Greet­ings From Waverly

July 18, 2023

Waverly Commu­nity Members,

I hope you are all enjoy­ing some much needed rest and time with your fami­lies and friends. I also hope you’re taking time to learn new skills and hobbies or devel­op­ing inter­ests that give you joy. I hope students are also getting lots of sleep and know that parents and guardians are doing their best to do the same.

As I read about what’s happen­ing in the United States I want to reaf­firm and explic­itly state that Waverly remains a school commit­ted to social justice educa­tion. This means support­ing and affirm­ing the most margin­al­ized members of the commu­nity, devel­op­ing programs to meet every members’ needs and helping students develop the skills to change our world for the better­ment of all. This goes beyond diver­sity and multi­cul­tur­al­ism and means that we help students under­stand their expe­ri­ences and the expe­ri­ences of others while helping them fight for what they believe is right.

This is espe­cially impor­tant as we head into this polit­i­cal season which will inevitably ignite debates and moments of anxiety and fear. We know that chil­dren have to be taught about polit­i­cal perspec­tives which can lead to disagree­ment and discord. We can do this with patience and empathy for all commu­nity members as we recog­nize that students are still doing the hard work of devel­op­ing their own beliefs. We want to partner with parents and students to strengthen student voices. It’s not for the teach­ers to tell students what to believe nor is it for the school to teach a set of beliefs that repre­sent a partic­u­lar family. Patience, empathy, and compas­sion are essen­tial for success.

A few key prac­tices that will help us along the way: 

  • Parents should explic­itly express their respec­tive values to their chil­dren and know that other parents have other values. 
  • We encour­age parents to attend parent educa­tion sessions that talk about the school’s approach and perspectives. 
  • We encour­age parents to listen to their students’ thoughts and concerns about poli­tics, social rela­tion­ships and iden­ti­ties that come up at school. 
  • Remind students that the feel­ings, back­grounds, and expe­ri­ences of other students really matter and should be held in conjunc­tion with estab­lished facts and personal opinions. 

Supreme Court deci­sions this summer already require that we prac­tice these skills. Students For Fair Admis­sions, Inc v. Pres­i­dent and Fellows of Harvard College, 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis, and Arizona v. Navajo Nation high­lighted the need for insti­tu­tions to more readily support move­ments for equity and justice. I’m attach­ing a couple arti­cles that are worth reading and will share more in the future. A couple are written by high school and college students that address the issues on their terms. We should remem­ber to under­stand what youth are going through if we aim to fully support them. This is a long process that should help our students feel safe and empow­ered.

I’m In High School. I hope Affir­ma­tive Action is Rejected and Replaced with Some­thing Stronger by Sophia Lam (high school student)

The Supreme Court Affir­ma­tive Action Ruling Harms Black UNC Students Like Me by Rotimi Kukoyi (college student)

Waverly remains commit­ted to treat­ing indi­vid­u­als with dignity and provid­ing an envi­ron­ment where all members of the commu­nity can engage in dialogue, ques­tion, learn, and contribute fully.” I look forward to being in discus­sion with you about these issues and to spend­ing time support­ing our students in the coming year. Until then, stay safe, cool and hydrated.

In community, 

Clarke Weath­er­spoon
Head of School