'School is Real Life' with Principal Ana Fox Chaney

Bringing real life into school and school into real life is one of the most meaningful and recognizeable features of our progressive mission. Teachers are constantly at work findng ways to bring students out into the world and to bring real problems, real issues, real endeavors into the classroom. This comes from a deep respect for the industry and intellect of our middle schoolers. We believe that the best way to engage and inspire middle schoolers, and the best way to help them develop into decent, thoughtful adults, is to give them tasks that are not an imitation of life, but are life. Here are a few examples from around the division this week. 
On Monday morning, advisors led their homerooms in discussions of the Womens March and of the government shutdown. In the seventh grade, one homeroom shared memories and experiences of the march and, because the march was not limited to women's issues, they discussed the term "intersectionality." In the other homeroom, students researched and shared their understanding of DACA. 
The sixth graders are several weeks into their guild project. The guilds have taken a series of field trips, arranged by librarian Jennifer Hubert Swan, to the Hudson Park Library. There they were able to expand their scope as researchers beyond the classroom and experience navigating the public library.

The fifth graders' original compositions were performed by professional musicians - the Metropolis Ensemble - yesterday at the Performing Arts Center at Charlton Street. This annual collaboration, conceived and organized by music teacher Matt McLean, gives students the opportunity to see the artistic process through to completion as real adult artists do. Melodies started as just an idea, moved onto the page, then into the hands of musicians and the ears of a full audience. It's a powerful instance of creation for them. 
During Big Time yesterday, the eighth graders heard directly from the author of their most recent book, Brendan Kiely, one of two authors of the book All American Boys (with Jayson Reynolds). The novel, told through the perspectives of high school classmates, Rashad, who’s Black, and Quinn, who’s white, deals with themes of racism, white privilege, power, police brutality, being a bystander and engaging activism. Brendan spoke to the eighth graders about being a white ally, the importance of listening to (and believing) his black friends, and about the work and struggles of being a professional writer.
These were exciting opportunities but not unusual ones for your childen. A central element of their time at LREI has been and will be moments like this: learning by making, going out, and bringing the world in.

Ana Fox Chaney,
Middle School Principal