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

Intersections: "Powerfully on the Side of Love"

September 07, 2016 by Bill Ivey


Inspired by our Convocation ceremony on Monday, Sept. 5, 2016

“Where do our individual templates and belief systems come from?” Shayna Appel ‘78 asked, pausing a moment during her invocation. In telling a personal anecdote of when she needed to grow further into her own best self, and did, she was inviting us both implicitly and explicitly to consider the question. As Head of School Sally Mixsell ‘69 would later say, all you know is what you see when you first meet a person - what is most important is unseen and undiscovered. And we have, as Shayna pointed out, the freedom to choose different judgments and opinions, to bring a more critical awareness of ourselves and our certainties. Student Council President Molly Li ‘17, in her discussion of what the Honor Code means to her, told us that when she first came here as an eighth grader, she had feared she would be judged here by her looks and by her English. However, she said, everyone was always kind and respectful to her. And Miles DeClue ‘18, in her own take on the ritual reading (and eventual signing) of the Honor Code, noted that it comes down to personal responsibility.

Filed Under: social justice, Education, Mission Statement, Convocation, International perspective, Best self

Every Moment

July 09, 2016 by Bill Ivey

By all reports, he was a wonderful person, loved by the students in the school where he worked. He would smile at every child every day, and succeeded in making the cafeteria where he worked a happy space for them. One parent described him as “Mr. Rogers with dreadlocks” (Rafowicz, quoted in Lonetree) The J.J. Hill Montessori School PTO wrote, “Because you were a part of our community, we are better. / We will hold you and your family in peace and memoriam.”

Filed Under: LGBT Support, anti-racism, social justice, real world issues, Education

If There Is To Be Hope

June 13, 2016 by Bill Ivey

“When the power of love overcomes the love of power, then the world will know peace.” - Jimi Hendrix (quote shared on @teacherMRW’s Twitter feed)

One of the first things I read yesterday morning (Sunday, June 12, 2016) was this great piece by Jennifer Orr celebrating her school board. Having updated their non-discrimination policy to include transgender kids last year, they recently voted to update the school handbook as well, providing the concrete means to enforce the policy. As you may imagine, the decision was somewhat controversial, but in the end, as Ms. Orr said, “As a school system we serve ALL children. We must teach them AND keep them safe.”

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

Commencement 2016: Address by Senior Speaker Siobhan Pascal '16

May 31, 2016 by Guest Student Author

Thank you to all the parents, family, guests, and alumnae who have come to share this special day with us, the Class of 2016. Thank you to the teachers, faculty, and staff for getting us this far. Thank you to all our friends and schoolmates who have helped to make our last year worthwhile. Today we are gathered in our gymnatorium, as Ann likes to call it, in order to celebrate another significant milestone in our lives. Like other milestones, we may not always appreciate it as much as we do now or remember the amount of work that we put into getting here, but that does not make it any less consequential.

Filed Under: social justice, graduation speech, Girls Schools, Graduation, Education, Class of 2016

Sleeves Rolled Up

May 19, 2016 by Bill Ivey
Yesterday, Kaya Kim ‘17, the new Head of Community Alliance, sent out a diversity survey to the school. Her questions focused on a number of axes of diversity, including race, nationality, gender, and sexuality. She also asked about day/boarding relations. It’s hard to imagine a better way to get started at this brand new job than by taking stock of how different people perceive where the school is on diversity right now. When giving her speech as a candidate for the position, one of Kaya’s focuses was her willingness and ability to listen, and clearly she is putting that skill into play right from the start.

Filed Under: student voice, LGBT Support, anti-racism, social justice, Education, student agency, Community Alliance

Getting There

May 17, 2016 by Bill Ivey

“So what did you do?” came the question from in their weekly #SayftyChat, one of the most impressive chats I know for its intersectional focus, globalism, and unapologetic and strong feminist attitude. Their question had been, “Have you ever been street harassed?” and my answer was “Yes. Just last week, in fact.” I was walking through Northampton after a late night decaf soy cortado at The Roost, and a lone car driving by honked at me as the (I presume) guys in it shouted something I couldn’t quite make out, which was probably fortunate.

Filed Under: LGBT Support, social justice, Education, IDAHOT


May 11, 2016 by Bill Ivey

As part of our middle school’s Founders’ Day tradition, the five- and six-year Seniors are invited to join us for lunch out by Bonnie’s House. They always seem to arrive radiating happiness, excited to be part of what many of them say is one of the favourite memories of middle school. This year’s kids were no exception, and they sat down together with a group of middle schoolers reminiscing about their own middle school years and asking this year’s kids about what they’ve been doing together. They added notes and signatures to recently tie-dyed t-shirts and played games. And they asked me if I remembered them.

I do.

Filed Under: Middle School, social justice, Feminism, Education, Founders' Day


May 01, 2016 by Bill Ivey

It’s one of those cold and rainy days that keeps me online more than I would be otherwise on a Sunday with most of my class prep behind me and all student writing having received feedback. That’s fortunate, because otherwise I might not have seen Mel Greenberg’s tweet that Imani Boyette and her mom Pamela McGee might become the first-ever mother-daughter pair to play in the WNBA if Ms. Boyette can make the regular season roster for the Chicago Sky. The WNBA is the longest-running women’s professional league in U.S.history, and it feels encouraging that it is reaching this major landmark.

Filed Under: women in sports, social justice, gender equity, equity, WNBA, Feminism, NSWL

A Token of My Appreciation

February 21, 2016 by Bill Ivey
It’s probably a bit odd to be typing this with purple fingernails in a coffee shop where they’ve seen me in a skirt, but sometimes I just get so weary of feeling like I need to be the resident gender person. It’s even more odd in that, while I do identify as a gender activist and thus adopt a "non-conforming" gender expression that deliberately values the "feminine," I don’t identify as transgender, and so have to be careful to speak out without co-opting transgender voices. At any rate, all this means staring at Twitter on a more or less daily basis wondering if I have it in me to add my signature comment, “... and people of other genders?...” yet again and whether perhaps, this time, someone else will speak up first. It means hoping in meetings and conversations that other people will pick up, or even start, at least some of the threads that can so easily be left to me. It means I often wake up thinking about gender and I often fall asleep thinking about gender, to the point where sometimes I just want to scream, or cry, or... I don't know, wave a magic wand and just make it all go away.

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