Bay Farm Montessori Academy Diversity Inclusion Anti-Racism

Given the complex and interrelated developments in our world this year, and our shared interest in making sure Bay Farm prepares our children well for that world, the board of trustees at Bay Farm has extended an invitation to our parent community to engage in a virtual conversation so that together, we can strengthen our partnership in building the foundations for our children’s Montessori education now and going forward. Last year, the topics of race, equity, and social justice, of a shared notion of truth and mutual trust, and of the rising influence of disinformation campaigns have knocked on our door, and rather than shrink from opening them, we invite you all to join us as we grapple with these challenges, and figure out what they mean for our school. 

Upcoming Meetings:

December 6, 2021: Foundations for Constructive Conversations About School.
Join us at 8:00 pm via ZOOM to discuss how the Montessori philosophy guides our school, working together to have constructive conversations, and agreeing on a framework for understanding what is true. RSVP here.

Past Discussions:

November 2020: Diversity, Inclusion, and Being Anti-Racist.
On Tuesday, November 17th, we held the first of what we hope will be many monthly Bay Farm Conversations with the board. We were deeply moved by the response and engagement in that initial conversation.  In speaking for more than an hour with 37 participants, we learned in what ways we are not all of the same minds, that we have among us those who are hopeful, those who are fearful, those who are hurt, those who are eager to help, those who want to learn and grow (which I think is all of us) – and likely a majority for whom all of these emotions sometimes mix together.

Learning about the range of perspectives and experiences within our community, through honest expressions of mind and heart from people we know and love, was a big step in bringing us together to grow as parents and educators. We all come to these topics from different places and with different perspectives. It’s going to take time to unravel them, and our discussions will always be a safe space for our community to ask questions, offer ideas and opinions, and grow together, all of which can only benefit our children. Bay Farm is about learning and growing, for children and for parents.  I think of these conversations as an example we want to set for our children in how to constructively deal with difficult topics.

We asked two questions that will always guide our conversations:  In order to best serve your family, we want to know:

  1. What do you want for your child to get out of the Bay Farm experience on these topics?

  2. What can we do to support you as parents for these topics?

February 2021: Navigating a World of Disinformation.
The challenge of knowing what's true and what's not, and building a society with a shared sense of truth, was the topic of our December conversation. This challenge is complicated by the growing prevalence of efforts to deceive and manipulate us, often through the channels of social media.  The internet is full of valuable information, and even more full of things that are intentionally or unintentionally misleading, or designed to get us to do or believe things that are not in our interest.  What should our kids know about how to navigate this disinformation ecosystem? 

Family Resources:

Books the Bay Farm Staff Has Read and Recommended Reading:

Videos:

The 3 design elements that make smartphones so hard to put down, explained by Google’s former design ethicist.

You will change the way you use any form of media after you hear this. Why? Because you are the media. Yes, you are responsible for everything you see online, in print, and on TV... even so-called fake news.

Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice -- and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding.

The more we read and watch online, the harder it becomes to tell the difference between what's real and what's fake. It's as if we know more but understand less, says philosopher Michael Patrick Lynch. In this talk, he dares us to take active steps to burst our filter bubbles and participate in the common reality that actually underpins everything.

Over the last year, Priya Vulchi and Winona Guo traveled to all 50 US states, collecting personal stories about race and intersectionality. Now they're on a mission to equip every American with the tools to understand, navigate and improve a world structured by racial division. In a dynamic talk, Vulchi and Guo pair the personal stories they've collected with research and statistics to reveal two fundamental gaps in our racial literacy -- and how we can overcome them.

Bay Farm Stands in Solidarity

Bay Farm Montessori Academy stands in solidarity with all black lives suffering in the hands of systemic racism. The atrocious injustice of senseless killings taking place across our country, like the most recent murder of George Floyd, is a constant reminder of the legacy of our country's history of enslavement and centuries of discrimination against people of African descent.Racism is everyone's problem. We support Dr. Maria Montessori's belief that schools are essential to constructive social reform. We agree that all children are born with natural tendencies toward peace and justice and that children have an innate capacity to change the world. Our responsibility as a school is to fortify this capacity with love, guidance, and setting a good example.As a school, we commit to examining our blind-spots, whether in our curriculum, our conversations, or our actions. We will amplify the underrepresented voices in the stories we tell, and the lessons we learn. As a Montessori school, we commit to our responsibility to model conscious decision making that results in daily, consistent, equitable choices to be anti-racist.Our school's only path forward is to seek the right steps to breaking the cycle of systematic racism and to reinforce that Black Lives Matter.Bay Farm Diversity Statement: Modeled by faculty and administrators, by peers and parents, our school is energized by a fundamental belief in the importance of respect. Bay Farm Montessori Academy does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, creed, color, ethnicity, national origin, citizenship status, disability, physical challenge, age, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, weight, or any other characteristic. Bay Farm is committed to creating an open, diverse community of learners, able to question, value and appreciate the human experience. of George Floyd, is a constant reminder of the legacy of our country's history of enslavement and centuries of discrimination against people of African descent.

Racism is everyone's problem. We support Dr. Maria Montessori's belief that schools are essential to constructive social reform. We agree that all children are born with natural tendencies toward peace and justice and that children have an innate capacity to change the world. Our responsibility as a school is to fortify this capacity with love, guidance, and setting a good example.

As a school, we commit to examining our blind-spots, whether in our curriculum, our conversations, or our actions. We will amplify the underrepresented voices in the stories we tell, and the lessons we learn. As a Montessori school, we commit to our responsibility to model conscious decision making that results in daily, consistent, equitable choices to be anti-racist.

Our school's only path forward is to seek the right steps to breaking the cycle of systematic racism and to reinforce that Black Lives Matter.

Bay Farm Diversity Statement: Modeled by faculty and administrators, by peers and parents, our school is energized by a fundamental belief in the importance of respect. Bay Farm Montessori Academy does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, creed, color, ethnicity, national origin, citizenship status, disability, physical challenge, age, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, weight, or any other characteristic. Bay Farm is committed to creating an open, diverse community of learners, able to question, value and appreciate the human experience.