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.
Head of School