To help encourage conversations and dialogue about Dr. King’s work and commitment to service, our question for this week is: What is one action you can/will make to ‘serve’ and help others? Service for Others (Week of 1/17/21) (This is an anonymous Google Form)
Blake's Guiding Lights
Blake's Core Values: Respect, Responsibility, Resourcefulness, Reflection
Our Essential Question: How can we cultivate and curate the progression of student learning and growth?
Our Mission: Blake Middle School believes in a living mission statement, based on the concept that our community seeks and respects knowledge, integrity, character, wisdom, and the willingness to adapt to a continually evolving world.
The most important attitude that can be formed is that of desire to go on learning. - John Dewey
You cannot teach today the same way you did yesterday to prepare students for tomorrow. - John Dewey
This weekend I made a commitment to myself to practice (as best as I can!) our no homework weekend, making room to be present and ‘unplug’. This is always a challenge for me, as I look to make room for myself while also (as shared with staff via e-mail Friday afternoon) trying to honor the need to support others in the transition to synchronous learning this week. It was lovely to have the rain get ‘out of the way’ on Saturday morning, as we took time for walks and being outside as much as we could. I certainly missed waking up early on MLK, Jr. Day for our #dayofservice at Blake and look forward to the days when we can re-implement that tradition. Special thanks to Cynthia for her commitment, passion, and leadership as she worked to still facilitate a successful Blood Drive with the support and participation of our students.
Hospital staff serenade Joanne Rogers, wife of Fred Rogers
This brief clip is worth watching - it shows the welcome Mrs. Rogers received when visiting a hospital that was honoring World Kindness Day - shared in a ‘small gesture’ of remembrance of Joanne’s commitment to others throughout her life.
MLK Day Legacy: Ruby Bridges
Civil rights leader Ruby Bridges remembers integrating the New Orleans school system in 1960 and the lessons of racial justice that her teacher and Dr. King taught. She urges Americans to honor Dr. King's legacy of service by volunteering on MLK Day.
MLK Day Legacy
This clip prefaces some of the same footage as the clip above, but includes excerpts from one of Dr. King’s speeches.
Reflections on a Dream Deferred
by John Lewis in Teaching Tolerance
Written in 2008, this is a reflection by the late Representative John Lewis - ‘a look at the legacy of Dr. King’s ideals’ - and includes references and quotes from a speech by Dr. King in 1967.
Violence is accepted by too many in our society today as a means to silence opposition and difference. A culture of violence has sprung up among us that is gnawing at the soul of our society, a culture which justifies brutality, torture and cruelty.
"A true revolution of values," he continued, "will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. … A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth … and say, ‘This is not just.' … A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war, ‘This way of settling differences is not just.' … True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring."
Democracy is not a state. It is not some high plateau that we struggle to reach so we can finally settle down to rest. Democracy is an act. It is an act that requires participation, organization and dedication to the highest principles. It is an act, and a series of actions that require us to continuously verify our commitment to civil rights and social justice at every challenge. Above all, Martin Luther King, Jr. led by example and demonstrated this devotion with his life and his sacrifice. "Some of us who have already begun to break the silence of night," he said, "have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak."
In the final analysis, we cannot deny that 40 years later, the dream of Martin Luther King, Jr. still has not been realized. We still have not reached the Promised Land that he described the night before he was killed in Memphis, Tenn. Are we closer to building the Beloved Community? Are we closer to building a society based on simple justice that values the dignity and the worth of every human being? Yes, we are closer, but we still have a great distance we must travel before we build a Beloved Community, a nation and a world society at peace with itself.
One of my favorite parts of the week is reading the responses to our weekly question as they offer a window into the thoughts of our students, staff, and community. As with all relevant and pertinent questions, not all answers align with one another and can certainly feel like criticism at times; however, each one is important as they help us to better understand one another and listen/understand what is on our collective minds...
Sampling of Responses from Last Week’s ‘Question of the Week’: Please complete this statement: What are some necessary changes that you hope will take place to improve our schools and learning environments for all of our learners?
- Students and teachers alike have spoken positively about the smaller class sizes created by the two cohorts. Many students have said they feel more comfortable talking and get a chance to share their ideas and have conversations more.
- I hope they will have less time on the screen.
- Start teaching philosophy to kids in middle and high school, with open debates at the end of each session. If our society wants to get rid of religion, it needs to replace it with something else; Woke culture should not be the answer.
- The addition of more variety of phys Ed games
- Not a lot of homework
- Better wifi especially if you want to live stream
- The live-streaming our classes, it’ll definitely make online learning easier for teachers and students (once we work out all the network issues)
- Everything becomes more straightforward.
- No masks and for everyone to be happy
- No synchronous learning; I will be so bored all day and will not work well at all.
- I hope that students will be allowed to leave their lunchboxes in their Advisory classroom to take weight out of their backpack.
Dr. King’s commitment to others is one I hope we continue to instill in our students and one another. The words below are worthy of reflection as they encourage and inspire hope, promise, and action (each year I find myself drawn to certain ‘repeats’ and inspired by others - there is never a scarcity of inspiration from Dr. King - that is for sure!)...
“So even though we face difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream.”
“Find a voice in a whisper.”
“There is no such thing as separate but equal. Separation, segregation, inevitably makes for inequality.”