Happy New Year!

Posted by Greg Chalfin on 1/8/2019

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a relaxing, rejuvenating winter break, and 2019 is off to an amazing start! The middle school faculty and I are so excited to be back working with your children and look forward to an incredible second half of the school year! Faculty returned to Stanley yesterday for a professional development day, working with each other to prepare for amazing classes with your children.

 

I’m writing to let you know of a couple of opportunities that will be coming up for your children in the coming weeks. We’re hitting the ground running here in the middle school and look forward to diving right back into a slew of wonderful learning opportunities both in and out of the classroom for your children.

 

First, as discussed before Winter Break, your children will be working with a facilitator from Freedom from Chemical Dependency (FCD) beginning next week. Students will learn more about this organization and their work in assembly tomorrow, and please reference Stephanie Bender’s letter for more specific information about the curriculum itself. Eighth grade students will work with a facilitator each day during one of their classes from Monday, January 14th through Thursday, January 17th. Sixth and seventh grade students will meet with facilitators once or twice, respectively, in their class during the course of the week. Additionally, please mark your calendar for our Parent Evening with FCD from 7-8 pm on Tuesday, January 15th in the Pub.

 

Additionally, next week will be a busy one with FCD on campus and with our annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day assembly on Friday, January 18th. The assembly will be running from 8:30-9:40 am in the gym, and we will be having Jeremy Vasquez, an activist, artist and educator from California here to speak with and work with the students. Jeremy visited our middle school community right after Thanksgiving Break during an assembly, and he shared some of his powerful poetry and personal journey with our students. The kids loved learning from him, and we look forward to having him return.

 

In conjunction with Jeremy’s visit and the upcoming honoring of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday and legacy, the middle school will be beginning an affinity group for students who self-identify as students of color next week. P.E. teacher Donna Meallet will be facilitating this group monthly at lunch, and students will learn more from Donna about SOCA, the Students of Color affinity group, during an assembly on Monday, January 14th. For students who do not self-identify as Students of Color who wish to participate in learning about being an ally in diversity work, they will have an opportunity to do so with Stephanie Bender. Neither opportunity is required for any student, but these spaces are important places for students who seek to have a place to explore their own identity.

 

I am grateful and excited that Stanley’s mission supports this work in valuing diversity and individuality. As Stanley’s mission writes, “We develop in children an understanding of similarities and differences in people and the ability to make socially responsible decisions.” In alignment with the Gender and Sexuality Alliance started by Grace Reilly and Angelina Nicol in the first semester, affinity groups offer an opportunity for students to learn, grow, affirm their own identity, and feel empowered both individually and as a group for who they are and what they believe. Through this open dialogue and meaningful conversations, we believe that this will help fulfill Stanley’s mission for students “to know themselves – their strengths, challenges, learning style, culture and interests.” I am excited for the wonderful growth happening within our community for our students and our staff.

 

On another note, if you haven’t already, please do mark your calendars for the afternoon of Wednesday, January 23rd, which is our next Middle School Cave Show. The show will begin right after lunch at 1:15, and students will begin signing up in the coming days. I look forward to seeing everyone showcase their talents in just a couple of weeks! Additionally, another note for your calendar is our next middle school dance on Friday, January 25th at 7 pm.

 

Finally, a quick reminder about Spring Sports sign-ups for those of you who have not yet done so. While Spring Sports do not begin until Monday, February 25th, we need each family to fill out this Google Form as soon as possible. This form was sent before break as well, and if you haven’t yet done so, please do so as soon as possible.

 

One important note, even if your child is not participating in a Spring Sport, please fill out the Google Form, so we can be sure to have accurate numbers for each of our middle school teams. As a reminder, the Middle School sports policy requires that all of our students need to participate in at least one season of athletics. If your child has yet to play a sport this year, they are required to do so this spring.

 

Thank you for all of your support, and best wishes for a great start to 2019! Please don’t hesitate to reach out if there’s anything with which I can help, and I look forward to crossing paths soon. Have a great week!

 

All the best,

Greg