The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, December 17, 1999


Open Circle aids in creating cooperative environment

The Open Circle program, officially known as the Reach Out to Schools: Social Competency Program, developed at the Stone Center at Wellesley College, has been in use at the Carlisle School since the early 1990s, teacher Alan Ticotsky reported to the Carlisle School Committee at their December 7 meeting. According to information handed out at the meeting, the curriculum of the program includes "creating a cooperative classroom environment, solving people problems and building positive relationships." The goals for all students are "to develop communication, self-control, and problem-solving skills; and to be part of a respectful, caring classroom and school community, creating the best possible environment for learning."

Many Carlisle teachers have been trained in this program, giving a common language and set of expectations for teachers and students, Ticotsky said. Teachers Kerri Scully and Jen MacInnes shared comments from classroom teachers about the program. In third grade, the Open Circle meets weekly. Sometimes, the Open Circle curriculum is used for the meetings while at other times issues currently affecting the classroom are discussed. The dialogue helps both students and teachers. An example of a topic that might be discussed in Open Circle is exclusion and inclusion, Scully said.

The Open Circle program continues from kindergarten through fifth grade. The curriculum is followed up to fourth grade, MacInnes explained, and by then, the students know the language and basics. Open Circle is a good place to discuss relationships without talking about a specific child, she said. In fifth grade, Open Circle provides a forum to talk about issues of concern and the pressures of adolescence, she added.

1999 The Carlisle Mosquito