One America Community Efforts
Little Bar

Program: Tribes Learning Community
Contact(s): Judith Hamilton Johnson, CEO, Center Source (415) 289-1700
Purpose: To promote positive relationships and respect for the diversity of racial and cultural populations within school communities

The Tribes Learning Community began in 1978 as a partnership among schools, youth agencies and health services in the San Francisco Bay Area. Designed to increase respect and build positive relationships among racially and ethnically diverse populations, the program engages everyone in the school system including students, teachers, administrators and parents. Multicultural and multilingual trainers within schools and communities conduct sessions on how to achieve respect for racial, gender and other cultural differences. (There are 332 certified trainers active in the Tribes Learning Community throughout the United States, Canada, the Pacific Islands.) Students must agree to four codes of conduct. They must: respect each other, listen attentively, appreciate differences, and respect the right of each participant not to contribute to conversations. These agreements establish a safe non-violent and non-prejudiced climate for teaching and learning. Several social skills are also taught including group problem-solving, decision-making, critical thinking, conflict resolution, and respecting racial and multicultural diversity. The Tribes Learning Community approach is being used in thousands of primary and secondary schools throughout the United States, Canada and other countries. Schools with racially and ethnically diverse populations in inner cities such as Houston, Honolulu, Indianapolis, Oakland and San Francisco report a decrease in behavior problems within the first year of using the Tribes Learning Community process. The book, Tribes, A New Way of Learning and Being, details the concepts and research underlying this cooperative learning approach. Additional information can be learned by visiting the Website at

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