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Power of Words Follow Up
By Dr. Susie Lyons, Lower School Director

Earlier this week our student leaders from the Upper School led all of the K-6 students in workshops on the power of words, kindness, upstanding, and our core values. As I moved through the halls and peered into the classrooms during their time together, I saw our Lower School students mesmerized. They were listening attentively to the seniors' personal anecdotes about their elementary school years, each story describing a time they were faced with a difficult social situation, how they handled it, what they learned, and what they would have done differently.

The morning's activities then varied according to the grade level. In Kindergarten, the seniors read a book entitled One, and in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Grade, they read What if Everyone Said That? This prompted grade level discussions where students reflected upon inclusion, kindness, and thinking before speaking. At the same time students in Grades 4, 5, and 6 selected identity cards that they felt best represented who they are and then spoke to why they made the choice they did. I encourage you to ask your child to share which identity they felt was most important to them. Students in every grade also role played how to be an upstander in various situations.

Afterwards, 4th, 5th, and 6th graders attended an assembly led by Dr. Trina Moore-Southall who spoke about the concepts of equality, equity, and language. Her message resonated with our upper elementary students, particularly with her closing statement: "You are better than that." It was powerful to hear the students proclaim this statement in unison. Students returned to their classrooms with time for reflection where they wrote intention statements on what they pledge to do to uphold our core values.

We are grateful to Dr. Josh Berger (Director of the BCIL), Ms. Denise Mahdesian (Upper School Counselor), Dr. Trina Moore-Southall (Director of Equity and Inclusion), and our seniors for strengthening the moral compass of our Lower School students. We recognize we can always improve...and our words and actions are singularly one of the most powerful forces readily available to us. We can choose to use this force constructively with words of encouragement and help. Our words matter and Dr. Moore-Southall said it perfectly: we ARE better than that and we WILL use our words with care and thoughtful purpose.

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