Yesterday, I attended a day-long conference sponsored and hosted by Vermont Academy. The idea was to send teams, or “pods,” from each attending school representing different constituencies, and emerge from the day with a personal action plan to bring back to our school. I attended with four students from our school and Shawn Durrett, our Dean of Faculty and an English teacher.
During advisory lunch on Monday, one of my eighth grade advisees asked why people might not want to arm teachers. The conversation quickly shifted to our school’s policies around lockdowns and other policies meant to help keep kids safe, so we ran out of time before her question was really answered. I told her I hadn’t forgotten the original question, and said maybe we could talk on Wednesday.
“I am not a pretty girl. That is not what I… do.” - ani difranco
It’s 10 days after Parkland and, while some of the initial rawness has subsided, I know many teachers who are still having difficulty sleeping, having nightmares when they do get to sleep, crying on basically a daily basis. While one of my colleagues and I were discussing actions the kids here are resolving to take, she told me, choking back tears, “I just feel so helpless.” My office mate and I had a long conversation yesterday in which she pointed out she was so young when Columbine happened that she can’t remember a time when we didn’t have to worry about school shootings. She’s profoundly angry about that, and goodness knows I would be.
Here is a comprehensive list of all the NCAA basketball programs besides the UConn women’s side that have ever won 100 straight games:
Not only is the feat unprecedented, but also they have kept it going in a year where few people if any predicted they would maintain this level of dominance. Their top three players - who just happened to also be the first three players taken in the WNBA draft, a feat that is also unprecedented - had graduated, and while this year’s group certainly had talent, they were seen as a young team due for what passes as a rebuilding year at UConn.
Our mission calls us to honor student voice, and it’s a theme woven into the fabric of our school. Voice itself can take many forms. There’s voice as in simply expressing yourself well, whether you are off to the international debate and public speaking championships or making a short presentation in class. There’s voice as in making proposals or putting ideas out there for discussion. There’s voice as in speaking up for what is right. There’s voice as in simply being your authentic self. Among many others.
Two days after the ISIS attacks on Paris (and three days after the ISIS attacks in Beirut), I received the following email from a seventh grader: “If we have time in class tomorrow, I really think we should notice/talk about the attack by ISIS in Paris that happened Friday Night. I feel like we should have a moment of silence.” I wrote her back and said, “I've been thinking about what I might want to do with you all, knowing someone might bring it up, knowing I maybe should bring it up if none of you all do. Thanks for writing me now as it will help me in my thinking. A bunch of us SBS teachers, including Miriam and Mme. Jolicoeur, have been talking about it and sharing resources, and many of my teaching friends at other schools are doing the same thing.”