Tribes Learning Communities

Elementary SELect Program

Program Design and Implementation Support

Tribes Learning Communities, offered by the Peace Learning Center, aims to engage all members of the educational community — district and school administrators, teachers, family members, and community members — in ongoing, goal-oriented collaboration to create a caring and supportive environment that establishes positive expectations and promotes the active participation of all students from kindergarten through twelfth grade. The Tribes process includes four community strategies: attentive listening, appreciation/no put downs, the right to pass—the right to participate, and mutual respect. Key program structures and educational practices supported by the program include cooperative learning groups (comprised of three to six students) that work together throughout the entire school year and Community Circles, which provide opportunities for students to work together to solve classroom problems and build relationships. The curriculum also suggests a strategy for exploring academic content. Tribes materials incorporate a variety of cultures, ethnicities, and backgrounds throughout the text and images. Suggestions are provided for adaptation and sensitivity to students’ ethnic backgrounds and cultural beliefs, as well as tailoring language to meet the needs of English Language Learners and students from diverse backgrounds. Program materials are available in English and Spanish. Initial training for Tribes typically lasts 24 hours and is spread across four days. Training is not required, and a train- the-trainer system to support sustainability is offered.

Evidence of Effectiveness

Tribes has been evaluated in a large quasi-experimental (n=3288) study. A subset (n=695) was randomized. Students were followed over the course of a single year.

Kiger, D. (2000). The Tribes process TLC: A preliminary evaluation of classroom implementation & impact on student achievement. Education, 120, 586-592.