On October 24, 2019, I attended the 2019 AISNE Diversity-Equity-Inclusion conference. A recurring theme through the day (as articulated by keynote speaker Dr. Philip McAdoo) was transitioning schools from head to heart.
Welcome and Morning Keynote
As we were waiting for the 2019 AISNE Diversity-Equity-Inclusion conference to start, the person sitting to my right leaned over to introduce himself. I recognized his name immediately, since Clyfe Beckwith is the Assistant Head for Teaching and Learning at Andover, from which my son graduated. I knew about some of the school’s more recent initiatives through newsletters and, as we got to talking about Andover’s firm and ongoing commitment to looking honestly at how they are supporting their kids and taking concrete steps to grow continually, one of the themes became (as morning keynote speaker Dr. Philip McAdoo would put it) how to transition a school from head to heart. The perfect introduction to the day!
In many ways, 2019 has been an amazing year for girls. Greta Thunberg has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for her work with climate change, and Alexandria Villaseñor and Isra Hirsi, among others, have also received well-deserved attention. Mari Copeny continues to advocate tirelessly for an improved water supply for her hometown of Flint, and Autumn Peltier has been doing the same for the indigenous people of Canada. And Malala Yousafzai’s name still pops up on occasion in connection with her own ongoing work advocating for girls’ education and women’s equality.
Filed Under: student voice, student government, International Day of the Girl, Malala Yousafzai, student agency, Student Activism, Greta Thunberg, Isra Hirsi, OEKs, Alexandria Villaseñor, Mari Copeny, Autumn Peltier
Tomorrow, as two middle schoolers announced in a housemeeting presentation on Tuesday, is National Coming Out Day. You knew they were thinking intersectionally right from their title slide as they chose the eight-stripe version of the rainbow flag, introduced in 2017 by the Philadelphia More Color More Pride campaign in order to be explicitly inclusive of Black people and other people of colour.
Having polished off a delicious blue plate special at Veggie Galaxy in Cambridge, I set off back toward Harvard Square. While I was admittedly clutching my phone in my right hand as my arm swung back and forth, as I watched person after person coming toward me staring down at their phones or talking to an unseen interlocuteur, I realized I no longer felt I was missing out on something by focusing on my actual environment instead of my own phone, quickly and frequently opening it up to unlock it and see what was going on in social media world. I wasn’t particularly surprised. But it did make me think about my journey to this point.
The National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) recently shared the article “Seven ways parents and educators can improve kids’ middle school experience” by Phyllis Fagell, the author of Middle School Matters. I immediately clicked on it, and found a series of thoughtful suggestions and examples, each of which in fact does relate well to our own middle school program. Her seven suggestions (in boldface), and a few examples of how they have been playing out in our school:
I looked over at the four smiling students. “Well,” I said, “that was our third straight strong run-through. We’re ready for the show. But if anyone wants to do it again, we absolutely will. That’s how it always works.” Juliet immediately raised her hand. “I want to do it again!” she said. “This song is so much fun!”
Chloe Hughes '19 is on the Teen Advisory Board for Miss Heard Media. This is her fourth post for them, published on May 6, 2019
We have come so far, yet at what point will we be satisfied? We have women as presidential nominees, senators, CEOs, lawyers, doctors and in essentially every field; when will we be satisfied? Men keep asking me when it will be enough for me- when I’ll be satisfied with what we as women have achieved.
You may read the entire post here.
I remember four years ago, as one of my advisees was contemplating moving up from eighth grade to the high school, she said, “Bill, what am I going to do without you?” Well,” I said, “the way I think of it is, once an advisee, always an advisee, and I’ll be right here if ever you need me or even if you just want to drop by and say hi.” Of course, she made the transition to ninth grade just fine, and continued to grow into herself and develop her positive and cheerful voice throughout her remaining four years here.
“It's your journey, do it the way you wanna do it." — Tan FranceTonight, GSA (Gender Sexuality Alliance) members will gather to make signs for the Northampton Pride parade tomorrow. I won’t be there, but I can imagine the scene. Rainbows, glitter, and affirmation will abound, and mingle with stories and wry jokes. Occasionally, something going on on “ Queer Eye” will grab everyone’s attention. And then, as the laughter subsides and eyes return to posters-in-progress, conversations will resume.