A letter from Kristin Harrison, Executive Director

Dear McAuliffe Community,

Today we woke up to the results of the presidential election and the charter school ballot initiative. Some families have reached out to me wondering how we’re talking about the election outcomes and how we’re supporting scholars and faculty who may be experiencing strong emotions. This morning I wrote to the school community:

“Today we woke up to the news that Donald Trump has been elected President of our country. Those who voted for him are probably feeling happy and hopeful. Those who did not vote for Trump may be feeling the opposite: sad, confused, anxious, and maybe fearful. No matter what you’re feeling right now it is okay to feel because those are YOUR feelings. It is really important that we are thoughtful about how we manage our feelings though.

No matter how each one of us is feeling today, tomorrow, next week, next month, it is our job to be a CREW and treat one another as a CREW. What does this mean? We show love, compassion, gratitude, and appreciation. Our HOWLS are RESPONSIBILITY, PERSEVERANCE, COLLABORATION, and INQUIRY. McAuliffe also has two Core Values which we need to make much more prominent in our work together: RESPECT & INDIVIDUALITY. As a CREW we must respect one another and treasure all of the parts of us that make us unique individuals in our community: race, ethnicity, origin, gender identity, sexuality, family structures, as well as learning styles, interests, and talents. We must COLLABORATE by contributing to a common goal of being the most kind, compassionate, and inclusive CREW we can be through our words and actions.”

Crew leaders then led scholars in a check in. Each crew leader asked a question most fitting for their Crew. Many crews checked in with the prompt “Share what is on your mind with one sentence or one word.” Others shared responses to the question “What’s one thing that calms you when you’re feeling stressed?” or the prompt “Name one thing or person that you appreciate.”

With regard to the ballot initiative to lift the cap on charter schools in Massachusetts, some are understandably disappointed that the cap on charters remains. I believe we must continue to build relationships with our local district schools to learn with and from one another to improve ALL public schools in MetroWest. What, in particular, would I like to see McAuliffe sharing with our local public schools?

  • A culture of “Crew, not passengers”– the philosophy and group structure that focuses on team-building, goal-setting, and character development.
  • Restorative Practices– we guide scholars to be reflective of their own actions and help them to create Fix-It plans to “make things right”.
  • Teaching of Habits of Work and Learning — the skills that guide scholars to become “leaders of their own learning.”

I know we also have much to learn from the excellent work teachers and school leaders are doing in our district. This collaborative work is in progress thanks to teachers and leaders in MetroWest schools who, like us, are excited to work together to support the learning and character development of our MetroWest youth.

Be well and always remember “We are CREW, not passengers!”