School Info » Culture/Community



Our vision and mission at Gibbs will help us to create a culture and community that values the integration of social emotional learning and academics. We will strive to help students be Understanding, Unified and Unstoppable.


Understanding: Helping students to understand differences, learning styles, growth mindset are only some of the ways that we will work to create a community where we work to see one another and commit to helping each other succeed.

Unified: By understanding our goals and purpose as a school, we will work to support each other’s abilities to make progress in all areas. We work to stay positive and helps others stay positive.

Unstoppable: By being understanding of one another’s needs and being unified in our goals and purpose we will develop the skills necessary to persevere, have grit and be unstoppable as we think critically and problem solve to be the best US. 


The Gibbs School Community is an environment where students and adults work cooperatively to strive for academic achievement and social-emotional growth. Our community encourages being Understanding of each other and what makes us unique, being Unified in our efforts to support one another’s abilities to grow and learn and being Unstoppable when reaching for our personal and community goals.


In order to inspire and empower students to excel academically while emphasizing their social and emotional growth we will value the following elements in our daily work:

    • Academic Rigor: Students experience a challenging, standards-based curriculum while developing an academic mindset, perseverance, learning strategies, and academic behaviors.

    • Social-Emotional Learning: Students demonstrate resilience and persistence while developing skills related to cooperation, assertiveness, responsibility, empathy, and self control.

    • Project Based Learning: Students gain knowledge and and practice skills, including executive functioning, through the completion of projects that are taught and coached through a release of responsibility.

    • Resourcefulness: Students become self-directed and independent learners with a growth mindset by identifying and pursuing goals that are important to them.

    • Community: Students feel supported and safe emotionally, intellectually, and physically. Staff and students collaborate to create a cohesive sense of significance, belonging and fun using the philosophies and common vocabulary of Responsive Classroom.

  • Creativity:  Students are encouraged to take creative risks in all areas and are provided with academic choice that allows them to explore their own interests. 

We will create this community by focusing on several different instructional methods that grow culture, academic competencies and social emotional competencies.  Responsive Classroom will help us to do this. 

Responsive Classroom is an evidence-based approach to teaching that focuses on the strong link between academic success and social-emotional learning (SEL).

We will think about the small community of responsive advisory, the larger learning community and then the largest, whole school community.  The following methods will help us do this work.

    • Interactive Modeling - An explicit practice for teaching procedures and routines (such as those for entering and exiting the room) as well as academic and social skills (such as engaging with the text or giving and accepting feedback).

    • Teacher Language - The intentional use of language to enable students to engage in their learning and develop the academic, social, and emotional skills they need to be successful in and out of school.

    • Logical Consequences - A non-punitive response to misbehavior that allows teachers to set clear limits and students to fix and learn from their mistakes while maintaining their dignity.

    • Interactive Learning Structures - Purposeful activities that give students opportunities to engage with content in active (hands-on) and interactive (social) ways.

    • Responsive Advisory Meeting - A routine that builds positive, meaningful relationships with caring adults and peers. Components: arrival welcome, announcements, acknowledgements, and activity.

    • Investing Students in the Rules - Students collaborate to establish classroom expectations based on individual goals.

    • Brain Breaks - Short breaks in lessons used to increase focus, motivation, learning, and memory.

    • Active Teaching - A straightforward, developmentally appropriate strategy for delivering curriculum content. Components: teacher presentation, explanation, illustration, and demonstration.

  • Student Practice - Students explore and practice the content and skills taught during a lesson, under the teacher’s guidance.


It will be important for us to stress the transitional space in which sixth graders are entering the Gibbs School.  Therefore, we have established a release of responsibility philosophy.

The gradual release of responsibility instructional framework purposefully shifts the cognitive load from teacher-as-model, to joint responsibility of teacher and learner, to independent practice and application by the learner.  Embedded here will practice working in groups as well.

Trimester One…...teacher as model.  We will spend lots of time modeling for students and giving them the opportunity to observe and notice and describe what they are seeing and how it may look when they perform the skill.  

Trimester Two….joint responsibility of teacher and student independently and with peer groups…..The teacher will spend more time as a coach as students practice skills to which they have been exposed.  The teacher  re-models and directs as necessary for students as they build persistence, grit and growth mindset for new learning.

Trimester Three….independent application for learner individually and in peer groups.  The teacher has now become the coach as students are able to transfer skills from the first two trimesters and apply them both socially and emotionally and academically.