Rad Women: US students take charge during Women's History Month

03/24/17 07:05:pm
| Category: News

Organized in conjunction with the Women's History Month planning group, led by Room 4 teacher Julie Leavitt, the students led a variety of workshops and activities across both divisions.

"In today's world, where so many children do not have a voice, I think it is important for adults to allow students to take control and amplify their voices and increase their agency," said Ms. Leavitt. "I felt it was important to have the whole month's activities planned, created, and led by students for both the Upper and Lower School because research shows that peer-to-peer learning is one of the best indicators for engagement of students in school and for retention of knowledge. Plus, our Lower School kids adore Upper School kids so it made perfect sense to have them work together."

Monday afternoon was by far the busiest, with rotating offerings throughout the Upper School during Advisory. Turandot S. presented on Title IX, while nextdoor, Katarina C., Jake F., and Diba A. facilitated a thoughtful debate on paid parental leave.

Open-minded discussion and deep dives into some important topics were high up on the agenda for the day. In the ID lab, Mr. Taggart and Coach Brown showed students a TEDTalk about the importance of equity and representation of women in the film and television industry, and then facilitated a discussion amongst the students on what they'd viewed, unpacking the subject matter using examples from a shared lexicon: some of the popular superhero films of today.

The rest of the week found the Upper Schoolers journeying back down the hill into the Lower School classrooms in which many of them started their Mirman careers. Here, they practiced not only their academic passions, speaking on topics such as women in history, poetry, and in the media, but their leadership as well. Lower School teachers took a backseat as students like Katarina C. and Olivia G. spoke to Room 2 classes about poetry, using Gwendolyn Brooks' "Sadie and Maud" to inspire their classroom charges to write their own poetry.

Although each lesson started with a presentation by the Upper School students, the Lower School students were always soon engaged in their own projects. In Room 5B, Mina E.-U., Sydney F., and Emerson O. helped students work on writing their own newspaper articles about revolutionary women — leaders like Rosalind Franklin and Vera Rubin. Their teacher, Lisa Barba, said that they would incorporate what they learned when it came time for them to write their own newspaper for their revolutionary war unit.

In Kindergarten, each student was assigned a different "rad woman" to research, draw, and profile, but not until they'd enjoyed being read to by two of the Upper Schooler's own rad young women, Naalah C. and Breya D.