Column: Back To To School Gathering Held

September 12, 2018

[Written by Glenn Fubler]

Reminded that “it takes a village,” the ‘Back to School Gathering’ at the Bermuda College took place on September 6th to promote the tandem between families and schools to the benefit of our island’s children.

The gathering attracted 40-odd people, including presenters, meaning that we had only partially leveraged the opportunity offered by the start of the new school year.

In light of same, we are considering the lessons the outcome offers.

That said, all of those attending demonstrated their adaptability and pivoted circumstances to the collective benefit. Rather than breaking out into specific sub-groups, we simply facilitated the exchange of relevant insights, in a sharing-circle of all in attendance.

Bermuda College Back to School Gathering Sept 2018 (1)

We wish to use this opportunity to express appreciation to everyone who contributed to the gathering, including Beverly Daniels – retired educator and current executive director of the Salvation Army’s Social Programs – who encouraged parents to recognize the power of their simple ‘presence’ with their children. Anthony Peets – primary school counsellor – noted that his long experience has taught him the importance of avoiding ’boxes’.

Branwen Smith – former administrator of Tuft’s University and current executive director of the Sloop Foundation – referenced the leverage potential of ‘experiential learning’. Joanne Brangman- Head Librarian – reminded us of the free membership for the Adult and Youth libraries and noted the availability of a free online tutoring service covering K-2.

Martha Kirkland – Franklin-Covey Bermuda – noted that ‘seeking first to understand’ is foundational. Nicola Paugh – MIRRORS – pointed out that a mindful approach to circumstances is empowering. Berkeley Institute counsellors – Latisha Washington and Tyrone McCardy – stressed the benefit of ‘future-planning’ and the primary importance of students’ emotional well-being.

Bermuda College Back to School Gathering Sept 2018 (2)

The six-person team from the Bermuda Council of Teachers of Mathematics – including their president, Rebecca Sousa of Warwick Academy – provided a ‘banquet’ of fun activities to help families to facilitate students’ mathematics.

This free gathering was made possible by a rallying spirit, a legacy of the best of Bermuda. The Bermuda College collaborated by providing the location. A free supper was made possible by a collaboration of a number of churches in the neighbourhood, including The Evangelical Church – Paget; Peace Lutheran; St. Paul’s – Paget [Anglican]; St. Michael – [Roman Catholic]; Christ Church – Warwick [Presbyterian] and Vernon Temple [AME]. Culinary students under Chef Shawn Ming at the Bermuda College, provided key assistance in the food preparation.

It is worth noting the synergy – the matter of timing – involved in this initiative. On September 6th, ‘CBS This Morning’ featured Sal Khan – the founder of Khan Academy as special guest; speaking to the importance of the role of the ‘village’ in the global context. Additionally, on September 6th, Christ Church – Warwick – hosted the funeral of the young victim of the most recent stabbing, a tragedy that calls the entire Island to join in renewing the ‘village’.

The outcomes of this gathering speak to both the strengths and weaknesses of on-going efforts in making the best of our ‘village’. Those of us involved in this initiative have renewed our commitment to draw on the lessons offered and build on those strengths in seeking to promote a climate that optimizes the potential for Bermuda’s up-coming generations.

- Glenn Fubler


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