Message from Mirko Chardin: January 7, 2021

Message from Mirko Chardin: January 7, 2021
Posted on 01/07/2021
Dear Putnam Ave. Students and Families,

I have been watching the events unfold at the Capitol and am appalled, disheartened, and working to make sense of the violence, blatant racism, and injustice -- and, unfortunately, this is not the message I thought I’d be sharing with you during our first week back. However, today will be a day filled with a wide range of emotions for all of us -- staff, students, families. Some will feel anger and frustration; others might be anxious, while some may not feel anything. Please remember that not everyone will know how to best handle all of the emotions and the additional tension that might be present. And, I urge you to extend yourself, our students, and one another extra grace as we navigate these turbulent times.

It is our job to ensure that, if students have questions, we answer them with facts and acknowledge their emotions. It is also important for you to know that we are prepared for a variety of student reactions and needs and that we are making space and providing opportunities for students to share their feelings. In order to support our students, we are working as a community to:

1. Re-establish the values of our inclusive classrooms,
2. Reflect on our identities, positionality, and feelings,
3. Reaffirm our responsibility to engage in these issues,
4. Have plans in place if students need support, and
5. Understand why this matters (from: Teaching Tolerance).

I also know that you may be looking for resources to help you navigate these conversations with your children as well. Here are several that we shared with staff:

Resources for Teachers on the Day after the Attack on the Capitol
Responding to the Insurrection on the U.S. Capitol (Facing History)
Tomorrow is Not Simply Another Day at School
Having Hard Conversations with Students (pulled together by the 8th grade team!)
When Bad Things are Happening
Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers (National Association of School Psychologists)
Showing Up Strong for Yourself and Your Students in the Aftermath of Violence
Talking with Children After an Act of Terrorism
Talking with Teens about Traumatic Events

Please know that if you are experiencing difficulty during this time, we are here to help. At any time you can reach out confidentially to our counselors or family liaison (Kunjal Shah, 857-270-3365) for assistance if you need help connecting or navigating resources.

Today and this week, in particular, I urge you to prioritize self-care and balance as we navigate the stress of violence, racism, the global pandemic, and our own personal obstacles. Audre Lorde reminds us, “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” Make sure that you do what is necessary to take care of yourself and your family.

Sincerely,
Mirko Chardin
Founding Head of School
Putnam Ave. Upper School

P.S. Please make sure to see all of the amazing things that students are learning during January, click HERE.
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