Having students talk about their feelings will help boost equality, Wake County officials say

(Carleigh Griffeth/CBS North Carolina)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Wednesday morning CBS North Carolina started off the day with sixth graders at a Raleigh school.

They’ve got a new addition to their morning schedule, a community circle where students do most of the talking. The school system hopes it will make all students feel included.

Students at Centennial Campus Magnet Middle School get a little warm up before jumping into class now.

“It gives the kids a chance to talk with their peers. And it really builds a sense of community and trust in the classroom,” said sixth grade teacher Meaghan Terry.

“It helps them when they’re having rough mornings to relieve stress,” said sixth grade student Alex Milla.

The exercise is called a community circle, where students share their feelings and learn more about their classmates. Some Wake County schools started doing it last year and more of the district is taking part this year.

“We’re using this as a strategy across the district particularly in middle schools to help us address discipline issues, as well as to improve school climate and culture,” said Bren Elliott, Assistant Superintendent For Student Support Services.

In the circle, students talk about how they should conduct themselves and discuss what words like “respect” mean to them. The team-building initiative also makes a new class seem a little smaller for these first-time middle schoolers.

“A new friend I found was Zander and I like the fact that he’s crazy in a good way,” said Alex.

“To realize that we are more alike than we are different and build relationships that help people to be more successful in learning,” said Elliott.

This is part of an ongoing initiative to increase equality in Wake County schools when it comes to race relations and learning in the classroom.

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