May 9, 2019

This week has offered me three opportunities to think about the vast and wonderful spectrum of human experience and expression. It also caused me to reflect on how we as a system embrace and honor the myriad permutations of “child” that show up every day for school.

Yesterday, I joined the students at Kent who received the gift of experiencing the “Be an Ally” assembly. “Be an Ally” was designed by two Kent students and presented by them and two others, in partnership with the Anti-Defamation League, supportive parents, and school staff. The presentation was a powerful response to discriminatory graffiti and other hurtful events on campus earlier this year. I admire and honor the courage of these students and those interviewed on screen who made the point that discriminating against others for any reason is wrong.

This morning, I listened to a podcast called Clear + Vivid, which featured author David Flink talking about learning differences. “Eye to Eye” is a program David started 20 years ago to link college-aged students with younger students who both have a diagnosis of ADHD or dyslexia. His book “Thinking Differently” tells of his experience – and that of hundreds of others – growing up with learning differences. David’s message, that we all learn differently, is one that should be taken to heart in the classroom, at work, and at home.

And, finally, this evening I co-presented information on gender awareness with Grant Althouse for parents. Basing our presentation on a model from Gender Spectrum, we explored the three dimensions of gender – biology, expression and identity – and explored how they interact in each individual to create their true self.

My conclusion is that as we work toward creating school environments where every child feels safe, challenged, supported and uplifted, celebrating diversity in all its forms is essential to the well-being of each individual and the community as a whole.

Liz Schott