Our first meeting of the school year was held at The Miquon School. We had a good turnout with representatives from United Friends School, St. Peter’s School, Community Partnership School, Gladwyne Montessori, New Horizons Montessori, and Villanova Academy for Honor Studies. We want to thank all participants for a rich and provocative discussion.
Here are some notes from our meeting:
Discussion of Teaching to Transgress by bell hooks raised a number of questions:
-What is safety? Is safety at our schools actually safe for everyone?
-What does diversity mean at our school now? What do we want it to mean? Are definitions different among educators? Parents?
-Reminded of the importance to move beyond the comfort achieved last year and encouraging others to move beyond what they’ve done so far
-Feeling tension with co-workers; trying to meet diversity criteria but not knowing if where they “are” is the right space for pushing change
-Importance of accepting people where they are
-Valued hooks’ inspiration from Thich Nhat Hahn: take a whole person point of view, don’t deny the spiritual self
-Forge new relationships out of tense moments; ask questions to learn more and reach understanding
We discussed what we’d like to get out of our work together as a collaborative and raised more questions. We will bring anecdotes, ideas, and resources related to these questions to the next meeting in January.
-What does a safe school look and feel like?
-What is diversity in your school?
-If you’ve had a difficult conversation, how did you work through it? What were the next steps?
-What do we do for children and families when our schools don’t seem diverse?
-How do we give students information to make lasting change?
-Where do we recognize our own biases? What is the “sub-curriculum” in our own work? In the school culture?
-What whole school initiatives are in place at your school?
-How does your school address holidays? Special designation months? Are they addressed at all and if not, why?