Word on the Street - CSCS Blog Posts
Connection, Adventure, and Social Media
We have committed as a school to actively cultivating joy this year. We’ve made this commitment in a time when everyone is struggling with significant challenges. We have chosen Joy not in an effort to mask or hide the struggle, but rather because we know that joy fuels us and that by choosing joy we will find the collective strength to bring forth new and exciting possibilities amidst the struggle.
We wrap up the month of September where our joyful intention was connection. I am deeply inspired every day as I watch the amazing connections being made within the Clark Street community. Students, your care and commitment to each other and to our school family fills me with hope! Our staff pulls together every day to lift each other up and to lift up our students, even while working short-staffed and facing the challenges and limits that the pandemic still presents. Our families show up in big and small ways everyday to support all of us and the amazing learning that is happening here!
As we kick off October we transition to a joyful intention of adventure. We know our best learning takes place when we are able to push the limits of our comfort within a supportive community.
Many of you have probably become aware of the stories about social media trends fostering acts of vandalism and other harmful acts directed at staff and students within the schools across the country and in our district. We know that social media also offers many a sense of connection, one that meets our very human need for connection at a very rapid rate and often at a superficial level. Acts like those we have seen in schools may feel as if they fill a need in a time where so many are hurting and seeking connection and release. Unfortunately they also perpetuate a cycle of harm. These acts, the harm they cause, and often, the punitive response employed to attempt to stop them only serve to deepen our disconnection as humans.
At Clark Street we will continue talking about the reality of our human needs to connect and to release. We will also be re-centering ourselves in our deep belief in and experience with the power of positive adventure experiences which serve to raise up the community and every individual within it. We know that while cycles of harm are real and powerful, so are cycles of joy and connection, and by thoughtfully committing to joy and connection we can build powerful communities.
While we had planned our joyful themes before the current social media trend emerged, it seems serendipitous that in this time we will be talking about how we use our connection and the deep care that it generates between us to encourage each other to find a bit of adventure. We will also be talking about ways that we can meet our own needs and the needs of those around us in a way that builds and strengthens our community rather than perpetuating harm. We hope you will carry that conversation into your homes and other spaces, and we’d love to hear your thoughts.
Thank you for all of the joy, connection, and adventure you bring to our community! Please continue to be good to yourself and those around you.
October 1, 2021
United We Stand
Jada Thompson is a Middleton High School Alumni who is now on the staff at CSCS. She recently delivered this speech at a rally in Middleton to unite the community to end racism. We are so fortunate to have Jada on our staff and are so appreciative of her willingness to model the way!
“This soil is bad for certain kinds of flowers. Certain seeds it will not nurture, certain fruit it will not bear, and when the land kills of its own volition, we acquiesce and say the victim had no right to live. We are wrong of course.” ~Toni Robinson.
I spoke these words 3 years ago, at Middleton High school’s 2017 graduation. I was a teen then. Now at 21, agitating the system couldn't be more important than it is now. Middleton's soil is selective, not all flowers are nurtured, nor at times, even seemingly wanted in the garden. As a staff member of Clark Street Community School, I have seen what plowing the soil can do for our students, I’ve seen what the future can hold; but we can’t seem to get there. I’ve watched so many students of color arrive at its border, only to have their dreams die at its gate. I find myself questioning if it’s worth it to struggle, even if you never arrive.
Harriet Tubman once said, “I had reasoned this out in my mind, There was one of two things I had a right to, Liberty or death; If I could not have one, I would have the other.”
Our world is in its current state today because we ignore the muddy waters and polluted air that we continue to feed.
It is clear that we’d rather die holding onto the false narratives that have failed us time and time again, than hold on to each other. We fear our neighbors, only to justify the fear of ourselves, the fear of our past, and the fear that we can’t undo it. James Baldwin believed, "Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within." We can no longer afford the mask that our society has worn for too long in exchange for lives being lost.
Education can derail the ignorance that we have normalized. We can start by questioning the systems we work in; How does the school system’s education model put our students of color at a disadvantage? What does it say if we accept black and brown students failing at a higher rate than their white peers? How have our systems undermined The Civil Rights Act of 1964? How has our local demographics affected people of color? Do our work environments support people of color? If not, how can we change that? How are people of color neglected of their human rights in our community? What are the hard truths we need to know about ourselves and our community, that we need to accept if we are going to be serious about change?
A bullet can kill you instantly, but a system built on oppression is just a slower death.
Martin Luther King knew that, “Justice too long delayed is justice denied.” Basic math shows us that changing the variables will have similar outcomes every time until you change the equation. We grew enough roses from concrete; We’ve marched until our feet bled; We’ve fought enough wars; We’ve seen enough evidence. Now it’s time to put our money where our mouth is. We need more than words, we need action. We need minds and hearts open to the realities that we, as people of color, face daily; Without this, we will fail at every turn. I want to live in a world where the number of bodies in a classroom outweigh the number of body bags that silence them, and don’t you?