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From Mirko Chardin

On Thursday, November 1st, I was asked by the Massachusetts Department of Secondary and Elementary Education to facilitate a workshop on implicit bias and deliver a keynote address at their Leading with Access and Equity: Innovative Systems and Practices to Support All Students Conference. I had the opportunity to share with an audience of over 700 educators--representing superintendents, cabinet members, principals, and teachers of 95 school districts across the state of Massachusetts --the powerful work that the Putnam Ave. school community is engaged in and committed to.

Nothing brings me more joy than being able to share with colleagues across the state, who are eager to learn with and from the Putnam Ave. community. We are a special place, and that is not just because we say so; others see it, acknowledge it, and are validating that our work is having a tremendous impact--locally and statewide. This does not mean that we are perfect, as we certainly have many things that we are wrestling with how to improve. Similar to any other school, we also have work to do to continue to grow and develop a richer sense of precision with our practice.

In addition, we also need to continue to push ourselves to have more of an impact in and on the lives of our most vulnerable students. However, these moments of acknowledgement show that our work is not going unnoticed by DESE, as well as by schools across the state. Not only do they see and acknowledge our effort and our impact, but they also want to partner with us and learn from us. In January we will be hosting a team of Administrators from the Dartmouth Public Schools who are interested in exploring our practices around equity, student voice, culture and climate. 

I am thankful that I have the privilege of membership in our wonderful school community. I count it an honor that I can proudly say that during the day and age that we live, the Putnam Avenue Upper School community stands for social justice and equity. We are committed to the pursuit of continuous improvement through reflection. I am humbled by how diverse our staff, students, and families are. We, in a very authentic way, reflect the beautiful mosaic that can only exist when individuals--despite differences of race, class, gender, religion, ability and sexual orientation--commit to working together, learning from each other, and walking in common unity with one another.

I am thankful that our core values of passion, pride, and ownership with balance and perseverance are lived and are not just words on our letterhead. I am thankful that:

  • We are committed to showing that our passion is for social justice and the pursuit of academic excellence,
  • We have pride in the richness of all of our identities and the positive impact that we know we will and are having on others,
  • We own our collective school community, love receiving feedback, and will always be committed to reflecting on our potential, practice and performance,
  • We value balance and acknowledge that school is about academic development as well as the exploration of a variety of different interest, including the arts, music, athletics and community service, and
  • We believe that perseverance is not only facing challenges, but overcoming them.

I am thankful that:

  • We are committed to ensuring that more value is placed on the impact of our work in and through the lives of our young scholars and each other than our intentions,
  • Our students and all members of our community can see themselves reflected in our school community through our intentionality in striving to ensure that all are visible, and
  • We are committed to wrestling with explore ways to make the work or school experience as authentically relevant as possible to at all members of our school community.
  • We are a wonderful work in progress, and I am thankful to be a part of such an amazing and progressive community.

--Mirko