Awakening Wisdom, based on the Ho`āla Educational Philosophy and founded in large part by Sr. Joan Madden, BVM, has been finely tuned over the past 42 years at three schools, Our Lady of Sorrows and Ho`āla Schools, both in Wahiawa, Hawaii, and River School in Napa, California.
So much of the preparation of educators is about what they do to students or for students and not on how they should be while teaching. Ho`āla — which means “awakening of the self” in Hawai’ian — encompasses personal growth of all the adults involved in the school, including parents, whose modeling supports the social, emotional, and academic growth of students.
Awakening Wisdom empowers individuals to be in mindful relationships with self and others for a world where people take responsibility for their actions, respect each other, are resourceful in their creativity and problem-solving, and respond with compassion to create a peaceful world for all.
Changing school culture occurs when there is a shift in how individuals see themselves and their relationships with others. Through ongoing reflections and shifts in mindsets, beliefs, and assumptions, all stakeholders continue their personal growth toward modeling effective behaviors that support academic learning as well as social emotional maturity.
Awakening Wisdom’s implicit curriculum of the Four R’s — the core values of responsibility, respect, resourcefulness, and responsiveness — guide all participants’ behaviors and ways of being in relationships to contribute to a healthy school culture.
Structures and processes are designed to promote the ongoing development of the Four R’s for students and adults to live the vision of the school (e.g., discipline practices, teacher personal growth and development, nurturing the sense of belonging and sense of self, and shared agreements of how staff will behave with one another).
Through this implicit curriculum of personal growth and school structures, students, educators, and parents evolve into self-assured, responsible, and compassionate learners who act for the good of the whole community.
TEACHERS welcome new strategies and programs for more effective teaching with their students.
STUDENTS are self-motivated and engaged learners, who take responsibility for their actions and demonstrate compassion with their peers.
A healthy SCHOOL climate of trust, relationships, and empowerment is reflected in positive academic gains.
TEACHERS are resistant to new programs to improve their craft.
STUDENTS are disengaged and unmotivated. Truancy and discipline challenge staff.
Despite various intervention programs, the SCHOOL makes very few academic gains.
THE POWER OF THE INDIVIDUAL, THE KEYSTONE OF THE FOUR R’S.
From an understanding that I am the “cause” instead of the victim of my choices, I may not have a choice as to what happens to me, but I always have a choice in how I respond. I gain my power by accepting responsibility for my choices, instead of blaming, lying, making excuses, or justifying.
THE BALANCE OF POWER BETWEEN INDIVIDUALS. WE ARE SOCIAL CREATURES WHOSE NEED FOR CONNECTEDNESS IS ENHANCED BY RESPECTING THE BOUNDARIES OF DECISION-MAKING.
I will respect others by not making decisions that are appropriate for them to make; I will respect myself by not allowing others to make decisions for me that are appropriate for me to make.
THE SPIRIT OF HOW WE WILL INTERACT WITH ONE ANOTHER IN OUR WORK.
In working with others, I will be open to possibilities with creative problem solving to find a solution, instead of nay saying that shuts down possibilities and reduces energy when working with others.
A SYSTEMS MINDSET OF INTERCONNECTEDNESS AND INTERDEPENDENCE.
I will cooperate for the good of the whole community with empathy and compassion so it is a win-win and not a win-lose for others and myself.
Empower learners. Create community. Free minds.