Our Structures To Support Learning

School Culture
Building school culture is every member of our community’s responsibility. Together, the administration, teachers, students, parents/guardians, support staff, and community partners collaborate to create a respectful, caring, responsive school through everyday routines, awareness, and relationships. Accordingly, S2 places high priority on the academic and socio-emotional needs of our students, with opportunities for students to exhibit S2’s values throughout the day. This proactive approach, combined with strong, distributed leadership, sets norms of trust, respect, high expectations, support, optimism and accountability that guide everyday actions.

Every time we greet a student warmly by name, seek input on a new school policy, listen carefully to all parties in a conflict, or help others produce their best work, we reinforce these norms. By continually sending young people the message “We know you, we have time for you, and you matter,” S2 provides the compass and protocols necessary to support students in understanding their important role within the community.

At S2, students come first. Staff members understand their primary responsibility: to know their students well, in both academic and social-emotional areas. School structures, norms, routines, protocols, traditions, and language support mutual accountability and collaboration.

Shared Language and Management Practices

S2 has a shared language among staff, students, and families to effectively communicate goals and values. Shared language practices influences how we speak with and about each other, how we give feedback, how we share information, and how we resolve conflicts. This provides young adolescents with the consistency and clarity of expectations necessary for them to engage in a demanding learning environment.

Student Behavior Management and Discipline

S2 takes a proactive role in nurturing students’ prosocial behavior by providing them with a range of positive behavioral supports as well as meaningful opportunities for social-emotional learning. We have established a school-wide tiered framework of behavioral supports and interventions that guides the entire community toward following the school’s rules and expectations, as well as the delivery of consistent and appropriate consequences when inappropriate student behavior disrupts learning. S2 models its approach based on the updated NYCDOE discipline code that we view as progressive and mission-aligned with S2. S2 uses a series of escalating consequences to redirect negative behaviors and protect the school community from harm.


Conflict Resolution and Mediation
S2 provides students with time and space to resolve conflicts in structured and productive manners. This may involve individuals or groups. No student shall be forced to participate in conflict resolution activities, but it is highly encouraged as an effective means to repair strains on relationships.

Restorative Justice

S2’s founders are deeply committed to reducing interpersonal conflict and fostering a caring school environment. Restorative approaches to school discipline involve developing trusting, caring relationships, teaching self-regulation and social skills, and building community between teachers and students. Advisors use restorative approaches to conflict when they work with S2 students, focusing on finding out what happened to whom and figuring out a way for everyone involved to move forward and do things differently in the future. As part of our restorative justice approach, students are given the opportunity to address the harm they have caused, even if it appears only to affect themselves. The nature of reparations is determined in conference with school staff, parents, and when appropriate and to the extent possible, involves the victim in discussion of chosen remedy. Examples of reparations include replacing, fixing, or cleaning damaged property; service or assistance to make up for lost time; and/or written or verbal apologies.

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