The commons” is a term often used to describe those resources or spaces whose protection and cultivation are the shared responsibility of an entire community.   
As a lens for approaching service learning, and civic and community engagement, we choose to interpret the idea of the commons broadly in examining our role as citizens of our school community and of the larger world. We believe the work of building and sustaining thriving communities is both a local and global endeavor that belongs to each of us in partnership; and while this work may take place within the space of a classroom, our neighborhoods, or across state lines or national borders, it is rooted in the foundational belief that “my humanity is tied to yours”–that the act of caring for the dignity, health, and safety of others is essential to realizing one’s own sense of place and purpose in the world and in creating vibrant, compassionate, inclusive communities. 

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  • The commons unite us in our purpose . . .

    in our sense of collective responsibility, and in our efforts to turn these shared principles into action. 
    The Commons Project represents not an addition to our program but rather a fundamental orientation for the way we engage in community within and beyond the school. At its core, the projects aims to inspire in students an ethic of care rooted in: 
    • Listening
    • Willingness to join
    • Noticing the needs of others
    • Seeing oneself as capable of action
    • Acting in partnership and with humility
    • Move gently, advocate fiercely 
    • Self-reflection
    • Do no harm
  • What is the work of The Commons Project? 

    This work includes collaboration between LREI students and faculty and their larger communities (local, regional/state, national, global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity. 
    The purpose of community engagement is the partnership of the school’s knowledge and resources with those of the public and private sectors to enrich scholarship, research, and creative activity; enhance curriculum, teaching and learning; prepare educated, engaged citizens; strengthen democratic values and civic responsibility; address critical societal issues; and contribute to the public good.
    *Adapted from Carnegie Foundation definition of community engagement.
    Community Engagement includes: 
    • Service learning
    • Community service (direct or indirect)
    • Activism/advocacy
    • Outreach/partnerships
    • Civic engagement
    • Community-based learning or research
    • Community/economic development
  • Our Guiding Principles

    1. Get proximate: 
    • Seek out and center the voices of those affected by injustice and inequity.
    • Listen first. 
    • Ask questions.
    • Define needs and solutions in partnership with community stakeholders. 
    • Understand the ways your own identity positions you in relation to others. 
    1. Challenge easy narratives: 
    • Embrace complexity and ambiguity.
    • Value the perspectives and experiences of all.
    • Interrogate the relationship between individuals and systems of power.
    • Interrogate assumptions and preconceptions.
    • Keep your mind open to the world.
    1. Stay hopeful:
    • Find the helpers who light the way.
    • Remember that hope resides in action. 
    • Know that change is slow but possible. 
    • Carry the lessons of history with us. 
    • Recognize that systems of power were created by individuals and can be dismantled by them.
    1. Do uncomfortable things:
    • Recognize that change takes work. 
    • Embrace mistakes as opportunities for growth and learning.
    • Recognize that the fight for justice belongs to all of us.
    • Acknowledge discomfort as a process of dealing with not-knowing.  
    *Adapted from the work of Bryan Stevenson

In the lower school . . .

In the middle school . . .

In the high school . . .

In our wider community . . .

Little Red School House
and Elisabeth Irwin High School

LREI. Powered By Questions.

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  • Since 1921