Monday, April 18, 2011

Oshkosh Area School District School Board Votes to Support Community Civility Project

On Wednesday, April 6, 2011, the Oshkosh Area School District Board of Education resolved to support the Oshkosh Community Civility Project and to advance the tenets of the civility project within its schools. Throughout February, members of the Oshkosh educational leaders from the administrative team and the Board of Education were invited to take part in numerous conversations regarding the concept of civility as a priority of the greater Oshkosh community. In a 7-0 vote on Wednesday night, the board agreed to support this community initiative formally. Already successful in Duluth, MN and Truckee-Tahoe, CA, the civility project embraces the following nine principles:

1) Pay attention: Be aware and attend to the world and the people around you.

2) Listen: Focus on others in order to better understand their points of view.

3) Be inclusive: Welcome all groups of citizens working for the greater good of the community.

4) Don’t gossip: And don’t accept when others choose to do so.

5) Show respect: Honor other people and their opinions, especially in the midst of a disagreement.

6) Be agreeable: Look for opportunities to agree. Don’t contradict just to do so.

7) Apologize: Be sincere and repair damaged relationships.

8) Give constructive criticism: When disagreeing, stick to the issues and don’t make a personal attack.

9) Take responsibility: Don’t shift responsibility and blame others. Share disagreements publicly.

The idea behind the civility project is not to stop disagreements, but to encourage open and civil discussion. Board members Steve Dedow and Ben Schneider II vocally supported the civility project at the meeting. By approving this resolution, the board agreed to stay informed of the community project, employ these principles for itself, and encourage the education and use of the nine tenets district-wide. Superintendent, Dr. Donald Viegut, has already asked schools to submit their current building rules, and the administrative team will be looking for commonalities to start using the “Speak Your Peace” language of the Community Civility Project with Oshkosh Area School District students.


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