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Building Community Five Minutes at a Time
Building Community Five Minutes at a Time

Informative TED-style talks show school’s personality

By Theresa Walker

Logo courtesy of Viewpoint School

Someone telling you to take off your shoes while eating lunch is not an everyday occurrence, especially not in a theater. But when the middle school headmaster gave those instructions at Viewpoint School last September, no one found the request unusual. After all, that day was a 5Up day and the headmaster was discussing the importance of mindfulness during routine activities.

Two years ago the California independent school started Five Minutes Up, a series of lunchtime talks featuring speakers—students, alumni, faculty members, or other Viewpoint stakeholders—three to five times a year. Modeled after the popular "ideas worth spreading" concept of TED Talks, Viewpoint's version challenges each speaker to talk about a life experience that will inform, ignite, and inspire the 100-person audience—all in about five minutes.

The talks, which are recorded and uploaded to the school's YouTube channel, provide an authentic window into the Viewpoint community. Admissions staff members email video links to prospective parents; new parents often say the videos helped them see the character of the school.

"You get a real sense of what we're about and the culture, community, and values we reflect," says Jennifer Rhodes, who as the senior advancement officer started the program in partnership with the school's director of arts. "It's a genuine way for people to get to know us better."

Some 5Up faves:


About the Author Theresa Walker Theresa Walker

Theresa Walker is a senior editor at Currents, where she covers the marketing and communications beat.




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