Student and Parent Handbook
Intentions Agile Ministry is a self-directed learning community. The premise of IAM is that learning is natural and happening all the time. The tools and practices that we use support and guide the learning and create a solid collaborative learning culture where everyone in the community is both a learner and a teacher.
Agile's Guiding Principles
Agility: The Agile tools are used to help create a culture of learners. The tools are flexible, adaptable, easy to change… or change back again.
Infinite Play: Play infinitely, grow infinitely. Play is one of the most powerful paths to growth.
Amplifying Agency: The Agile tools support personal choice and freedom as well as responsibility for those choices. Everyone should have the opportunity to participate in designing and upgrading the structures which guide them.
Culture Creation: A powerful, positive culture is the strongest, most pervasive support structure a learning community can have. We develop collective mastery rather than restrictive rule-making. Intentional culture building supports intentionality in other domains as well.
Facilitation: We connect children to the larger social capital of their community, collaborate with them in problem solving, and accompany them in their learning as they grow.
Visible Feedback: We make choices, patterns, and outcomes visible to our students so they can tune their future behavior accordingly. We make the implicit explicit and expand transparency, empowering and building trust among our community members.
Relationship: Authentic relationship is the basis of partnership, communication, collaboration, and trust between students and staff. We support self-expression, self-knowledge and self-acceptance, letting the experience of nurturing relationship teach the power of interrelatedness and community.
Support: We provide maximum support with minimal interference. Our goal as facilitators is to create helpful structures, practices, and environments without making decisions or managing our student processes.
Respect for each other’s time and space: We keep all meetings tight, productive and participatory. We encourage honoring commitments, as well as scheduled start and end times for offerings.
Full-spectrum Fluency: We embrace multiple intelligences, modes of expression, and learning styles. We nurture multiple literacies. A functional education for today’s world needs to focus on more than just “book-learning.” Social, relational, digital, and a variety of other skill sets are now essential.
Shareable Value: We use tracking systems, record measurable progress, generate documentation and teach others.
Safer Space-making: We provide an environment of physical, social, and emotional safety. We set and keep critical boundaries. We foster great freedom within an appropriate frame of safety so that kids’ energy can be freed up to focus on learning.
Schedule & Location
IAM is held on Tuesday and Thursday from 9:00am to 3:00pm. We will follow the Upton School's Calendar for vacations, snow cancellations, and delays.
We are located at the Upton VFW at 15 Milford Street, Upton, MA. The VFW owns 3 acres of land. There are 2 baseball fields we can run and play in as well as some wooded areas. There is a community center being built next door. Once completed, by winter 2022, it will house the brand new library and senior center. They will be installing a natural playground behind the senior center. All of this will be accessible to us, just steps away from the VFW!
If your child has an injury we will treat them as we would our own children, lots of love, attention, and offer whatever "fixing" is needed. Our med kit will have all the usual things and plenty of natural remedies, such as salves and topical arnica gel. We will only provide topical remedies, but will have things like Benadryl on hand. We would only give an oral remedy if we have verbal/written permission from a parent in the moment of need. If it's imperative, and we cannot locate you, we will administer under the advice of 911. or in some cases, just administer it of course.
Should there be a medical emergency we will contact you and 911 immediately. We will follow your directive on how to proceed once 911 arrives.
Creating a Positive, Safe, Inclusive Community
Agile Learning Communities are mindful about creating a positive community culture. Many of the issues that may arise can be resolved during our weekly Change Up Meeting. During each meeting we will tackle 1 or 2 issues that have been burdensome to the community. We will come up with possible solutions and choose a solution to follow through on. Sometimes an issue is larger than what can be handled in our Change Up Meetings. In a case where a child/teen is struggling with behaviors they are not able or willing to change, a conversation would take place between facilitators, the child, and the parents. We will create a plan with the child to help them improve these behaviors.
*We do hope to resolve all issues, but we understand that sometimes our program is not a good match and a decision may need to be made for a child to leave the program.
We will not tolerate physical or verbal aggression (hostile or violent behavior or attitudes toward another; readiness to attack or confront). As a community we will discuss these boundaries with the children. We ask that you also make this clear to your child. Our expectation is that every child be able to communicate their upsets without the need for aggression. We do want children to feel safe to engage in conflict in our program, as this is a valuable life skill, but they will need to enter a conflict without aggression. Feeling passionate about their "side" might result in an elevated voice, and that can be okay, depending on how the other child feels following the interaction. We will always use our best discretion in each situation to evaluate whether the boundary may have been crossed.
Should this behavior occur, we will have a discussion with the child and their parents to decide if the behavior warrants immediate removal from the program. The severity of the situation will determine the outcome. Certainly if we feel that a child has been given a few opportunities to improve their behavior and the behaviors do not improve or likewise if a first offense seems unreasonably aggressive and we cannot recover from it as a community, then the child would be removed immediately from the program. Every child needs to feel safe! It is our responsibility to make these difficult decisions on behalf of all of the children.
The best way to be in touch is by texting Heather at 508-864-3316. She will respond as quickly as possible.
Please join our private FB group for news and updates! Once you have completed the registration process, we will add you as a member so you can create a password to view the Parent Portal. section of the website where you will find the link to the FB group and you can ask to join. If you have difficulty requesting to be added, please contact Heather. We will make a new photo album in the Parent Portal each day.. Feel free to upload pictures and videos you take while volunteering.