I remember clearly when President Clinton appointed Justice Ginsburg to the Supreme Court, as I was just beginning my doctoral studies. While she was not the first female Supreme Court Justice, her ascension represented the breaking of a glass ceiling (I also naively imagined by the time I’d finish my Ph.D., the challenges women face juggling work and family would be ironed out!). But despite coming to terms with the too-slow rate of positive change, I did find myself inspired by and replicating some of her virtues: hard work, a life partner who would support my ambition and not be threatened by my success, and a commitment to mentorship and to service.
Last week, Turning Point teachers and staff were fortunate to enjoy a valuable day of professional growth as we set aside time to explore best practices in preschool-8 education. As an independent school, we firmly believe that teachers remain relevant only when they continue learning, and this year’s workshops and roundtables focused on themes we have identified as being important for student learning, well-being, and motivation.
Creating a school culture where we all understand and embrace differences is ongoing work which requires us to first see and acknowledge difference. When we nullify differences in favor of likenesses, the “likeness” is often anchored in culturally dominant norms. This invites “color blindness,” a well-meaning gesture that attempts to find commonality among different groups but instead can further divide us through its use of a single lens. It is crucial that as adults we develop the self-awareness and humility necessary to have courageous conversations with our children about differences and diversity.
The overwhelming state of climate change can shut us down in denial or despair, but we must find the courage to educate ourselves and our children about it, take action and inspire our children to take action, and support initiatives that will slow down or reverse the damage to our planet that is occurring with increased speed as each year passes.
Discipline rooted in "learning" can help children find a positive sense of independence and identity. At Turning Point, we connect our Primary Montessori roots through the Elementary and Middle School years in order to honor each child’s individual path and nurture her/his sense of self-respect and responsibility. This holistic approach requires continual modeling, explicit teaching, and tireless encouragement of a growth mindset as children grow and develop within a community they hold dear.