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  • Maya Paliath Divakar

Morning meetings, Circles of Respect

In the bustling corridors and classrooms of middle schools, where the journey of adolescence unfolds, the need for a sense of community and belonging is more pronounced than ever. In this transformative phase, students grapple with the complexities of growing up, seeking anchors in their rapidly changing lives. One innovative practice, the "Circle of Power and Respect" (CPR), originally rooted in elementary education, has found its way into middle schools with promising results. This blog post explores the transformative impact of morning meetings on middle school students, highlighting the myriad benefits of fostering a supportive school community.

Building a Community Through CPR

At its core, the Circle of Power and Respect is more than just a routine assembly; it's a deliberate and structured approach to beginning the school day on a note of unity and mutual respect. These morning meetings, typically involving greetings, sharing sessions, group activities, news updates, and announcements, serve as a powerful tool for knitting the school community closer together. The inclusive nature of CPR ensures that every student starts their day feeling valued, heard, and connected to their peers and educators.

Nurturing Social and Emotional Growth

Middle school is a crucial period for social and emotional development. The CPR meetings address these needs head-on by creating a safe space for students to express themselves and explore their feelings. Through the act of sharing and listening, students develop empathy and respect for diverse perspectives. Group activities further reinforce these skills, fostering leadership and collaborative problem-solving abilities. By recognizing and responding to the emotional landscape of adolescence, morning meetings help students navigate their feelings more effectively.

Enhancing Academic Focus and Peer Relationships

Beyond the emotional and social benefits, incorporating CPR into the daily routine has a notable impact on academic engagement and peer dynamics. Starting the day with a moment of collective calm and connection helps students transition more smoothly into academic tasks, improving focus and readiness to learn. Moreover, the sense of camaraderie cultivated in these meetings strengthens peer relationships, reducing conflicts and creating a more harmonious classroom environment.

Educators' Perspective: A More Productive and Harmonious Day

Educators who have adopted the Circle of Power and Respect in their middle schools report a marked difference in the school atmosphere. The practice addresses the holistic needs of students, integrating academic, social, and emotional development into the fabric of the school day. Teachers find that students are more cooperative, engaged, and motivated, leading to a more productive and positive learning environment.


Implementing morning meetings in middle schools through the Circle of Power and Respect offers a multifaceted approach to enhancing the educational experience. By fostering a sense of community, supporting social and emotional growth, and improving academic focus, CPR meetings are proving to be an invaluable practice. As schools continue to seek ways to support their students through the challenges of adolescence, the adoption of such practices underscores the importance of nurturing not just the mind but the heart of every student.

This exploration into the benefits of morning meetings in middle schools highlights a crucial understanding: education is not merely about imparting knowledge but about cultivating individuals who are respectful, empathetic, and ready to face the world's challenges. In embracing practices like the Circle of Power and Respect, schools take a significant step toward realizing this vision.

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