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A Self-Directed, Competency-Based Approach to Social-Emotional Learning

The “Compass Phase System” is designed to help guide students’ social-emotional work (“Badge Work”) and growth

Context

At Valor, students in grades 5-8 work through a self-directed, competency-based Compass Phase System curriculum towards social-emotional growth. The curriculum consists of seven phases within the Compass Phase System: Initial Commitment, Commitment, Exploration, Responsibility, Community, Leadership, and Service. Each phase represents a step towards comprehensive student development within the context of the Compass Habits and Disciplines.


Students advance through phases by completing habit-based experiences via playlists. Each experience is known as Badge Work. Each Badge Work experience involves intra- or interpersonal work that helps students achieve goals aligned with Compass Habits and Disciplines. Each phase involves experiences mapped to each of the Compass Disciplines - True North, Sharp Mind, Big Heart, Noble Purpose, and Aligned Actions - along with relationship work, community service, and End-of-Phase reflections. Badge Work often requires that students present their work to their team, or “Pride,” during Circle, in order to complete the badge.

Faculty also go through a version of the Compass Phase System, embodying and modeling their personal inner Compass growth and trajectory throughout the school year. This process also serves as professional development for Pride Leaders (mentors) as this increases their familiarity and comfort with the Badge Work they facilitate for their students in student Circle.

Student Does

  • Works on self-directed Badge Work during Compass Class, Pride Time, and outside of school.
  • Tracks progress on Phase Trackers.
  • Works with mentor, Compass Teachers, and out-of-school supports for guidance.
  • Supports peers’ comprehensive development through Badge Work and Circle.

Teacher Does

  • Mentors students on Badge Work within the Compass Phase System.
  • Works on their own adult Badge Work and participates in faculty Circle.