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.
We generally go through life with predictable routines and familiar expectations as our default version of reality. We work hard to hold on to the familiar and generally succeed. But at some point or another, we are thrust out of this comfortable place and life as we know it drastically changes. When this happens, we feel groundless, unanchored. It can feel terrifying, but it can also create spaces for wisdom, for new ways of looking at the world unburdened by the ways in which we have previously interpreted it.
This last week has certainly changed the way we live our lives, and it is natural to have mixed feelings about the chaos that swirls around us and the lightening-speed alterations we have made to our natural rhythms. For many, anxiety, fear, and resentment predominate—but we can find hope, joy, and meaning in this crisis if we choose to look.
If we, as adults, are feeling a bit inundated by the swiftly changing influx of information related to COVID-19, certainly our children are also picking up on the news. Children are perceptive. Younger children may not be privy to details, yet when they see upset parents, they nonetheless pick up on general feelings of concern. Older children who do understand what they hear on the news are likely discussing this with each other as a way of processing. And while adults have the wisdom and experience to filter the news for importance and accuracy, our children are still learning these skills, so may be more susceptible to feeling fear or repeating inaccuracies.
Caring for vulnerable people (and make no mistake: we are all vulnerable) is the ultimate act of kindness, and it can serve as a model for our ethics and our politics, if we will let it. People loved Kobe because he cared. And I have seen proof of this around campus this week—students of all ages wearing their Bryant jerseys, the #24 sketched carefully in notebooks and folders, conversations on the field during recess, and in the incredibly touching memorial our Middle School students organized last Friday. We need more sources of cohesion, in our culture and our communities, that stitch us together across fractured lines of disagreement.
We want our students to use their education and agency to create organizations with purpose, to see relationships as opportunities to contribute and collaborate, and to give away knowledge and expertise freely. We want them to view success not merely as an individual race to the finish line, but as an opportunity to be part of something greater than any one person can achieve alone. We want them to leave the world in better shape than they found it.
An important purpose of school is to help children become independent—and interdependent—adults, which involves creating distance between one’s self and one’s caregivers. At Turning Point we are careful to balance the supervision of students with opportunities for them to practice these skills. This means we must relinquish our own control to some degree and allow students to work things out for themselves before jumping in.
As you rush around this week to prepare for the holidays, you may be feeling overwhelmed by all the obligations, real and imagined. This time of year can put an undue burden on us to have fun, to please our children and extended family, and to overconsume when perhaps we just want to maintain equilibrium. Here are a few things you can do to keep your holidays positive and balanced.
As human beings, we are comforted by the familiar, so it is not unusual that we turn inward or silent when we see hate, especially when it seeps out of the cracks and crevices and becomes almost part of the daily vernacular. But we absolutely must remember that the wonderful diversity in our ecosystem and among people throughout the world is what is responsible for the innovations and evolutionary successes that make our world rich and awe-inspiring.