Old Man Winter

Well, we tried to return from winter break, we really did.

As you know, the frigid temperature, the snow, and now the freezing rain, have really have us off to a slow start to 2018. But that is okay, because we still have a lot happening around campus.

Back in September, I wrote about Crefeld’s participation in the Progressive Education Lab (PEL):

This will also be the first year of Crefeld being a participating school in the Progressive Education Lab (PEL). PEL is a two year fellowship program where four ‘PELlows’ spend their first year traveling to four different schools to learn what it means to be a progressive educator, in three different regions. This winter, Crefeld will greet our first cohort of four fellows when they will spend about 10 weeks in Philadelphia. During the first five weeks, two fellows will be at The Miquon School and two will be at Crefeld. During the second five weeks they will switch placements.

Then, in their second year, one of the four fellows will be at Crefeld full-time for the whole year, while the other three fellows are placed at the other participating schools. We will also receive a new cohort in their first year of the fellowship.

In addition to Miquon, the other schools involved are the Cambridge School in Weston MA, and The Putney School in VT.

Please welcome the Pellows. Ruth Bagley, Arielle Drisko, Matt Linden, and Sarah Nelson arrived in Philadelphia last week (I blame them for the severe weather:)). Ruth and Sarah will be at Crefeld for the first five weeks, while Arielle and Matt will be at Miquon, then they will switch placements. This is an exciting program and Crefeld is thrilled to be part of the training for the next generation of progressive educators. You can find out more about the program and the Pellows here: http://progressiveeducationlab.org

Also, we are gearing up for the Winter Performance. However, because of Old Man Winter (or the Pellows, still to be determined), we are going to push the performance back a week until January 25.

The last thing that I'll mention about is that Crefeld will again be presenting its amazing Graduation by Exhibition program to a national audience. This next presentation with be right here in Philadelphia at a national conference EduCon, hosted by Science Leadership Academy (SLA).

Words Are Powerful

Every year there are incidents at school where someone does or says something hurtful, even oppressive, to another person. Words are powerful. They have a deep impact. They can be violent, even if that was not the clear intention of the person saying them. These kinds of mistakes can be very painful -- certainly for the person receiving them, but for the larger community and even for the person who said them.

While hurtful language does impact all of us, there are certain groups of people that are more immediately - or more frequently - targeted and impacted. These groups have had to endure many incidents of hostility.  In our society right now, there are many examples of oppressive, violent and hurtful things going on. It seems that recently more people feel emboldened to say and do things that are destructive. Even if they are said in jest, they are still powerful and destructive. We want our community to be a place where such behavior is not accepted. We are a community that unquestionably takes a stand against racism, sexism, homophobia, and all oppression. We work to hold people accountable.

That said, there is more that goes into building and maintaining a healthy community than just punishing someone who has done something wrong. Often, in the larger culture, we “throw away” people who have done bad things, or who have made bad mistakes. At Crefeld, we are striving to create a culture where people can recover from making mistakes, where they can learn and be allowed to grow and change, within our community.

I want to assure you that we hold people accountable to their actions, and I am also asking you to follow our lead while we help people learn from their mistakes and return to being upstanding members of our community. These challenging issues will be part of some ongoing conversations in advisories and our larger community.