Making This Place Beautiful

September 11, 2017 by Guest Faculty Bloggers

Invocation delivered at Convocation by Shayna Appel '78

The legendary poet, writer, playwright and social activist James Baldwin once wrote, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

Filed Under: Alumnae, LGBT Support, anti-racism, social justice, diversity, Convocation, inclusion

Intersections: Love, Grace, and Vision

August 17, 2017 by Bill Ivey

(title courtesy of Nancy Flanagan)

During the early summer heat wave in Europe, stories were turning up all over the Internet about boys wearing skirts to school and men wearing dresses to work. Jake Steward (our English Department Chair) sent me an email one day with a link to an article I hadn’t yet seen (though it began to crop up increasingly frequently), “ Teenage Boys Turn Up at Devon School Dressed in Skirts.” At one level, these boys may not have made that choice if (in order of ease of remedy) a) their schools had a dress code that permitted boys to wear shorts, b) their schools had air-conditioning, and/or c) climate change wasn’t contributing to ever more extreme weather patterns. But at another level, there was fairly rapid and widespread buy-in to the skirt protest. I’m honestly not sure that would have been true just five years ago, no matter what the weather.

Filed Under: LGBT Support, social justice, Girls Schools, Feminism, Intersections, Boys Schools, single-gender schools, single-sex schools

Intersections: #CharlottesvilleCurriculum

August 14, 2017 by Bill Ivey

It was a beautiful sunny Wednesday. My wife was away on an administrators’ retreat as her school was preparing to start the year, and I needed to focus on preparing for the upcoming NENTS 2.0 conference (designed for inexperienced teachers who have spent at least a year in the classroom) that I was co-facilitating. I hopped in the car and drove up to Charlottesville.

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

Intersections: Drowning Out the Superfluous

June 29, 2017 by Bill Ivey

It’s an axiom of the teaching profession that summer is a time to rest and recharge. Most frequently, we’ll talk about the chance to catch up on sleep, spend more time with family and friends, take the time to delve into those longer reads we’ve been meaning to explore for months now, and use what we’ve learned the preceding year to prepare for the upcoming year. And as I sleep in until my body wakes me up, descend the stairs to our living room where my wife is already hard at work scheduling kids into classes for her school, greet her and the cat, and settle in over breakfast to peruse social media for my daily school postings before taking a run and then turning to one of several books I’ve downloaded onto my iPad, I get the importance of every one of those things.

Filed Under: social justice, Feminism, Balance, Intsersections, Self-Care, Claire E. Sterk

Winter Term Honor Roll Remarks

March 28, 2017 by Guest Faculty Bloggers

Delivered at the Upper School Honor Roll Assembly on March 28, 2017 by Kristen Peterson, Dean of Students at the request of Student Council.

We gather here today to celebrate the academic achievements of all of our students and to highlight those students who have earned honor roll or higher. I am honored to serve as your speaker today, though -- to be honest -- I feel a bit intimidated to be the one to speak on such academic achievements.

Filed Under: Honor Roll, social justice

Intersections: Vigil for Racial Justice

December 10, 2016 by Bill Ivey

I will be out of town on Saturday morning Dec. 10 and unable to attend the weekly Vigil for Racial Justice. But I stand nonetheless in support of our student who was twice subjected to racial harassment last weekend in our town, and in support of all our students of colour. I stand alongside others from our school who feel the same way. And I share here, scheduled to post the moment the Vigil starts, the poster I made for the first morning I attended.

Filed Under: intersectionality, anti-racism, social justice, Feminism, Intersections, racial justice

Intersections: For the Long Haul

December 05, 2016 by Bill Ivey
Since the week before the election, I’ve been attending the Vigil for Racial Justice in downtown Greenfield when I can. I first went with students and on our way back, we all agreed the school should offer it as a weekly activity - which we have been doing. Each time I’ve been there, it’s been a quite pleasant experience. Most people who passed by either ignored us, smiled, or honked supportively. I did have a conversation with one citizen on my way there one morning; he saw my poster and looked me in the eye and said, “All lives matter. All .” I smiled at him and cheerfully said, “I couldn’t agree more.” Because, to the founders of the movement, and to me, that is the fundamental message of the slogan “Black Lives Matter”  - in a country infused with and shaped by racism from its earliest days, all lives, including Black lives , matter equally. And that was as close as I had come to having a negative experience.

Filed Under: intersectionality, anti-racism, social justice, Feminism, Anti-Bullying, Intersections

Intersections: Feminist Affirmation

November 15, 2016 by Bill Ivey

This past Saturday, at a memorial service for a college friend, I shared stories of her ability to stand up for herself “with just the right touch of defiance,” of her deep seated insistence on being her own authentic self, of her feminist affirmation of women.

During the all-school meeting last Friday in which we held an open discussion about the range of thoughts and feelings following the election, one of our students shared her belief that women as a whole need to believe in themselves and their gender more strongly than they now do. After the meeting, I came across this quote (abridged here) shared on Gloria Steinem's Facebook page: “So while I do not pray for anybody or any party to commit outrages, still I do pray, and that earnestly and constantly, for some terrific shock to startle the women of this nation into a self-respect which will... give them the courage and conscience to speak and act for their own freedom, though they face the scorn and contempt of all the world for doing it.” I shared it with that student, wanting her to know not only that her voice had been heard but also that she had echoed the thoughts of a feminist icon.

Filed Under: LGBT Support, anti-racism, social justice, Feminism, feminist school, Intersections

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

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