Message from Chad Leith: January 17, 2020

Dear Members of the Morse School Community,

science projectJanuary is off to a busy start at the Morse School, with students engaging in a range of exciting projects. Last week, as a culminating project for their science unit on extreme weather, our 3rd graders built structures designed to withstand different types of natural disasters. Our young engineers were successful at building structures that held up under simulated conditions that included floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, thunderstorms (with hail), and blizzards (see photo on right)! Students had to explain the strategies they developed to make their structures resilient to the elements. Please keep your eyes out for an exhibit on our 3rd graders’ projects, which we will soon have mounted in the display case in our main lobby!

Advancing Our Equity Work in 2020
The Morse School is among many schools in the district that are actively engaging in work aimed at understanding and addressing the impact of racism on our students and families. We are hoping to accelerate this important work while also offering the members of our community different ways of getting involved in the conversation. Yesterday afternoon, the Morse Race & Equity Working Group held its first meeting of 2020. We were joined by Khari Milner, Co-Director of the Cambridge Agenda for Children, who played a key role in the Building Equity Bridges Project. Khari shared updates on steps being taken at the district level to foster anti-racist schools and anti-racist educators. He also offered advice on strategies we might take to include the voices of Morse School students into our ongoing conversations on issues related to race and racism. We want to hear your voice in this process as well. In next week’s newsletter, I will share an expanded list of meeting dates for the winter and spring, along with more information about the work we are doing and how you can get involved. In the meantime, I encourage you to tune in or participate in one or both of the following events:

Tomorrow, Saturday, January 18th at 1PM, Dr. Robin DiAngelo, author of the New York Times bestseller, White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People To Talk About Racism, will speak at the Kresge Auditorium at M.I.T. in an event sponsored by the Cambridge Public Library. Please click here for more information about the event. Please click here to live stream the event. 

On Thursday, January 30th from 6-8PM, Cambridge Street Upper School will re-launch its Diversity Dialogues series, with a special appearance by Dr. Sarah Fiarman, co-author of Unconscious Bias in Schools (see the attached flyer). This book, summarized here in an article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, has helped to inform the way that we are approaching our equity work at the Morse School. Dinner will start at 6 followed by an interactive workshop discussion. So that the CSUS team may adequately prepare for dinner and child care needs, they ask that you send RSVPs to confirm attendance by January 24 via this link

Save the Date for Upcoming Community Events!
Here are a few upcoming community events to put on your calendar:

  • Next Friday, January 24th all Morse School families are invited to join us for our first-ever Morse Family Gym night (6-8PM)! Our P.E. teacher Mr. Fousek sent an information flyer and sign-up sheet home in your child’s backpack yesterday. All children MUST be supervised by a parent or caregiver who is also attending the event. Please be sure to submit your sign-in sheet by Tuesday!
  • On Tuesday, February 11th at 9AM we will hold our Winter Choral Performance. All JK-5 classrooms will participate and all Morse Families are families are welcome.
Finally, I will be honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. this weekend by making my very first visit to the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC. I hope to bring back some ideas and resources that we can use here at the Morse School. Please consider honoring Dr. King’s legacy by taking a few minutes this holiday weekend to talk with your children about his life and contributions.

Thank you and my very best wishes for a wonderful long weekend. We look forward to seeing you back on Tuesday, January 21st!


Chad Leith
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