Rosetta Lee: Instilling Positive Self-identity

Tuesdays at Nashoba Brooks are half days for students, but for teachers, the afternoons are filled with professional development opportunities and much needed planning meetings. Now more than ever, with so much packed into a day, teachers are valuing a time to forget about sanitizing for a moment and enrich their love of the craft.
On the first Tuesday of the school year, teachers sat down with their lunches and opened their computers to be greeted by Rosetta Lee, a science teacher at Seattle Girls’ School, who also tours the world as a professional outreach specialist, training faculty, teachers, students, and parents on a multitude of topics, including cross cultural communication, identity development, implicit and unconscious bias, gender, bullying, and more. What she does was best summed up in the first few minutes of her presentation when she told eager Nashoba Brooks employees, “I like to get beyond the why and into the how.” Music to the ears of entrenched teachers. 

Ms. Lee explained how creating a safe and equitable classroom is a teacher’s most challenging and important task. And as she continued, it was easy to see that she was, first, a teacher. She stood by her “how” promise, replacing wide-sweeping philosophies on equity, diversity and inclusion with real, anecdotal experiences. “I use science as my vehicle,” she said, later recalling a conversation with her nephew where she had brought race down to biological nuts and bolts: “I explained that darker skin was a kind of built in sunscreen.” She noted, too,  that all school subjects can connect with diversity, equity, and inclusion goals. Teachers should harness their already extensive expertise and forget the idea that anything before middle school is too early to design an equitable and inclusive  curriculum.

For our youngest students, Ms. Lee explained, “Instead of shielding, engage.” Kindergarteners, first graders, and the younger students have no filter because they’re testing what filters need to exist. Ms. Lee  described how letting these younger students ask questions, rather than a teacher explaining what was right and wrong, was a way of guiding their curious minds towards empathy and understanding. “I call them adorable depositions,” she said, laughing.    

Ms. Lee’s presentation was personal as she related her own experiences with bias. Growing up and even now, she explained, has put her in contact with people who have good intentions but fail to see their own biases before they open their mouths. As an American with an Asian ethnic heritage, she told how she’s lost count of the many times she’s explained that she is from America and heard someone ask, “Yes, but where are you originally from?” Ms. Lee’s wit, which she wove through her presentation, was especially present when she noted that she has often wanted to respond to these questions with, “I’m originally from my mother’s womb, you?” 

The importance of “sub-textual messages” or what someone is really saying when they ask these sorts of questions was a major part of Ms. Lee’s message. Needing to know “what box to check,” she explained, leads to questions and comments that establish a divide between privileged America and everyone else. “None of this is what we mean and all of this is what is heard,” she pointed out as she paused to take a breath. The question she encouraged teachers, administrators, and parents to ask was “Who’s not in the norm and how do we make them feel normal?” She followed up with slice of humble pie, relating a story where a Muslim student, new to her school, was met with a “we’ll get back to you” when she asked if there was a quiet place for daily prayers. Ms. Lee’s school was quickly able to make accommodations, but the student had already gotten the message—she was an exception.

Ms. Lee’s clear, important messages were consistently accompanied by a healthy positivity, and as she came to a close, she called Nashoba Brooks employees to action acknowledging that mistakes are expected; paralysis shouldn’t be. She encouraged teachers to “incorporate multiple domains” when encountering problems or designing curriculum, and she encouraged collaboration and communication between all constituents of each student’s support team, reminding all of us that “Mastery means growth” for all of us.
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List of 20 news stories.

  • Grade 3 Meets Author Christine Day

    Recently, Ms. Gaffny and Ms. Keady's Grade 3 students had the exciting opportunity to meet Christine Day, the author of I Can Make This Promise.
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  • Middle School teacher presents at OER’s national conference

    In August, our Middle School Latin Teacher Maritere Mix was invited to present at the OER conference for Social Studies educators. The conference is run by the Open Educational Resources Project, “a coalition of educators and historians solely focused on boosting student engagement and achievement through transformational social studies programs.” The project is dedicated to providing teachers with high quality curriculum and engaging content to help bring history to life for students. Ms. Mix presented in the track focused on “arguments with evidence.” Her track talk considered ways teachers can help students connect more meaningfully with the past. 

