A virtual meeting of the Christa McAuliffe Charter School Governance Committee will take place on Tuesday, December 8, 2020 at 8:30am via Zoom.
Videostreaming makes this pandemic much more bearable than it might otherwise be, but sometimes we might overstate its benefits. Recently, for example, I heard from another school leader about how difficult it was to run a school for the deaf in a remote learning model. I was surprised! In my naivete, I thought that videostreaming was an essential breakthrough for those who use American Sign Language. But while the visual aspects of Zoom or Google Meets are of undeniable benefit, I learned that ASL is a three dimensional language that does not translate so well into two dimensions. The beauty of shapes, gestures, and touch becomes compromised on a flat screen. That insight was new to me.
In our Zoom world, we can struggle with depth perception both literally and metaphorically. Consider our human interconnections. Metaphorically, we all know how “flattening” videostreaming can be in terms of building personal and professional relationships. In this pandemic, we may be losing some depth of mutual understanding.
Fortunately, neurologists are quick to share how well our brains compensate for a lack of binocular vision. For example, when we move, other objects move at varying speeds depending on their proximity to us. When objects overlap, we understand where they are in relation to each other. We can also use color and contrast clues to grasp where we stand in relation to others. Finally, we might use other senses to gauge object proximity. McAuliffe’s math, science, and related arts teachers can explain these phenomena much better than I can!
This Thanksgiving, I’m going to practice some of these workarounds. When I connect with friends and family via pictures or video, I’m going to place myself in visual context with my immediate family. I’m going to try to connect with them when I am walking outdoors instead of positioning myself against a blank wall. I have the privilege of hearing, and so I am sometimes going to close my eyes and just listen — truly listen — to those who bring deep meaning to my life. Taking these steps might overcome my difficulty perceiving how close or far apart I am from others; I hope it does the same for them.
What are the workarounds you will use to deepen your connection with others during this holiday season?
A virtual meeting of the Christa McAuliffe Charter School Governance Committee will take place on Tuesday, November 17, 2020 at 5:30pm.
A virtual meeting of the Christa McAuliffe Charter School Board of Trustees will take place via Zoom on Tuesday, November 17, 2020 at 6:30pm.
A meeting of the Christa McAuliffe Charter School Finance Committee will take place on Friday, November 11, 2020 via Zoom at 9:00am.
A virtual meeting of the Christa McAuliffe Charter School Education Committee will take place on Tuesday, November 10, 2020 at 4:00pm.
This has been a tumultuous year, disruptive for all. It’s been particularly difficult for people of color, immigrant communities, and those who financially struggle. Unfortunately, it seems that we may face even greater instability in the days and weeks ahead. Post-election strife and amplified political rhetoric may seek to divide rather than bring us together.
Whatever may happen in the coming days, it’s critical that we remember what will not change: our school, our mission, and our values.
We are a diverse Crew of scholars and educators. We celebrate and draw strength from our breadth of identity and background.
We believe that an intense commitment to self and community will foster a more just and equitable future. We stand against systemic racism and inequality. We acknowledge that indigenous peoples were the original stewards of this land. We affirm that Black Lives Matter.
We uphold the norms of a civil and engaged community. We extol civil rights, the precious value of free and fair elections, and the power of an educated populace taking action. We believe that our motto — “We Are Crew, Not Passengers” — should be the rallying cry of everyone across this land.
We are a school, and therefore a place of hope.
Almost three decades ago, a play called “Angels in America” opened in New York. In that play, characters faced a public health crisis disproportionately affecting some more than others. They saw little support from leaders in Washington. Yet they discovered that their voices, attitudes, and actions still made a difference. Today the final moment of that play seems particularly resonant — that moment when the lead character suddenly turns to the audience, looks people in the eye, and says
The world only spins forward. We will be citizens. The time has come.
Team McAuliffe, stay strong. Be well.