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FMA Courageous Conversations

FMA Courageous Conversations
Posted on 04/05/2017

The Fletcher Maynard Community cares deeply about issues of race, diversity, and equity. As the broader demographic makeup of the City of Cambridge changes, so does the makeup of our school community. There is significant diversity across our students, families, faculty and staff, and community members. As part of the Academy’s commitment “to building and nurturing a community of caring citizens who are lifelong learners” we take a holistic approach to schooling and educating our students. To complement the students’ academic education, we believe deeply in the importance of prosocial and socio-emotional education. Prosocial and socio-emotional support not only makes for a more “caring citizen”, it also supports academic preparedness and learning.

Fletcher Maynard also believes that the importance of pro-social and socio-emotional support extends beyond the students and touches on our families, faculty & staff, and community members. The broader goal—becoming “caring citizens” stays the same, but some of the details change and become more complex. Larger issues like race, class, ethnicity, and nationality intersect with more personal topics like personal identity, family, neighborhood, and other more personal groupings. In an effort to work through these topics and issues, last year the FMA convened six meetings that included families, faculty and staff, and community members. In these meetings, group members discussed how the topics discussed above influenced their personal experiences, and how these experiences might influence the educational experience of FMA scholars.

These series of meetings produced:

  1.  A parent guide to introduce new parents to the FMA
  2. A series of PD sessions for the FMA staff focused around family visits, and
  3. A renewed focus on Cultural Responsive teaching by some FMA teachers. 

The success of last year’s conversations led us to continue similar conversations this year. Dr. Mariam Durrani, a parent of a second grader in Ms. Katz’s class, and a lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, led us in the first of two conversations this year. We had about 20 participants, including the parent of an incoming kindergartner and a non-FMA parent that wanted to join the conversation. We discussed empathy, our diverse personal stories and experiences around race and diversity, and started to build a courageous and trusting community with the strong will to explore how issues of diversity might be acknowledged and addressed in the FMA community. We thank Dr. Durrani for her leadership and look forward to the next discussion on May 10 at 6PM.

We hope to see more of you there. If you’d like to attend please email Uche Amaechi.