Providing a whole child education means prioritizing each sphere of a child’s development. At Denver Christian, we value cognitive, creative & innovative, physical, social, spiritual, and social-emotional growth. This year, we introduced Crew Time to our high school as a part of our plan to improve the social-emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being of our students.
Why did we create “Crew Time?”
During secondary school years, students grapple with intense societal and personal pressures. Experts believe that these years are crucial to both teach skills like responsible decision-making and emotional management, and to nurture quality relationships. As a Christian school, we are further called to provide a space for students to grow in their relationship with the Lord in a community of belonging.
Previously, our high school had advisory every Thursday, which was used to discuss a variety of topics throughout the year, typically in a homeroom or class-level setting. A core group of faculty in counseling, student life, and wellness, began discussing ways to improve this time. We realized that while the topics were important, the setting was not functioning as well as it could. At the end of the 2021-22 school year, our high school homerooms gave insight into what topics, formats, and discussions would be most beneficial.
We decided there was value in being multigrade level and opening it up to more than just teachers to lead. We have staff at school who don’t get to have daily student interaction that desire that and this gives them a way to be a part of the bigger DCS vision and mentor students.
What is Crew Time?
Crew time is a weekly gathering that builds community, connection, and a positive student culture. We borrowed this term from EL education, known for the slogan, “We are crew, not passengers.” At Denver Christian, we will also use this time for social-emotional learning, wellness activities, and faith formation. Crews meet once a week for 45 minutes.
Who is included?
Crews are groups of 9-12 high school students of each grade, along with a variety of teachers and staff members. The crews are separated by males and females but will be partnered with a brother/sister crew for activities on occasion. These crews will stay the same each year, with new freshmen being incorporated as the seniors graduate.
What is Crew Time?
“Crew” is a term from EL education and is represented by their slogan, “we are crew, not passengers.” Essentially, everyone is valued, needed, and belongs. Crew Time will be a time to build community, connection, and a positive student culture, but we want it also to include social-emotional learning, wellness activities, and faith formation. In fact, we want this to be an additional weekly touch point for those three things … faith, wellness, and social-emotional health.
At the start of the year, crews have gathered to get to know each other. Kicking off the year with an Amazing Race style scavenger hunt provided a riddle & challenge-laden opportunity to get to know each other. Students discovered each other’s strengths, from the fastest typer or runner to best riddle solver. In the next few meetings, crew members shared their testimonies. Recently, they have started to dive into Social Emotional Learning topics together.
Already some Crews have delegated it where each week a different student leads a wellness activity. The best one so far? Dr. K’s crew being challenged to soccer trick shots from Mez! Not too be outdone, Coach Kassebaum’s crew had a dog join in their wellness. Others toss around a frisbee while chatting or battle it out in foursquare.
Our hope for the future
As we continue to develop Crew Time, our hope is that students can tackle important topics and engage in meaningful community. Our goal is that no two crews look exactly the same, but provide a time for their individual communities to develop together. We want our students to have opportunities to grow, not only academically, but spiritually, physically, and emotionally.