The Story of Our Democracy

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Dear Families:

Wednesday was a special day, a day that brought back memories of January 20th 2008, a day that reminded us about the power of education and the importance of teaching the story of our democracy. Our students were enthralled, watching the ceremony out in the schoolyard and gathering on Zoom and in brick and mortar classrooms to partake in the experience.

Discussions reflected student knowledge and understanding.   A Zoom meeting in Doug’s kindergarten class demonstrates how much our children know. Avarue Tang said, “He didn’t actually believe in the corona virus.  He thought it was fake,”  while Eva Gluckman, perhaps reflecting on the visible  disagreements of Americans, said, “President Trump is still the president for some countries, it’s just he’s not a president for our country.”  And then there was Hana Lowe’s comment, “Joe Biden is really nice.  He wears masks really good, he is going to give us a vaccine so we can see our friends and we can go to school every day and no zoom zoom zoom,  we can do sleepovers and playdates too.”

Bill’s first grade class wrote letters to President Biden.  Consider Robinson Phillip’s:

Andrew’s second grade crew had the inauguration playing in the background while they were doing science.  Atticus Kalin stopped working and watched a bit, remarking, “I can’t really believe I’m here to see this.”  Meanwhile in Jennifer P’s second grade crew, Ariana Balcazar, while watching Kamala Harris being sworn in, exclaimed, “Now a girl can be President!”

Amanda Gorman’s poem did not go unnoticed.  Alex and Nancy’s class focused on this line from the poem:

 “It’s because being American is more than a pride we inherit.  It’s the past we step into and how we repair it.”

Here’s what some of their kids had to say: 

Vincent Caiola: “I think she’s saying that if something bad happens in the past, and you don’t do something good to make it up to the people or the person, then you’re not repairing it. If you push your friend off a swing and say, ‘Can we be friends now again?’ you won’t repair it. But if you wanna repair it in a different way, you can say, ‘I’m sorry.’”

Imma Houston– “She’s talking about 2020, because he [Donald Trump] made a lot of bad choices that somebody else has to clean up.”

Levi Ferreira- “I think that it means that when they say, ‘How will we repair it?’ I think racism has been happening a lot in the past so we have to fix it and repair it so everybody’s equal.”

Anika Haeberle– “The slavery past.”

This conversation was one of many conversations BNS students have been having about race and racism in America.

Amanda Gorman went to a progressive school throughout her pre Harvard years.  In an interview found online, she speaks fondly about those K- 12 years, saying, “The way in which they looked at your accomplishments in class was a bit different.  They look at if you are creating meaning, if you are knowing, if you are doing.”  Amanda also talks about her special needs,  “We had some learning difficulties and challenges so my mom wanted to make sure that we went to a school that valued different types of intelligences, that didn’t instantly categorize a student as non-genius.”   What an inspiration!

Remember the power of conversation.  Talk to your children about what is going on in the world.  They are listening and they are paying attention.  They are thinking deeply and making meaning.  And they are ready for the change the future will bring. 

All for now,

Anna, Diane and Malika


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