Since the implementation of SOS in September of 2017, students have organized routine monthly activities for Sierra High School students (and even families of students) to participate in. Activities may vary year to year based on need and availability of resources, but this year have included: a school-wide Thanksgiving potluck and gratitude practice, pumpkin carving, school door art, art projects and lessons from Mr. Wohlman, individualized messages of encouragement to every student, baking and decorating, book club discussions followed by collage creations for Mental Health Awareness month at the Truckee Library, and a two day class at MakerSpace for students to learn, connect with community artists, and engage in creative expression.
The structural nature of Sierra High School is such that students do not have a plethora of extra-curricular activities on site. Students are welcome and encouraged to join after school clubs, sports, enrichment, etc. at Truckee or North Tahoe High Schools, but this presents challenges for many students. Knowing that our structure is different and knowing the challenges our students face, the staff creates a safe and unique school culture in which students have access to different types of activities that promote wellness and enrichment. SOS is a primary on-site option for students who are interested in bettering their school community, and who want to engage in leadership activities.
SOS is one of many ways that, through student voice and advocacy, students support one another and build upon the welcoming and family-like climate that is Sierra High School. As one student describes it during the student update at the TTUSD Board Meeting “the SOS club is what we use to bring students together, like a family in school”.
Participation varies from activity to activity. It ranges from whole school/community participation to smaller groups of 7-15 students. Turn out among students is routine. Activities are planned in such a way the barriers to attendance (like transportation) are resolved. Those who do not directly participate have an understanding of what is offered and know that is a part of a positive school climate, as it is announced at our school circle meetings that occur twice a week.