Team Finch Newsletter
April 2019
It's April. Not quite the end of the year but students and teachers alike feel a bit twitchy.  How will I feel on the last day of school? What will the summer bring? Will all of this make sense some day?

No one knows the answer to that last question, yet teachers keep marching forward, trying to prepare students for the unknown ahead. We can all find inspiration and hope in The  Can We?  Project  featured in our Spring newsletter. The project reminds us that with the right tools, our students do indeed have the capacity to shape the future for the better. 

Students also had a hand in making Ruffing Montessori School a more inclusive, welcoming community. Never underestimate the potential of Middle Schoolers to make change happen!

In New England, the end of Winter can be an unglamorous affair. On a recent visit to Waynflete School (Portland, ME) this Pride flag atop a sooty snow pile made me smile.

Onward,

Jennifer Bryan, Ph.D.
What's New
When Lydia Maier emailed me a 5 minute video a few months ago, I woke right up. Waynflete School (Portland, ME) piloted  The ​ Can We?  Project last summer, experimenting with teaching students the dialogue and communication skills necessary to address the issues that currently divide our country: race, gun rights, economic inequality, immigration. The goal of the program is to give public and private school students the capacity to revitalize the democratic process, starting with issues that matter most to them.
Nine schools from across the country have signed up to participate in an incubator training this summer. In addition to bringing  Can We?  back to their own communities, these schools will have a hand in shaping the vision of this vital project.  You can learn more here  or contact the Project Director, Jeannemarie Halleck  jhalleck@waynflete.org.

Got hope?? Watch the video! 
Take a Look
Leadership and Design
Leadership + Design has another great theme for their newsletter  The Monthly Recharge  this year. Contributors were invited to write from prompts like these: 
  • What if strategic planning was more like _____ and less like _____?
  • We should try doing a lot less ________ and a lot more ________.
  • If ______________ was a guest innovator/employee at my school, we would be doing ______________ differently.
I opted for this last prompt and invited Parker Palmer to help us reconsider our approach to professional development. Let me know if you adopt the summer reading that I recommend in  The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (and Neither Will the P.D.)
New York State Association of Independent Schools
NYSAIS invited me to sit down for a conversation with Barbara Swanson as part of their NYSAIS NOW series. I consider Barbara--- a pioneer in the world of professional development for educators--- one of my most important role models, so being interviewed by her was a real treat. Listen in as we talk about the challenges of giving and receiving effective feedback.
Work in Progress
Schools often call me with questions and concerns about bathrooms.  Who should be using which bathrooms?   Where?   When?   What should the bathroom signs look like or say?!

As the second Montessori school established in the United States, Ruffing Montessori School (Cleveland, OH) has always been out in front of the rest of the pack. I consider their work around the "bathroom question" exemplary, not because of signage they came up with but because of  the process  by which they made an important change in their community.   Click here to learn more.
Summer Program for Women
Wonder Women!  is a lively, deep, playful, empowering and practical learning opportunity for aspiring women leaders in Education. Join Leadership and Design in Oakland, CA at Head Royce School in June for WW2019. Register here!
Team Finch Consultants
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Northampton, MA 01061
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