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The word ‘community’ often means different things to different people. It may mean a small neighborhood in Pennsylvania or even a specific sports genre. It could also mean a group of individuals in the same profession or who share the same passion or interests. The important components of any community are the people in them and the roles they play. The Graham Academy has a specific perspective on what a community environment means within the school.

The school refers to itself as a learning community. The stakeholders of the community are the parents, professionals, and the students. When thinking of the school as a community it allows us to illustrate what a community does for its members. A strong community will uphold values, follow their mission and establish an environment of empowerment. At the Graham Academy, when a student is still struggling with their own decision-making process and experiencing other challenges, the community will help support their development and personal success.

As the student progresses, they begin to gain the skills and emotional capacity to begin to give back and contribute to the community. This can be seen when students are given opportunities to work in the school and help their peers. By giving them opportunities, they begin to understand that they are part of something that is bigger than themselves and start to internalize how their actions can affect others.

We also use the principles of responsibility, value, and safety in helping our students understand how their everyday action can affect the people around them. An individual will begin to understand that they are not performing for the acceptance of a teacher or a peer but instead they are part of a bigger group that will support them in accountability and in opportunity. A student will begin to understand themselves instead of blaming others for their lack of access to certain items and opportunities. As they begin to realize they are held responsible to a larger group they become more comfortable because they are not working for or against one person, instead contributing to the overall process.

Professionals in the community are held to the same standards and expectations of their students. Having experience under their belt, they can support and guide their students through the process and provide opportunities to mature and grow. The same goes for the professional in regard to being accountable to the group, not an individual, which comes in the form of taking care of your own responsibilities and providing and receiving feedback. The professional helps grow the community through supporting their students through all the opportunities the community has to offer.

Parents are the conduit that allows the community to exist. They are contributors in upholding the values of the community in both their children and the professionals working with their children. Parents involvement is a crucial aspect of our community to help lift the accomplishments of the students and the professionals.

Once a month, The Graham Academy has a community event that allows all our stakeholders to come together and celebrate the community. Students have the opportunity to showcase their hard work and efforts while the professional can support the experience for the student and their parents. These activities allow all community members to be involved and collectively participate.

The Graham Academy is proud of the school community and all it has accomplished with everyone involved. Bringing every person in the education process together, lends itself to a more successful future for the students, a positive experience for the parents, and a complete view for the profession