Crater Renaissance Academy in Oregon is steeped in a culture that focuses on acceptance, respect, care, kindness, and “warm demands." The principles of the Coalition of Essential Schools have provided CRA with a set of guidelines that support the implementation of a progressive and intellectually rich education. But what really makes the school tick is the open-heartedness and good spirit of the people at the school who care for both the intellectual, emotional and physical health of all students.
When data from the bi-annual Oregon Healthy Teen survey revealed that a great percentage of Crater kids reported sitting in class feeling hungry because they did not have the money to purchase food, the school made healthy snacks in the office available at no cost to all. In the winter of 2016, this effort was expanded when the school partnered with the district’s food service to bring a mobile food cart directly to the main office every morning so that students could easily “grab and go” with a breakfast or bag of nutritious snacks to get them through the day.
The school also leverages its small size to emotionally support students by holding monthly Student Service Team (SST) meetings during which information about students who have been referred to the SST is shared among staff members who know them. The SST makes actionable recommendations for intervention and assigns a “point person” for each student, who follows up and shares important information about the student with the entire staff.
LaClinica Health Center is housed on the campus, and provides students with a warm and inviting space in which to receive both physical and emotional health care. It is staffed by two mental health counselors and a nurse practitioner almost every day of the school year. Keeping student physical and emotional health needs front and center is one of the reasons that Crater Renaissance Academy of Arts and Sciences is a School of Opportunity.