Not a Four-Letter Word

August 12, 2014 by Bill Ivey

The recent controversy around the Science magazine cover objectifying and dehumanizing trans women highlights not only how trans women may be treated within the scientific community but also how women in general may be treated within the field. The short answer: not well.

Filed Under: Alumnae, gender, LGBT Support, social justice, gender equity, Girls Schools, diversity, All Girls Education, Feminism, girls' school, STEM, Education

Aware of One's Gender

October 02, 2013 by Bill Ivey

"Can I ask a question?" Julia, a returning 8th grader, asked toward the end of our first all-middle school meeting. "Sure," I said as 33 pairs of curious eyes turned to look at her. "Well, it's really more of a statement (laugh). I just want to say that I love this meeting tonight. It's the best part of the whole year." It is indeed a wonderful tradition - after an all-school dinner, everyone gathers in the Capen Room where faculty introduce themselves, Big Sisters introduce themselves and their Littles, a few announcements are made, and everyone races off to begin focusing seriously on the finally imminent first day of classes. "I don't know if I'm ready to say it's all downhill from here, but I do love this night," I said softly to Andrea as kids streamed past us. She laughed and nodded. "I know," she said.

Filed Under: Alumnae, gender, LGBT Support, social justice, Beautifully different, community, Acceptance, diversity, Feminism, girls' school, Uniquely Stoneleigh-Burnham School

Not Long Enough

May 28, 2013 by Bill Ivey

Spearth Day was born of a series of compromises, but has become one of the key dates in the waning weeks of our school year. Many years ago, the students asked for a special day to celebrate the mailman who played such an important role in their lives (today's students, for whom email is old-fashioned and texting is routine, would probably find this odd). We called it "M and M Day" for "Mail Man Day," and besides presenting him with a card and gifts when he finally showed, we played an all-school game of Capture the Flag and found other ways to celebrate. Over time, M and M Day evolved and became more organized - for one thing, the tradition of the talent show was begun. Meanwhile, earlier in the spring, Earth Day remained a day off for service - cleaning up local parks and rivers, clearing trails, and so on. The two days were eventually combined into one, and the name "Spearth Day" comes from "Spring-Earth Day." We spend the morning doing various service projects on- and off-campus, have the Talent Show after lunch, follow that with games and booths organized by classes and clubs, dedicate the yearbook and pass out copies, and end with a barbecue. This year, for a special treat, there will be a dance performance by the Senior IB dancers.

Filed Under: Spearth Day, Teaching, Alumnae, School Happenings, On Education, Bill Ivey, Celebrating Holidays, Beautifully different, On Parenting, community, In the Classroom, Performing Arts, performing, Stoneleigh-Burnham School, Graduation, Uniquely Stoneleigh-Burnham School

A Moment of Peace

May 22, 2013 by Bill Ivey

132 - Kristin. 134 - Kim and Francie. 136 - Donna and Jenny. 138 - Amanda and Hillary. And so on.

Filed Under: Middle School, Alumnae, Houseparenting, Bill Ivey, Beautifully different, community, Boarding School, Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School, The Faculty Perspective, Stoneleigh-Burnham School, Uniquely Stoneleigh-Burnham School

Fight Club

December 04, 2012 by Bill Ivey

After a morning chat with my wife, I decided to check in on my various social media accounts before heading out to the Wash 'n Wire, giving my cat a few extra minutes of post-breakfast lap time. My first, and as it turned out only, stop was Facebook, where the first post was from "Toward the Stars" referencing "Fight Club," an article in "The Telegraph" about the Asgarda tribe in Ukraine. Composed entirely of women and led by Katerina Tarnouska, the tribe follows the traditions of the ancient Amazons, training in the martial arts and "[learning] life skills and sciences in order to become ideal women."
Most years, at some point in time, my students ask whether female-dominated cultures exist, and I file this away should the question arise this year. Ukraine is a country where women are subject to sexual trafficking and gender oppression, and that is a contributing factor to the existence of this tribe. So does their existence serve to demonstrate the power of women taking control of their lives or is it sad commentary on the depth of damage that can be done by institutionalized sexism? Or both? Well... my students can wrestle with those questions should the topic come up.

