Intersections: Deciding to Rise

November 02, 2016 by Bill Ivey

When I was a girl, I had parents who loved me and believed in me, but those doubts still worked their way inside my head and my heart, and I was always worried about something. Does my hair look right? Am I too tall? Do I raise my hand too much in class? So when folks said that a girl like me shouldn’t aspire to go to the very best colleges in this country I thought, "Maybe they’re right." But eventually I learned that each of those doubts were like a little test, a challenge, that either I could shrink away from or rise up to meet and I decided to rise. - Michelle Obama, quoted by AISNE Assistant Director Bonnie Ricci at the AISNE Diversity Conference on November 1, 2016

It wasn’t particularly easy waking up at 4:45 in the morning to head out to the 2016 AISNE Diversity Conference. But it was well worth it, and not just for the chance to connect with familiar faces from other schools I don’t see often enough.

Ralph Wales, Head of Gordon School, welcomed us, asking the question, “What would happen if we were to start a school today?” He talked about aligning the power pyramid with our work in support of it, of the force and power we have to do right by all children, and of the concept of “pushing subversion.” Speaking as a person whose mood indicator has been stuck on subversive for several years, I can support that. The question, of course, is what to subvert, and how.

Filed Under: Education, social justice, anti-racism, LGBT Support, diversity, inclusion, Feminism, Intersections

Intersections: Quietly Revolutionary

October 26, 2016 by Bill Ivey

Varied Assessment: Continuous, authentic, and appropriate assessment measures, including both formative and summative ones, provide evidence about every student's learning progress. Such information helps students, teachers, and family members select immediate learning goals and plan further education. - from This We Believe, the 16 research-based characteristics of successful middle schools, published by the Association for Middle Level Education

Dear Middle School Team,

I sit here with a feeling of quiet pride. What we accomplished yesterday would be considered revolutionary in many schools, not just the decision we took but also the means by which we came to this point. And, as is always the case with us, it was a decision that put our students front and center while also keeping in mind and having consideration for the multiple perspectives of everyone involved.

Filed Under: Education, Middle School, Middle Level Education, Intersections, Assessment, Rick Wormeli

Intersections: I Shall Wear Purple

October 20, 2016 by Bill Ivey
Today, I am wearing purple. As it happens, I like purple - in fact, it’s one of my favourite colours. But more to the point, I am supporting GLAAD in marking Spirit Day and taking a stand against bullying and in support of LGBTQ+ youth.

Filed Under: Education, Intersections, LGBT Support, GLAAD, GLSEN, Spirit Day, Anti-Bullying

Intersections: Highlights

October 18, 2016 by Bill Ivey

I use Facebook as much as a professional networking resource as a means of keeping in touch with family and friends. I recently shared for anyone who may have been interested how proud I was of the students who recently made the GLSEN presentation in housemeeting, beginning my post by saying, “I know I say it perhaps more than I should, but students are amazing.” My mother-in-law said, “Never more than you should,” a friend added, “Never too much. Keep posting these anecdotes. It's a soothing balm to the ills of all the other junk we're seeing now.,” and Mark Springer said, “Students never cease to amaze, and we should never cease to say so.”

Filed Under: Education, Middle School, Middle Level Education, Democratic classroom, Intersections

Intersections: Valid and Loved

October 11, 2016 by Bill Ivey

Yesterday in housemeeting, two students and I talked about the recent GLSEN conference we had attended together. The kids were brilliant, speaking simply and directly about their experiences attending sessions on fashion and gender, being gender expansive, the film “The Year We Thought About Love” chronicling the development of a play by queer youth and their straight allies, and expressing one’s truths through poetry. In preparing for this moment, it suddenly occurred to me that National Coming Out Day is somewhere in mid-October (n.b. It's today, October 11). Was it randomly the same day as housemeeting?

Filed Under: Education, Intersections, LGBT Support, National Coming Out Day

Intersections: Bringing that Love to Life

October 05, 2016 by Bill Ivey

Did not know it was #WorldTeachersDay until this morning. All respect to all teachers. I will be celebrating by... teaching. :-) (tweet by Bill Ivey)

So how have I been spending World Teachers Day?

Filed Under: Education, Middle School, World Teachers Day

Intersections: Words in Motion

October 02, 2016 by Bill Ivey

Words in motion evoke change when spoken. - Jasmin Roberts

Because Thursday was Mountain Day, Rock Band had the night off, and that meant I was free to join EduColor’s 7:30 Twitter chat on engaging and supporting families of colour. Being white, this meant both an opportunity to chime in when I felt I genuinely had something worth adding, and an even greater opportunity to listen in and learn from voices of colour. I knew that if I retweeted every tweet I loved, I’d flood my timeline. So I found myself favoriting left and right so people would know I was listening and they were being heard.

Filed Under: Education, anti-racism, LGBT Support, Intersections, social justice, equity

Intersections: Opportunities

September 28, 2016 by Bill Ivey

The day when the transgender anti-discrimination bill becomes law in Massachusetts is fast approaching. On this Saturday, October 1, gender identity (which, as it is defined in the law, essentially includes gender expression) will become a protected class with regards to public accommodations. Businesses may no longer legally refuse service, provide deliberately inferior service, advertise or publicize that they discriminate based on gender identity, lie in order to facilitate discrimination, or harass or intimidate people based on their gender identity. (Gallitano and Zules) Massachusetts thus becomes the 18th state to offer this level of protection to transgender and gender non-conforming people.

Filed Under: Education, LGBT Support, transgender, Allyship, Ally Week, Intersections

Intersections: Shining a Light

September 23, 2016 by Bill Ivey

A final entry as Ally Week 2016 winds down.

It’s been an eventful ally week, to say the least. Not so much on campus as off. Lots of opportunities for allyship. Lots of people stepping up.

One positive example followed VOYA (“Voices Of Youth Advocates”) magazine’s unaccountably biphobic and heterosexist review of Kody Keplinger’s book Run. Actually, the review was what one Twitterer referred to as “a hot mess” with not only biphobia and heterosexism but also ableism, slut shaming… the epitome of the privileged and judgmental viewpoint that doesn’t even see its own privilege talking. It ended with the admonition that, because one of the characters is openly and unapologetically bisexual, the book might not be appropriate for all young adult audiences. If you’re going to give a content warning at all, many people pointed out, wouldn’t the actual (heterosexual) sex be the logical choice rather than a simple affirmation of one’s orientation?

Filed Under: Education, social justice, Intersections, anti-racism, LGBT Support, Bisexuality

Intersections: A Group So Persistent

September 19, 2016 by Bill Ivey

“No. We’re not going to restart.” Much as I value resilience, and much as I value student voice, I couldn’t imagine what they were thinking. A group of 14 middle schoolers, on their annual bonding overnight trip to Camp Becket, were trying to get across a 20-foot “lava river” using only six rubber dots about 10” in diameter. They were only allowed to step on the dots. If any of the dots were left untouched, even for a moment, they melted away (meaning Edie, the Camp Becket staff person supervising the group, took it back). They had gotten maybe nine people over but had just lost their fourth dot, meaning they were down to only two. How could they ever get five middle schoolers across a 20-foot lava river with only two safety dots?!?!

Filed Under: Education, Intersections, Middle School, Resilience, Best self, Collaboration