There are times when events move us so deeply that we feel an urgent need to engage others in discussion and debate. On these occasions, students will elect to hold a community meeting — an informal gathering that allows any interested member of the school community to address his or her peers. Recent conversations have covered police brutality, social inequality, and the presidential election, among other topics. These gatherings are often moderated by students, and they encourage passionate advocacy and respectful listening.
All-School meetings are scheduled periodically throughout the year, either to celebrate as a community or to encourage discussion about a particular topic. Annually, the School meets on the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday to discuss matters of social equity and to celebrate the Hotchkiss community. Other All-School meetings include award celebrations, speakers, Eco Day, anniversary celebrations, and the Community Service Award.
Every year, the Head of School solicits recommendations for an All-School Read, which students, faculty, and staff discuss at the start of the academic year. In 2016, the Head of School assigned The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, a graphic novel that deals with the challenges of a Native American teenager growing up on a reservation. Faculty members discussed themes from the text and methods of incorporating these themes into school life. Head of School Craig Bradley facilitated an an All-School Meeting in which students and faculty members responded to passages from the book and talked about how those passages relate to their own lives and the School.