Seeing the Trees Within the Forest

February 26, 2013 by Bill Ivey

Sometimes, you can't see the trees for the forest. Especially when your eyes are deliberately closed.

Filed Under: Middle School, Teaching, gender, The Girls School Advantage, On Education, Bill Ivey, diversity, All Girls Education, Feminism, Performing Arts, Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School, Women in media, Oscars, Stoneleigh-Burnham School, Uniquely Stoneleigh-Burnham School, Jose Vilson

Women’s Film Series Project at SBS

January 17, 2013 by Guest Faculty Bloggers

Ever since I came to Stoneleigh Burnham School in 2010, my interest in Women’s Activism has grown rapidly. I have spent three years engaging in intellectually stimulating conversations with many talented and promising young women. This school understands the importance of guiding young women to express themselves and seek change outside of the classroom. My goal is to bring in ideas and perspectives that will leave a lasting impression. We, as SBS girls, may live in a place where our voices can be heard, but in the outside world, women are often silenced. The oppression of women is not just a foreign issue, but increasingly present in the United States, where supposedly, “all citizens are created equal.” My frustration towards our gender’s oppression has inspired me to spread awareness to the SBS community. When I was given the opportunity to create a CAS (Community Action Service) project for the IB program, I immediately jumped at the opportunity to harness my passion for women’s activism and use it to inform the school. Ultimately I decided to create a Women’s Film Series, in which I would air inspiring documentaries and movies about the struggles of women around the world and the women who have led in the fight for equality.

On January 12th, the first night of my film series began with a showing of the documentary “Miss Representation,” directed by Jennifer Siebel. This is an inspiring film about the misrepresentation of women in the media. The students who attended this showing were outraged by how women are often portrayed in movies, TV shows, magazines and newspapers. Even the most powerful women in the United States, and throughout the world, have been bombarded with disrespect and mistreatment. The students left the film, feeling the need to seek change. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to start this Film Series.

Filed Under: gender, Women, The Girls School Advantage, On Education, Beautifully different, MissRepresentation, Feminism, International Baccalaureate, Uniquely Stoneleigh-Burnham School, Education, film

Fight Club

December 04, 2012 by Bill Ivey

After a morning chat with my wife, I decided to check in on my various social media accounts before heading out to the Wash 'n Wire, giving my cat a few extra minutes of post-breakfast lap time. My first, and as it turned out only, stop was Facebook, where the first post was from "Toward the Stars" referencing "Fight Club," an article in "The Telegraph" about the Asgarda tribe in Ukraine. Composed entirely of women and led by Katerina Tarnouska, the tribe follows the traditions of the ancient Amazons, training in the martial arts and "[learning] life skills and sciences in order to become ideal women."
Most years, at some point in time, my students ask whether female-dominated cultures exist, and I file this away should the question arise this year. Ukraine is a country where women are subject to sexual trafficking and gender oppression, and that is a contributing factor to the existence of this tribe. So does their existence serve to demonstrate the power of women taking control of their lives or is it sad commentary on the depth of damage that can be done by institutionalized sexism? Or both? Well... my students can wrestle with those questions should the topic come up.

Filed Under: Middle School, Teaching, Alumnae, gender, All-Girls, The Girls School Advantage, On Education, Beautifully different, Acceptance, diversity, All Girls Education, Feminism, In the Classroom, Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School, girls' school, Uniquely Stoneleigh-Burnham School, Education

Closing the Gap

November 27, 2012 by Bill Ivey

I was staying overnight with my brother and his family so I wouldn't have to get quite so early a start to attend a conference at Simmons College entitled "Dreaming Big: What's Gender Got to Do With It?" The conference would present a study on middle schoolers and career aspirations and provide opportunities to discuss implications and ideas for follow-up. My brother and sister-in-law enjoy the TV program "Modern Family" (as do I), and after we caught up on our lives for a bit, we settled in to enjoy the evening's episode. In retrospect, it turned out to be a good way to warm into the conference, as the show, progressive as it is in some ways, does in other ways reflect the kind of stereotyping about work that is too often seen in the media. For one example, neither of the two moms in the show have a salaried job.

Filed Under: Middle School, Teaching, gender, The Girls School Advantage, On Education, Bill Ivey, Parenting, On Parenting, All Girls Education, Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School, STEM, Education

In Community

November 13, 2012 by Bill Ivey

All knowledge is held in community. - Peter Sellars

Filed Under: Teaching, Alumnae, All-Girls, The Girls School Advantage, On Education, Bill Ivey, Beautifully different, Girls Schools, community, arts, All Girls Education, Boarding School, Performing Arts, Stoneleigh-Burnham School, Uniquely Stoneleigh-Burnham School, Education

The Right Thing is Easy to Do

November 06, 2012 by Bill Ivey

"A good friend of mine who used to be Head of School here," I began, "used to say, 'The right thing is easy to do.'" I segued to a description of a 7th grader, the day's recipient of the "Shining Star" award, who found the courage to go up to an adult who was smoking outside our gym, someone she didn't know, and tell that person we were a non-smoking campus. A friend of hers who was proud of her had originally told me of the moment, something which this girl readily acknowledged she had done but which she also felt was no big deal. From my perspective, of course, finding the courage at the age of 12 to go up to an unfamiliar adult and let them know they are breaking school rules is a big deal. The right thing to do, absolutely. But easy?

Filed Under: Middle School, gender, All-Girls, The Girls School Advantage, On Education, Bill Ivey, Gay-Straight Alliance, community, Acceptance, diversity, Feminism, In the Classroom, Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School, Malala Yousafzai, girls' school, racism, Education

Truth to Power

October 11, 2012 by Bill Ivey

Gender is the fundamental construct for how a society understands difference.
- Women Under Siege

Filed Under: gender, The Girls School Advantage, On Education, International Day of the Girl, gender wage gap, Girls Schools, All Girls Education, Feminism, In the Classroom, Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School, The Faculty Perspective, Uniquely Stoneleigh-Burnham School