Here we are, at the end of another year. As human beings, community members, parents, teachers, friends, mentors, donors, supporters, prospective parents, grandparents and kids. All of the identities. We have a lot to share, and believe it or not, this email is only about half as long as it originally was. I'm told good things come to those who wait...(The verdict is still out on that.)
What I do know is, MOS parents are a pretty fun bunch to be around. Almost as fun as their kids.
We've had some beautiful events in the past few months. A very successful Gratitude Gathering where we marched Kirkwood in solidarity with Indigenous People who were and are native to this land we're on. We ended that celebration with breaking bread potluck style after the kids arrived back.
Children then convened and sang "Thank You For Your Blessings" and then shared open mic style things they're grateful for.
We attended the Muscogee Stomp Dance in October and had a wonderful outpouring of support thanks to Michelle and Sasha. It was beautiful to see how connected kids were, and many of our kids volunteered to participate in the dances when asked to join.
We had a lovely Adult Crafting evening session where parents and teachers came together to make "stuff" for the holiday market to sell. Thanks to all who were able to come.
Pavol finished up our kids awesome Earth based structure with wood planks, stumps and a climbing wall. We've used the outdoor stage Jenna and community members built extensively, it's become an extension of our school.
We’re growing. We’re growing because the established way of schooling hasn’t worked for the majority of kids, and we’ve decided to do something differently. Collectively.
Growth means a lot to me, but mostly it means change. I’ve come to learn that kids don’t love change. But when things do have to change, they look to the grownups to show them that change can be worth it. They look to us as anchors. But change is inevitable. We changed last year when we moved from an old bike shop to a bungalow and the bungalow has been good to us and we’re outgrowing it. The kids are getting bigger and we have to make tough decisions.
We also have to think about who we are, what we stand for and what we want. Our board, faculty and subcommittees have been busy developing these core values and building out our longer term strategic development plan. In conversations, I've recognized, too, that I've changed. Leadership requires a lot of reflection and with reflection and feedback sometimes comes some painful truths and a lot of compromise and shifting sand. Sometimes, I feel like this school has felt like a piece of art I made. (If I could actually do art) Regardless, it doesn't belong to just me anymore. It belongs to the collective. And as every kid can tell you...Sometimes it can be hard to share. But as we always tell them...sharing is absolutely necessary. I am grateful.
Our word (or phrase) of the week this week was Movement Building, and last week it was Racial Capitalism. Kids are getting an understanding of the mechanics of our world and it’s critical in order for them to be informed people.
And. We can't just teach kids what these words are, we have to live them. If we want to be a lab school spearheading an educational reform Movement, our neighborhood needs to reflect our vision and where we hope to be 100 years from now. We’re not absolutely sure where in Atlanta that will be yet, but we recognize that in order to be viable and forward thinking we have to look outside of the bungalow. We have to look to middle school. Our Activists are getting older and our goal was always to follow them. Our Allies are growing too. So are our Adventurers.While we have a sale agreement set for March for the bungalow on Rogers, we'll instead extend the lease to have more time to carefully consider all options in an increasingly volatile market.
There's much much more to come, and decisions to be had, but we'll share that as things develop and the Board and subcommittees have had more time to discuss and iron some things out. Today, we enjoyed the last day of school for 2021!
The illustrious Mirka will be phasing out of aftercare and we are actively hiring for that role. We are so appreciative of everything that family has given, and are confident we’ll select the right person to be in her stead. We have some wonderful candidates.
Frankie Q, who has been leading our Afro Caribbean percussion series, has moved on to touring and playing music around the world. We are grateful for his time and sharing his music with us. We are actively pursuing another music teacher, or program.
Alice, our art teacher, has also moved on to other things in her career, and we’re so grateful for the time she’s volunteered to allow our kids the opportunity to explore art and culture. Keiran, especially, has appreciated the amount of time he's spent working with a master art teacher. We're interviewing amazing candidates for our art program for next trimester.
Inter Atlanta will continue to serve as PE and we're exploring options to have kids who love soccer being able to use the field to stretch their legs during certain days at recess.
Marco Shaw and his organization Defend Southern Food Foundation, a program founded by Red Beard Restaurant will continue to provide us amazing locally sourced ethical food and we’ll continue to tweak that program as we move along.
Emergent Testing will continue weekly testing and providing boosters and vaccinations for the entirety of our community.
Fundraising for October and November:
The Bean and Bug Fund donated $50,000
The Dobbs Foundation recently donated $17,500
Alanna Stone For Justice and Equity Fund donated another $15,000, with 5,000 specifically allocated for kids with required additional supports in math and reading.
In the last 12 months, we have raised $200,000 in philanthropic donations.
Thank you all so much for your unsolicited contributions. We are so incredibly grateful and humbled by your support. It shows that you have a great deal of faith not only in me and all of us here, but in the mission and vision of what we're hoping to accomplish in education. Not just for us, but for every child.
End of Year Events:
Activists field trip to Six Flags! Peace Prep Academy generously offered their bus for us to borrow, and Teddy and Ellis's mom, Nicola dropped the rest of the volunteer adults off. I drove a bus! We had so much fun.
We had a coat drive and holiday market table at the The Abby Singer where we sold the decorations and creations the community has been making.
Thank you all for making this epic journey with us. In whatever capacity you have or hope to join us.