We're nearing the end. The weeks have sped by and no one really knows how it happened so fast. I'm playing a record of cheesy goodbye/graduation songs internally. "Graduation" by whoever sings that terrible song, "Never Ever" by All Saints and "Breakaway", by Kelly Clarkston (for the not returning families) "I Hope You Dance" for everyone. Don't worry, these soundtracks don't often play in my head. Only in the quiet moments for which there aren't many of in my life, luckily. :D
Really, though. What a ride. We started in a shed on Rogers street in August last year at the height of a pandemic that no one knew when the end would be. We brought our hearts, our vulnerabilities and our worries if this was the right decision for our children. We collected water which dripped from the metal roof in glass jars and used the lessons to talk about gravity and weather patterns. We cooked food in instapots for our ARC curriculum and convinced kids that the rodents eating the paper mache elephant were squirrels. They weren't squirrels.
We found a home in October. We fought for that home in the face of some aggressive developers. We're now going to close on that home in March. The school will be ours next year!
I think we can all say that we made the best decision for our children. Kids learned to read, speak some spanish, count, recognize numbers, add, subtract and our older kids learned cursive, grammar, how to structure an essay, give presentations and problem solve with real world math problems. We've had two marches, started a permaculture program, acquired 3 chickens, 3 frogs and we've taken moments to laugh and learn and grow and change.
The most important and valuable asset we've gotten out of this grand experiment has been a gift. Founding families and those who participated in this program at any point during their schools virtual program received the benefits of socialization for their children. Most of the world was home last year. We managed to create a space which protected kids enough to allow for in person school. From the beginning. Let's take a second to absorb that.
No COVID outbreak because of a solid social distance agreement that everyone honored to the best of their ability.
All over the world, people are are still struggling with the pandemic, but in the US, many kids are just beginning their re entry into school. They've missed a year of social cues, navigating playground politics, the requirement of independence from parents, negotiating and navigating the age old concept of finding their place in social structures. COVID has taken so much from us, from our kids. Yet, we are stronger for it. We've drawn our lines in the sand. We recognize that our children have carried the heaviest load in this pandemic.
When I thought about starting this school in May of last year, I wanted to create bridges. I noticed poor black kids on the streets not at school and I read text messages from families who wanted to hire private nannies or tutors for pods of privileged kids. I wondered if there was a way to combine resources to make a space which would benefit everyone. An organic way to share resources and create safe spaces.
We did that.
We all want things to return to some sense of normalcy now. We want our kids to continue the track we have planned for them for our entire adulthood. In some ways, I do too, for my children.
All family circumstances are different, kids needs are different, family dynamics are all different and require different responses. My husband, Luke and I thought long and hard about taking our children out of an established school.
We came to choose The Morgan Oliver School because we recognize that no change has ever happened if we don't act. To continue to support and participate in inherently racist structures of education would be a direct conflict to our moral values. It wasn't one conversation. It wasn't five. It was a great many.
MOS rejects systems of oppression. If there are no options for marginalized children to receive an education without these structures and systems in play we will create a new one. This is the only way to break patterns. We are hopeful that standardized testing, unfair district compositions, corrupt school boards and lack of outside play and archaic ways of managing independent admissions systems without consideration for diversity and inclusion will break. We are hopeful that the families and kids in our school will contribute to this breaking.
Thank you, founding families for what you have helped to create, thank you, new families who dare to believe in something new. We have, and will continue to care for your children as we would our own. And we commit to providing an education which will empower and prepare all of our graduates with the fortitude and bravery to truly establish an equitable model of education and quality of life which all humans deserve. Not just those in certain zip codes.
We hope to spend this week together in joy. The last two weeks of school we'll be playing and preparing for our end of year show and potluck gathering.
I look forward to our journey forwards together.