Although yesterday was a day off from school, I hope you took time with your children to reflect on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Our Chapel service last week used the teachings and example of Dr. King to set the stage for our virtue of the month, Respect. This week, we have student programming that reflects the importance of respect for all and asks students to delve into the values in Porter-Gaud's Mission Statement.
This week's Life 101 assembly has been planned in conjunction with our Global Union Student Group. Several faculty and staff members with different life experiences and backgrounds will talk to our students, sharing their personal stories. In working with Middle School students for well over a decade, there are some patterns we see that are typical for this age. Sometimes what makes a student different is viewed with fear or met with teasing and jokes. This is an important time in the character formation of our students to help them see the danger and hurt in such "jokes". By hearing from the faculty and staff with whom they interact on a day-to-day basis, we hope our students overcome the fear of something different and see at the heart of everything, we all have far more in common with each other than we think. Through the widely varied stories of our diverse middle school faculty and staff, our "What's in a Story" assembly will attempt to create some understanding, kindness, and empathy towards others, through other people's successes and their struggles.
During lunch on Wednesday, students will participate in the Teaching Tolerance, Mix it Up Model School program. This program has students grouped randomly during lunchtime and engaging in conversations designed to bring students together. Our faculty and staff will be on hand to participate and facilitate the small group lunch table discussions.
To see us embody the true spirit of our Mission Statement, cultivating kindness and understanding must be an ongoing process. Rather than simply reacting to missteps, our school is working hard to educate our students and strengthen the support and care they offer one another. All of our 8th grade students are currently participating in a Leadership course taught by Middle School Dean Chris Tate. The curriculum, Building Community and Combating Hate, has been developed by the national organization Partners Against Hate. It is a series of lessons developed specifically for middle school aged-students and leads the students through a series of debates, case studies, and frank discussions.
Finally, just as our Digital Citizenship and Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention programs require a parent partnership, we need your help in supporting these conversations. As members of our community, we strive to live out our mission statement. I've copied our Mission Statement below. As always, we welcome your thoughts as we work together.
Porter-Gaud School is an Episcopal, coeducational, independent, college-preparatory day school with a diverse student body.
We acknowledge the sovereignty of God, recognize the worth of the individual, and seek to cultivate a School community that endows its citizens with a foundation of moral and ethical character and intellect.
Porter-Gaud fosters a challenging academic environment that honors excellence in teaching and learning, respects differences, expects honesty, and applauds achievement.
The School strives to create an environment
that nurtures and protects what we value most in our children: their faith, their curiosity, their talents, their integrity, their humanity, and their dreams.