CCSD Faculty Explores Student Belonging

“Research shows that just one trusted adult can have a profound effect on a child’s life, influencing that young person towards positive growth, increased engagement in school and community activities, and better overall health,” writes Brooklyn Raney.

Raney is the author of One Trusted Adult and was the keynote speaker at our October 20, 2023 Superintendent’s Conference Day. District faculty explored student belonging in her keynote address as well as in multiple professional learning sessions. The entire day of learning was aligned to the District’s strategic priority of improving student sense of belonging.

Dr. Christine Ackerman, Superintendent of Schools, framed the day by sharing, “Kids want to be more connected to us and to each other.” Raney shared strategies for school adults to help develop those connections with students. Her keynote outlined fundamental principles for how adults should show up for young people, both other people’s children and their own. She spoke about the importance of building connections and healthy, appropriate boundaries. Raney’s work focuses on the need for all young people to be able to name at least one trusted adult in their lives.

“Be who you need for your colleagues and be who you needed for your students,” Raney advised Chappaqua faculty. (continued below)

The keynote followed framing sessions for all faculty building on Raney’s work. Facilitated by our District Equity Team members and administrators, these sessions focused on understanding the importance of improving students’ sense of belonging. Faculty members reflected on their own trusted adults and explored best practices for becoming accessible, boundaried, and caring trusted adults for our students.

Following the keynote, over 20 choice sessions were held focused on student belonging facilitated by faculty members. Some topics included:

Nurturing Belonging: Targeted for Middle School Educators So I have a newcomer ELL in my class, now what? Universal Design for Learning: Methods to Reach All Learners
Fostering Belonging: Quick and Engaging Community Building Activities for Middle School The Power of Emotional Intelligence Increasing your Productivity with you Apple Devices so there is more time for Connecting with your Students
Cultivating Community in the Co-taught Classroom Using Picture Books to Celebrate our Unique Learners The Importance of Creating a Secure Environment for Learning

The day concluded with staff returning to their home schools to continue this work led by their building administration and school equity teams. Thank you to Brooklyn Raney for her inspiring keynote and to the many faculty members who facilitated sessions for this powerful day of professional learning.