On Saturday, January 19, eight members of the Stoneleigh-Burnham community attended a diversity conference, 'Everybody, Everybody': Reimagining Gender and Sexuality in Our Schools," hosted by Vermont Academy. Our group, or “pod” in the terminology of the Dalton Conference model, represented a past and present cross section of students, faculty, staff, administration, parents, alums, and trustees.
As much as I love the warmth, sunlight, and pace of the summer, there is something about this time of year that also appeals to me. Part of it is that sense of resilience you get for toughing it out during a New England winter; part of it is the contrast of the darkness with starlight, moonlight, and the brightness of hats, mittens, and scarves; and part of it is the protectiveness of the darkness itself. As the light retreats and the world seems to close in on itself, introspection comes naturally, even if you are all about daily learning and growth, and whether or not you are of a mind to actually make resolutions
Note: RAINN (The Rape Assault & Incest National Network)’s website includes information, resources, and a hotline.
I can’t follow the “debate” about the Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination with thinking about my kids. How many of them are thinking right now exactly what Emma has said here? How many of them are wondering about what boys are thinking? Even those of my students who identify as non-binary and/or whose romantic/sexual orientations don’t include boys may be (and probably are) thinking about how these messages society is sending applies to them and the people in their lives.
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.
“The idea that only special people can create change is useful if you want to prevent mass movements and keep change from happening.” (Lyn Mikel Brown)
“Maybe the kids will save us.” It’s a phrase I periodically and not infrequently hear among teachers, along with “They give me hope.” I’ve said it myself - just two days ago, in fact - and no doubt will continue to, because I do firmly believe it. And on that horrible Wednesday, when the last Rock Band group of the night smiled and thanked me and walked out the door laughing together and there was nothing left to enable me to wall off my emotions about the news from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, one of my first responses was to turn immediately back to the kids. I asked Windsor’s permission to post her beautiful and powerful All School email to our blog, and she quickly and graciously agreed. It has become our most widely read blog post ever, and for good reason.
by Celine Nader
Here at Stoneleigh-Burnham, our mission statement is both descriptive of what is, and aspirational, considering what we hope will be. We talk about fostering voice, choice, and agency in our students here at SBS — and I feel confident that this is, by and large, quite effective.
“If you went to the Women’s March, could you please come up front with me?” said Celine Nader as she prepared to start a presentation in housemeeting. Interspersed with her beautiful words (included here in her blog post) were the students’ own thoughts. They loved the march for its sense of a diverse community coming together in support of each other. One student specifically mentioned she loved the intersectionality, the acknowledgement of race and of the fact that the rally was being held on land that was known as Pocumtuck for thousands of years before colonists renamed it Greenfield. Another student said that it’s wonderful that we cultivate and support girls’ voices here but that it’s also important to take them out into the world, and this march gave us a chance to do that.
I understand that in our society, how we dress is linked to respect. Though I love wearing gym shorts and a tank top, there are certainly occasions where I wouldn’t do so.
Early this morning, one of our English teachers posted that she would be needing someone to cover E period because one of her children was sick. Four minutes later, I saw it and immediately wrote and offered to help. But I was too late, as it turned out - one of my colleagues in the Performing Arts Department had already grabbed the chance.
You all probably know the poem,
- “First they came for [group of people] and I did not speak out, because I was not [part of that group of people]...
- then they came for…
- and then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.