The Community Leader program is intended to empower dedicated students to develop their skills as leaders within the community. Community Leaders are chosen by their peers and teachers through a democratic vote. They are bestowed with the responsibility to continually move Headwaters School in the direction of a student-run community. They work closely with the Executive Director, School Directors, and Dean of Students to assist them in improving all aspects of the school.
Community Leaders are held to high levels of accountability within the community. They serve as role models for students and represent the school to the larger community. As such, they make the following explicit agreements upon entering the program:
- to maintain a GPA of 3.00 or higher
- to attend all Community Leader Trainings
- to attend weekly Community Leader meetings
- to maintain an impeccable behavioral record
In the case of major transgressions, a student may be required to attend a hearing with the Honor Council, whose members are charged with providing an opportunity for the student to repair their commitment to the community by assigning uniquely-tailored consequences. Students have a choice of abiding by the decisions of the Honor Council or withdrawing from the school.The purpose of any imposed consequences are threefold:
- The reparations should remind the student of what is truly important to him or her.
- The reparations should expose how one’s mistake or break in integrity inhibits the realization of their goals.
- The reparations should provide an avenue by which the student may make whole their commitment to the school.
The Honor Council is comprised of 12 individuals: 9 students, 2 teachers, and 1 parent. Honor Council hearings are led by the School Director. Returning student council members are empowered to continue serving on the Honor Council. For the first quarter, the School Director will appoint additional student council members as needed. Towards the end of the first quarter, once students have had the opportunity to witness each other’s behavior, the student body will elect additional student members of the council, as needed, by secret ballot and without campaigning.
The Honor Council meets weekly as needed, on request from the School Director. In the case of a major incident, the administration retains the right to suspend a student until the Honor Council convenes.
Admissions Council is comprised of at least one staff member and up to ten students. Admissions Council enrolls students based on consensus. Students review the prospective student’s application, essay, and interviews to determine if Headwaters School is the right fit for the student. Admissions Council meetings are held once per week.
Pitso is a Sesotho word (a dialect from Southern Africa), meaning meeting of the people. Traditionally, it was an opportunity for all of the people to gather and voice their opinions.At Headwaters, Pitsos are held weekly. Any and all members of the community, including parents and board members, can attend the Pitso, with 24 hours advance notice. All students are required to attend Pitsos.During the Pitso, anything can be discussed. For example, a student might bring up a disagreement with another student to request support from the group in seeking resolution. Students may discuss their responses to a particular incident from school or in the community as a whole. It is also a time when students may share important events from their lives, or discuss the general well-being of the community.