Tribes Learning Communities

Tribes Learning Communities Logo

Basic Information

Address: CenterSource Systems, 60 Commerce Lane, Suite D, Cloverdale, CA, 95425
Phone Number: 800-810-1701
Fax Number: 707-894-2355

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Tribes Learning Communities
Tribes Learning Communities
Tribes Learning Communities

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Additional Information

Focus: Social Emotional Learning, Development of the Whole Child, Building Community, Bullying and Violence Prevention

CenterSource Systems

Director: Carol Rankin, Manager of Program Development
Schools Served: Pre-K, Elementary, Middle School, High School, College/University
School District: Any
County: Any
Schedule: 12-hour training, facilitated in 2 days
Ages: 3 - 18+
Capacity: Available in all U.S. states and in many countries
Membership/Pricing: 12-hour After-School Youth Development training = $200 per participant, including all books, materials, trainer compensation, trainer travel

Tribes TLC is best learned by experiencing it! Certified Tribes Trainers can come to your program site to facilitate the 12-hour After-School Youth Development Program training. Join after-school educators, youth workers, and community members throughout the country who are convinced that the community building process called “TRIBES” is the secret ingredient that transforms the after-school learning center environment to one of caring and cooperation.


The initial version of the Tribes process began to evolve in the early seventies, a time when concerned educators and parents began groping for ways to motivate children’s learning, to manage behavior problems, and to stem the tide upon which many good teachers were leaving the profession. From 1975 through 1985 numerous applications of the group development process were designed by the author/founder, Jeanne Gibbs. Schools began to request training when they learned that the Tribes group process decreased behavior problems, increased self-esteem, improved cooperation and achievement, and improved teachers’ energy and morale.

A series of books were written by Jeanne, including Reaching All by Creating Tribes Learning Communities, Discovering Gifts in Middle School, and Engaging All by Creating High School Learning Communities (J. Gibbs & T. Ushijima). Comprehensive research-based professional development training was developed to accompany each book.

Tribes TLC® has been recognized as a promising or model program by the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL), the Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), and CSAP’s WesternCAPT (Center for Substance Abuse Prevention’s Center for the Application of Prevention Technologies).

As now defined, the primary mission of Tribes TLC® is "to assure the healthy development of every child in the school community so that each has the knowledge, skills and resiliency to be successful in our rapidly changing world."

Program Highlights:

Tribes Learning Communities (or Tribes TLC®) is an elementary, middle and high school program that promotes social and academic development by creating a positive learning environment. To implement the Tribes process, after-school youth development staff members and administrators participate in a 12-hour training program led by a Certified Tribes TLC® Trainer. This helps ensure that the entire school or program reinforces the same basic messages and behaviors among students. The Tribes group development process focuses on resiliency and human development.

Teachers and after-school program staff members organize their students into collaborative learning groups, known as "tribes." To promote a spirit of cooperation and social acceptance, students and teachers honor four community agreements: 1) attentive listening, 2) appreciation / no "put downs," 3) mutual respect, and 4) the “right to pass or participate."

As students become better at honoring the four agreements and working together, teachers gradually transfer responsibility to the tribes, so the members can set their own goals, monitor progress, and solve problems. Teachers learn to integrate curriculum through active learning strategies to engage students in meaningful learning and peer leadership. There is a clear planning process for implementation throughout the whole school or program. Collegial teacher groups and leadership teams are developed to create a professional learning community, and to enhance curriculum planning, problem solving, and authentic assessment.

Thousands of schools and after-school programs are currently implementing the Tribes process throughout the United States, Canada, Australia, and other countries.

Support Services:

You will receive a copy of the 432 page book, Reaching All by Creating Tribes Learning Communities, by Jeanne Gibbs, a participant journal, a Certificate of Completion, and the materials to enable you to implement Tribes in your after-school community learning center. Follow-up coaching and support are available so that your staff can intensify the use of the Tribes process throughout the year and at every level of the after-school program.


Tribes active learning strategies are designed to create a caring culture, to develop a community of learners, and to achieve academic, social and emotional learning objectives. Follow-up reflection questions in the areas of content, collaborative skills, and personal learning, as well as statements of appreciation, enhance learning for students and sustain the positive environment.

Field Trip Destinations: Not applicable
Slogan: Trust the Process!