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December 9, 2017
Hello Lawrence Families + Caregivers:
I hope this finds you well! I have to admit, I am a little excited to see some snow this weekend. My family and I are going to the Nutcracker and a little snow on the ground will make it all the more festive.
I am writing to update you on a few items, so here goes:
12/13 is early release at 12:40, please plan accordingly
12/14 Meet and Greet for families of the METCO program in the Library 7:30 – 8:30
12/14 our grades 5-8 Chorus will be performing at 7 pm in the Auditorium
12/22 K-5 Community Meeting, hosted by 5G in the big gym
I also wanted to take the opportunity to update you on a few other big picture items that are important and need our attention as a community:
We have had one incident of vaping (jooling) at Lawrence and unfortunately we are not the only school who has dealt with this with our middle school population. I shared this with School Council on Tuesday and they encouraged me to share this with you all – knowledge is power, indeed. I have had to learn about this new trend through google and some articles. I have included a link to an article that I found to be helpful in better understanding what our children are experiencing and exploring. I have also reached out to Tina Bozeman, Director of Physical Education + Health as well as Tricia Laham, Coordinator of School Health Services for the district to get support and insight on the health implications of vaping. I am awaiting a memo from them that some of my Principal colleagues and I will be passing along to you. Consider having a conversation with your child today – this matters. We have increased our vigilance in the hallways and bathrooms and students are signing out if they need to leave the classroom, our teachers have been proactive and had safety at the forefront in all of this – I have been very impressed.
I also want to acknowledge the incidents that we learned about from BHS and I want to reiterate that this is not a BHS issue, this is a challenge for our whole community and we have a responsibility to be courageous and process with each other and our children on how to be aware of our own biases and interrupt racism. The letter that Andrew Bott sent out earlier this week was so pointed and powerful – I got the chills when I initially read it. His message is aligned with mine, and so many others – we have work to do, we cannot stand for this and our schools need to work for ALL students. This was the first thing I discussed at our September School Council meeting; this work is very frontal in my thinking and planning and I am consistently bringing our teachers and staff back to how equity relates to the big picture of teaching and learning. This thinking and push is evident in our most recent school-wide professional development opportunities in which teacher-leaders will be facilitating 6 sessions of professional learning groups (PLG) – 7 of the 9 professional learning groups are directly tied to issues of equity, bias and understanding. Thankfully, our PTO is sponsoring some of the books needed for this important work. Shout out to PTO for your unyielding support.
Here are a few anchor texts that we will be using as part of our PLG sessions:
Also, here are links to some resources to support you in unpacking how to have courageous conversations at home, this is something that I am working on as a parent too. In fact Tuesday evening we had a family discussion about some of the biases our family has recently been faced with (being two moms) and our children were so brave, it was hard, so hard and I could see the sadness in my little boy, but we had to get through it:
I know today’s message from me may be heavy for some and people will process it in different ways. I hope you have chosen to read through all of it and will consider taking action. I wish you all well and am thankful to be here in Brookline, even on my toughest days. Thank you.
In closing, here is a quote that has been a guide for me in the last few weeks. Listen to each other, listening is one of our greatest gifts – to be heard and to hear.
"When we begin listening to each other, and when we talk about things that matter to us, the world begins to change. Everyone has the capacity to be able to figure out how to make a difference. Listening and talking to one another heals our divisions and makes us brave again."
- Margaret Wheatley, Turning to One Another