Filed Under: Middle School, Teaching, Alumnae, gender, All-Girls, The Girls School Advantage, On Education, Beautifully different, Acceptance, diversity, All Girls Education, Feminism, In the Classroom, Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School, girls' school, Uniquely Stoneleigh-Burnham School, Education

In Community

November 13, 2012 by Bill Ivey

All knowledge is held in community. - Peter Sellars

Filed Under: Teaching, Alumnae, All-Girls, The Girls School Advantage, On Education, Bill Ivey, Beautifully different, Girls Schools, community, arts, All Girls Education, Boarding School, Performing Arts, Stoneleigh-Burnham School, Uniquely Stoneleigh-Burnham School, Education

Growing Out of Over-Thinking

June 29, 2012 by Guest Faculty Bloggers

The following post was originally published in our Spring 2012 Bulletin. It was written by Bryna Cofrin-Shaw, a graduate of the class of 2010.

Filed Under: women in sports, Alumnae, Grades 7-12 and PG, On Education, Boarding and Day, Girls Schools, college, College Prep, All Girls Education, growth, Stoneleigh-Burnham School, Graduation, Uniquely Stoneleigh-Burnham School, Education

As Best We Can

June 14, 2012 by Bill Ivey

I still have vivid memories of the first SBS Vespers ceremony I ever attended, 26 years ago. A graduate of a public high school, I was wholly unprepared for the depth of emotion, the sheer, inconsolable sadness some of these kids were feeling. When I graduated, we were all going off to parties afterwards and were still looking forward to a whole summer of fun together before heading off to our various colleges and life destinies. I knew our true separation was inevitable, but it still felt like a long ways off and was easy to put out of my mind. These kids, on the other hand, were about 14 hours away from saying goodbye to people who had truly become family to them, people with whom they had lived 24/7, sharing the ups and downs of their lives and relying on each other for the kind of deep down solid support you always seek but don't always find in life. And now the Class of 1986 was saying goodbye with a virtual guarantee that they would never again be all together in the same place, and some of them would really and truly never see each other again. The closest friendships, of course, would survive, and others would be renewed at reunions. But caught up in separation anxiety, it was hard for them - and for that matter, for me - to keep that in mind.

Filed Under: Alumnae, Grades 7-12 and PG, On Education, Bill Ivey, Boarding and Day, Parenting, Girls Schools, On Parenting, All Girls Education, Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School, The Faculty Perspective, Stoneleigh-Burnham School, Graduation, Education

What's Simple Is True

June 01, 2012 by Bill Ivey

The middle school recently celebrated Founders' Day, a tradition initiated (logically enough) by the 10 founding students. Seven years ago this month, they asked if future middle school students could have a special day off just for the middle school, to have fun and feel special and to remember the Founders. Since then, traditions have built up and although MOCA (middle school student government) technically plans the day from scratch each year, the schedule generally comes down to breakfast and a movie, tie-dying t-shirts, a barbeque and an afternoon of fun and games. Each year puts their own stamp on those traditions, but the general outline stays pretty much the same.

Filed Under: Middle School, Teaching, Alumnae, Grades 7-12 and PG, School Happenings, On Education, Bill Ivey, Boarding and Day, All Girls Education, In the Classroom, Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School, The Faculty Perspective, Stoneleigh-Burnham School, Graduation, Education

Looking After Each Other

March 22, 2012 by Bill Ivey

“And finding each other, then looking after each other, is well worth doing.” – Bud Hunt

Even with 140 characters or less, you can tell on Twitter when people have been moved. Sunday, March 4 was such a moment as teacher after teacher retweeted Bud Hunt’s extraordinary blog, “On Love and Infrastructure,” often adding short comments such as @AndreaZellner’s “<3 this One to favorite and return to.” Mr. Hunt closes with five fundamentally important questions: “So how do you build love and care into your systems and infrastructures and learning environments and experiences? How are you doing so in a way that doesn’t over simplify the complex backgrounds of the people and communities you’re learning from and with? How are you looking for ways to increase the love and care in your systems? What are you loving in front of your students and colleagues? What would they say gets loved in your spaces?”

Filed Under: Middle School, Teaching, Alumnae, school, Grades 7-12 and PG, School Happenings, On Education, Bill Ivey, Boarding and Day, community, All Girls Education, In the Classroom, Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School, The Faculty Perspective, Stoneleigh-Burnham School, Education