With over 400 school leaders in attendance, the 25th Annual M.A.S.S. Executive Institute on Cape Cod was an event to remember! The attendees were moved to tears as members of the Mashpee elementary sc...
So glad this amazing group could join us and share their voices and stories!A delegation of 351ers was very honored to present and serve at the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents' 25th Summer Executive Institute on Thursday.
It was a wonderful day! First up, high-five filled power greeting as the Superintendents arrived. Followed by the kick-off of 9.11 Tribute Service, by engaging educators in support of the Mass Military Heroes Fund and as partners in our mission to honor and remember loved ones lost on 9.11 and the heroic Fallen since September 11, 2001.
And, then our young leaders inspired! Before MASS members and Commissioner Jeff Riley, the team was invited to articulate their essential building block for any school.
With candor and eloquence they offered a range of compelling ideas. The two dominant themes were increased support for mental health (education, awareness, and counseling) and expanded opportunities for service and civic leadership. Other recommendations included:
• strong mentoring relationships with educators, based on greater knowledge of the student inside and outside the classroom; • inclusive classrooms, sports, and clubs; so children of every ability are celebrated and welcomed; • action-based civic curriculum that fosters justice, inclusivity, empathy, and equality; • staff and teachers that reflect the diversity and life experience of their students; • hands on STEM learning, as celebrated by Siobhan Morris of Falmouth, who reflected on the breadth and depth of her Falmouth High School experience -- including research work at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution; • values-based culture of respect and inclusion that recognizes, celebrates, and engages every student and every community; • increased opportunities for internships, coursework, and networking with professionals to expand career horizons and strengthen student success in the workforce; • an Entrepreneurial Center, that incubates and supports student aspirations as business leaders; • a 21st century version of Home Economics that teaches about finances and taxes, the basics of home ownership, and sustainability and eco friendly lifestyles; • empowered Student Government, to increase advocacy, encourage civic leadership, and empower students to lead change in their community; • the Arts! In all forms! To encourage creative self-expression, support diverse learning styles, and build discipline and confidence. Whitney Meritus, ALC of Yarmouthport reflected, "Many can say that the arts could never possibly be a worthy contender to a field like mathematics. However, that’s not true. Did you know that music incorporates formulas? In fact, Pythagoras, the mathematician (known for the Pythagorean theorem) actually created the tuning system that was then developed into the chromatic scale. Arts are beautiful, necessary, and communal. They help students soar!"
We're so very proud of and grateful for the leadership and wisdom of the 351 delegation: ALC Surya Adeleye of Norwood, Jack Burgess of Sandwich, Molly Castle of Norwell, Anna Fernandez of Falmouth, Molly Kent of Sandwich, Michael Martinez of Roxbury, Whitney Meritus of Yarmouthport, Siobhan Morris of Falmouth, and Skyla Rimple of Mashpee; ALC Alum Noah Avila (United States Marine Corps) and Yvonne Vu of Falmouth (University of Massachusetts/Boston); and Ambassador Natalie Packard of Falmouth. Special thanks to Surya, Michael, and Noah who also participated in a panel discussion to reflect on the 351 presentation with the Commissioner; Tom Scott, Executive Director of MASS; Kathleen Smith, Salem Superintendent; and Brad Jackson, President of MASS and Holliston Superintendent.
We are thankful always for Tom Scott, Paul Andrews, Christine McGrath, Erika Hedrick, and the wonderful MASS team for their steadfast belief and essential partnership since our founding. We deeply appreciated this week's privilege of engaging with and learning from education leaders we so admire -- including Commissioner Riley. Their warm welcome and encouragement of the team was greatly meaningful.
Every day, we are mindful that our mission would not be possible without the stewardship of exceptional educators across the state. They are our role models, inspiration, and (we're fortunate to add) partners in building a youth-led movement of transformative service. We're most grateful for this week's special opportunity to align in common cause, share our hopes, and express our gratitude.