    Ms. Mix explores how to structure activities that support student investigations of primary sources, and helps them to think critically about the past with empathy for the people who lived through it. Ms. Mix’s goal is to empower students to make informed claims and to enable them to relay captivating historical accounts. In addition to her track talk, Ms. Mix participated in a live panel discussion with Bob Bain from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and Nate Otey, a fellow in Philosophy at Harvard. She says she found the live discussion “a great opportunity for us to delve deeper into our topic and address some of the questions from the more than 200 conference attendees.” This was Ms. Mix’s first time presenting in this forum and she admits to feeling outside of her comfort zone. Her risk taking is a great model for her students and she hopes for the opportunity to do it again in the future. You can view Ms. Mix’s track talk on the OER website.
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  • Nashoba Brooks Notions: Penny Boat Challenge

    Are you ready for a design challenge? This week’s Nashoba Brooks Notion invites you to practice the iterative process of design thinking by participating in a STEAM building activity! The challenge is to build multiple versions of a tin foil boat and then test the buoyancy and strength of your boat by adding pennies progressively. Here is a document that explains the challenge and lists the necessary supplies. There is also an optional chart for recording your data and an optional set of reflection questions. We encourage you to work together with your family to build your boats. Good luck!
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  • Nashoba Brooks Notions: Bubbles

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  • Announcing Nashoba Brooks Notions: Summer Reads

    We would like to introduce Nashoba Brooks Notions. Each Monday this summer, we will be sharing thoughts, ideas, and activities for families to consider. 
     
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  • Earth Day at Nashoba Brooks

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  • Grade 7 Students Recognized by National Latin Exam

    Every year, thousands of Latin students across the United States and the world take the National Latin Exam (NLE). The NLE is not meant to be a competition, but rather an opportunity for students "to experience a sense of personal accomplishment and success in their study of the Latin language and culture." Depending upon their score in relation to the national average, students may earn certificates, medals, and may even qualify for scholarships. This year, 31 of our Grade 7 students participated in the Introduction to Latin level exam. The national score average this year was 33/40, which is higher than in past years. We are pleased to report that 16 students received certificates, and 12 of them were also awarded medals (8 silver and 4 gold). We are very proud of all our Grade 7 students for the time and effort they have put into their Latin study this year.
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  • Students Win Third Place in National Documentary Competition

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  • S'mores and More Winter Week

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  • Honoring Black History

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  • Nashoba Brooks Announces bold plan to “reVision Tuition”

    This week, Nashoba Brooks announced its “reVision Tuition Plan” to reduce tuition and provide parents with three years of visibility into annual tuition costs. The School’s plan will cut tuition by an average of 15% over the next three years, reducing costs for families by an average of 5% each year from current rates.
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  • Nashoba Brooks Launches New Online Extension Program

    Building on the School's history of inspired education and innovation, we are excited to expand our offerings through this pilot program and a chance to reach new students beyond our School community. Whether you are looking to enrich your child’s learning with an engaging workshop or get some extra help with schoolwork, you will meet knowledgeable instructors who bring creativity, experience, and a warm, inclusive approach. Check out our various sessions, and meet our talented team of online instructors!
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  • Inclusivity Leadership Team presents at NCGS symposium

    On October 28, Head of School Danielle Heard, Assistant Head of Lower School Tim Croft, School Counselor Liz Joyce, and Middle School Science Teacher Susan Lewis, presented at the National Coalition for Girls Schools’ Educating Girls Symposium on “Building Inclusive Anti-racist School Communities.”
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  • Grade 8 Students Write Their Truths

    Elaine Rabb, Nashoba Brooks School’s storied Grade 8 English teacher, watched as another batch of students expressed themselves in their “This I Believe” essays.
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Situated on a beautiful 30-acre campus in historic Concord, Massachusetts, Nashoba Brooks School enrolls all genders in Preschool through Grade 3, and students identifying as girls in Grades 4 through 8. Nashoba Brooks is an independent school designed to build community, character, and confidence in its students.
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