Town Hall is a democratic structure enabling students and teachers to work together to steer the school. It gives voice to all members of the community and allows everyone to contribute to the decision-making process at SEEQS.
At SEEQS we believe that by building transparency and involvement into this process, students will begin to think about how social structures come to be, gain confidence in their potential to make change, and grow into engaged citizens.
An Idea Becomes a Motion
Prior to Town Hall, anyone can draft a motion to propose a change at SEEQS. Most commonly, a motion will drive an action, establish a new norm, or form a committee to carry out an idea.
Recent Examples (I move to...):
...ban single-use plastic drink containers on campus (passed)
...establish a tech-free day (passed)
...start a committee to plan the school dance (passed)
...add a long-sleeved shirt uniform option (passed)
...allow gum chewing during school hours (not passed)
...change passing time between classes (not passed)
During Town Hall, each proposed motion will come up for review. First, the author presents his or her thoughts. Next, anyone is permitted to speak for or against the motion with justified reasoning. Finally, the motion will come up for vote. In Town Hall, students and teachers have an equal vote, with a two-thirds majority required for a motion to pass.
The school leader holds veto power, but she has never used it--an affirmation of the trust the structure places in the community to govern itself.
Town Hall occurs one or two times per month and students who choose to be involved opt-in to attend.
The general structure is as follows:
Town Hall Norms
Be Efficient: One item of business at a time, one speaker at a time, stay on topic.
Be Formal: Refrain from personal comments or outbursts and focus on the motion, not the personalities.
Be Present: If your voice is to be heard, you must attend town hall. A failure to vote is equal to a vote against the motion.
The Language of Town Hall
“I move that…”
“I second that…”
“I speak for the motion…”
“I speak against the motion…”
(Author): “I call the question”