There are so many factors that contribute to the well-being of a person. We are complex and interconnected creatures, which means that when something inside us is off, our whole being is affected. Whether nutritional, emotional, social, financial, mental, or otherwise, we each have many potential inhibitors that prevent us from actualizing our human potential. The faculty and staff of New Roads understand that these inhibitors must be addressed for every child to feel comfortable, confident, and cared for — only then can learning happen. And the only way to perceive, discuss, and address inhibitors is to develop relationships with students. That’s why our faculty study social and cognitive neuroscience, putting in the time and effort to equip themselves with the tools to be empathic communicators and trusted figures in the lives of the young individuals they teach.
This focus on well-being is in the soil of New Roads, so much so that families experience it even before enrolling. Incoming families meet with staff to discuss stressors in their child’s life, priming New Roads to be able to help them cope with those anxieties once classes begin. New Roads leverages the resources of our community to care for the well-being of everyone — it really does take a village. Faculty contributions to this effort are essential, as is the peer modeling that allows students to help each other. Finally, we practice these skills of care and openness during Council, a faculty-facilitated activity where students recognize universal and mutual connections as they respond and listen to each other through story. During Council we practice how to be in a community, guided by these four principles: speak from the heart, listen from the heart, be lean (respect the group’s time) and be spontaneous. By creating a culture of sharing and understanding, the habitat of New Roads is one in which students feel seen, valued, and cared for.