Over the past five years, Turning Point has applied the lenses of equity, inclusion, and antiracism to approach teaching and learning, to guide our relationships with each other and our students, and to ensure that our school policies address systems that underlie inequities. I am thrilled to announce that we have synthesized and codified all this important work into a new webpage and accompanying PDF, Our Commitment to Equity, which I invite you to explore at the link below.
Our mission: We open our doors every day to create a dynamic learning community in which each child grows into their best self. This mission provides purpose and intentionality: we are committed to fostering the development of each child, every day so that they may thrive as citizens of a complex and interconnected world. Students learn that the gateway to personal fulfillment is inextricably connected to their experiences belonging to a dynamic learning community during their time at Turning Point School.
On this twentieth anniversary of 9/11, our children need to know that our community's commitment to justice is steadfast, because we owe it to them to help build a better world. Education is the key to combating stereotypes and building community across differences. As such, we have developed age-appropriate lessons to mark this 20th anniversary and to model hope and create dialogue. Please ask your child’s teacher for more information if you are curious.
One constant, no matter the year, is our children’s excitement to return to school, to get to know their new teachers, to connect with friends, and to re-establish routines. Whether in preschool or middle school—or somewhere in between—inhabiting a world separate from home provides our children with rich fodder for the development of their identities and esteem.
There is comfort amid uncertainty when our purpose remains unchanged. We become less “thrown” by the rollercoaster of uncontrollable circumstances when we focus on what drives our values, our joy, and our motivation. I saw this in the actions of our students this morning, as I watched them laugh, play, and connect with each other and with their teachers during Back-to-School Camp. While every child is certainly nuanced and different, overall they want to feel joyful, connected, safe, loving, and loved.
This past year has provided myriad challenges and has revealed innumerable gaps in my knowledge about the world. This was the year we had to shift from believing the world should show up a particular way to understanding—often painfully—that the world just shows up. We don’t get to choose our crises, but we can decide how to respond. This awareness has redoubled my commitment to educating the next generation and has clarified my calling as an educational leader.
Today, with the jury reaching a guilty verdict in the Derek Chauvin case, we saw some movement toward accountability. While there is certainly a palpable sense of relief in the air, one verdict does not signal systemic change. It signals a tentative step toward justice.
When we approach a horrific mass murder as an isolated, individual act, we dehumanize the victims and invite more such atrocities. When we accept the perpetrator’s definition of his unforgivable actions as “not a hate crime,” we normalize his behavior and dishonor the truth. If we consider how seldom we, as a culture, talk about racism against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, it’s not surprising that we have become complicit in the gaslighting that has occurred. These community members’ fear in the face of increased harassment and violence deserves to be acknowledged and must be addressed with action.
Like many of you, I woke up yesterday feeling such joy in hearing that Reverend Raphael Warnock became Georgia’s first Black Senator and the first Black Senator from the Deep South. This was in stark contrast to how the day ended, after the violent riots and civil unrest in Washington, DC. These unconscionable acts left me with sadness, disbelief, confusion, and grief during what should have been the next phase in a peaceful transfer of power.
There is much work to be done when it comes to achieving racial justice, defending democracy, and ensuring equity--and our children will inherit what is left of the challenges we cannot resolve. We owe it to them to amplify our own commitments to these priorities. I feel re-energized to continue my efforts toward social change as one person among the multitudes working to “bend the arc of the moral universe more towards justice,” in the metaphor first envisioned by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and referenced by President-Elect Biden.