaches to mastering subject matter, and how to use the library, complete a research project, read for different purposes, and prepare for tests. Homework packets are weekly from first through third grade, where the expectation is that students learn to complete homework independently and on a schedule of their own design. In upper elementary, nightly homework includes longer-term assignments and research projects. In middle school students learn to manage much more complex study calendars.

Time Management Skills

Our goal is to help students become independent managers of their studies and homework. We begin in first grade to introduce time management skills around completion of classroom work and homework. By middle school, students manage a complex workload that includes short and long-term assignments. At this age, we work closely with students on:
    • calendar management
    • fitting homework into busy schedules
    • pacing long-term and major assignments
    • using day timers
In this manner our 8th graders are well prepared to independently manage the challenge of busy high school schedules.

Media Literacy

Our librarian teaches a dynamic course to older students on how to be savvy consumers and how to appraise advertising and information on the Internet critically. This course links the importance of media awareness to health and consumerism and also to the integrity of the research students do for other subjects.