Fostering community and collaboration between new & seasoned educators 

The BELONG Partners District Model is a comprehensive approach to school transformation that focuses on building capacity and sustainability within a school district. Through this train-the-trainer model, our experienced facilitators work closely with regional coaches hired by a district to implement the BELONG Partners approach in their schools. One of our original District Model partners is the Brookings-Harbor School District in Southern Oregon.

BELONG Partners and the Brookings-Harbor School District

This August, Facilitators Kelsey Peronto, Kayla Blau, and Director of Strategic Partnerships Roxana Amaral traveled to beautiful Brookings, Oregon. This marked a significant milestone in our four-year District Model partnership with the Brookings-Harbor School District.

As part of their 23-24 school year professional development, they asked us to come and facilitate our Rooted Relationships: Growing Equitable Classroom Communities workshop for twenty newly hired educators. In addition to the new teachers, four seasoned educators from Kalmiopsis Elementary, Azalea Middle School, and Brookings-Harbor High School were invited by their school leadership to attend as well. The District SEL Coach Sarah Sackett helped facilitate the training. District Superintendent Helena Chirinian visited to connect with educators and express support.

These new and seasoned educators attended the workshop together in an effort to create community and deepen peer learning across the district. Several of the educators have been working with the BELONG Partners approach in their own schools for the last few years. As a result of this experience, they are able to share a variety of powerful insights to benefit their colleagues who are new to the district and our model.

Peer learning in action

2 adults in front of a classroom
Facilitator Kayla Blau leads a role play exercise.

The educators who have been working with us for a few years sat with their new colleagues, built relationships, and contributed their wisdom to the workshop. They generously shared a variety of insights, including:

  • creative self-regulation strategies used by their middle school students,
  • effective tips for co-creating class agreements and honoring them in meaningful ways,
  • stories recounting the challenges and celebrations they have encountered implementing this work,
  • and, most importantly, authentic encouragement and connections forged with their new colleagues.

One of the new to the district teachers shared, “The ideas as they relate to the teacher-student relationship are strong. I think it’s even stronger when learned with colleagues so we come from the same place. Additionally, we can work together to create a cohesive atmosphere.”

Wisdom and support within the district community

In our workshops, we conclude with appreciation and acknowledgments of the learning. During the closing moments in Brookings, the new teachers openly shared their feelings. Several said they felt less nervous and less alone as they prepared for the start of the school year. Unquestionably, meeting and working with their experienced colleagues during the workshop gave them contacts they can confidently reach out to when inevitable challenges arise.

At BELONG Partners, we believe the most meaningful wisdom and support thrive within a community. The Brookings-Harbor District profoundly embodies this belief. They demonstrate an inspiring example of collaboration and empowerment. Each year of our partnership, Brookings-Harbor has had its staff attend a two-day workshop before the start of the contractual year. This is a substantial financial and time commitment towards empowering educators to create equitable learning communities.

We are delighted to continue our partnership with this phenomenal team and their excellent new educators throughout the coming year!

Find more information on the BELONG Partners District Model here, or contact Director of Strategic Partnerships Roxana Amaral at