Rancho Sespe/Piru Summer school and year-round enrichment program

Sacrifice in Action

A student builds a model house out of craftsA student at the river.

Students at Rancho Sespe made decorative birdhouses as one of many projects when they engaged in the unit on Sacrifice.
The following unit took them on a field trip to conduct an environmental cleanup at a regional lake.

At the lake, Gorgonio (pictured here) then age 11, saved a girl from drowning. When his friend Arturo called out, “But you can’t swim!”, he replied, “I know, but I can sacrifice.”  Arturo said, “Yes, we both know how to sacrifice.” The two non-swimmers saved the life of their classmate, endangering their own in the process. Consequently, Gorgonio set out on a path to become an emergency medical technician. Arturo studied at a university and became a highly successful engineer. (Among other things, he worked on satellite technologies to identify areas of drought and potential food insecurity.) Both boys were the first in their families to have a chance to enter high school and go on to college. Their Full-Circle Learning course had cultivated and reinforced the spirit of sacrificial service inherent in family culture.

Recognizing Habit-of-Heart Role Models

Firemen often became teary-eyed when receiving habit-of-heart awards and songs from Full-Circle Learners.

These two firefighter events occurred in the early 2000s.  Students also honored life guards, farmers, researchers, astronomist, bakers, disabled workers and others.

While studying the habit of Advocay, students presented plans for species preservation at a regional recreational lake. With songs and poems, they honored the park official who considers the concerns of both humans and other living things. In turn, he invited them to come to the lake and assist with an environmental cleanup.

Mastery Begins with Me

Each year’s mastery ceremony, pictured here, K-12 students receive certificates from teachers for the habit-of-heart they best mastered. Next, they each give a certificate to caregivers or family members to honor them for the habit-of-heart they most appreciate. The farmworker families at Rancho Sespe are not the only ones to feel inspired. Mastery Ceremonies occur around the world. After Hurricane Katrina, families from Louisiana moved west. The Rancho Sespe village and its Full-Circle Learning school opened their doors to Kayla, who learned the habit of Vision Seeking. Here, she envisioned her future life as a doctor.

Passing Along a Tradition of Peacemaking

The first group of learners at Rancho Sespe created a newspaper called Planters of Peace (named by the students. Communicating their message every year became a tradition.

Johanna carried on the tradition of respect for elders by introducing her little sister to an adopted grandparent.The first group of learners at Rancho Sespe created a newspaper called Planters of Peace (named by the students). Communicating their message every year became a tradition.

In 2008, a study of tree planting engaged Pedro and other Ambassadors in a global wisdom exchange. Memorizing songs, learning conflict resolution skills and acting on their personal convictions helped the youth encourage friends to avoid gangs except for “pro-peace” gangs.Johanna carried on the tradition of respect for elders by introducing her little sister to an adopted grandparent.The first group of learners at Rancho Sespe created a newspaper called Planters of Peace (named by the students). Communicating their message every year became a tradition.

Learners from preschool age (the Peacemakers), to primary grades (the Rebuilders) to secondary students (the Ambassadors) helped reduce the level of community over the first decade of their participation at Full-Circle Learning Rancho Sespe.In 2008, a study of tree planting engaged Pedro and other Ambassadors in a global wisdom exchange. Memorizing songs, learning conflict resolution skills and acting on their personal convictions helped the youth encourage friends to avoid gangs except for “pro-peace” gangs.Johanna carried on the tradition of respect for elders by introducing her little sister to an adopted grandparent.The first group of learners at Rancho Sespe created a newspaper called Planters of Peace (named by the students). Communicating their message every year became a tradition.

The learners overcame generational and regional differences. Here, Johanna carried on the tradition of respect for elders by introducing her little sister to an adopted grandparent.

Pandemic Approaches

 Learners could no longer engage in kinesthetic strategies to “walk as one” during the 2020 pandemic.

 Full-Circle Learning responded to the need for social distancing by suppling Chromebook computers for families in its Piru-based summer school.

The board helped teachers and parents ease into distance learning without losing the altruistic purpose embedded in the Habit-of-Heart units.

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