Dear Duke School Families,
This morning, as we write this letter, we collectively wait on election results and clarity and direction for our nation. Regardless of the eventual outcome, we anticipate that the days ahead will present continuing challenges and uncertainties. Consequently, in the face of such unknowns, we have proceeded through this time also anticipating a level of stress for students, faculty, and staff.
In light of this, we wanted to share what Duke School has been doing to create an environment of compassion, open discourse, and respectful listening and offer suggestions for continuing conversations at home, too.
Prior to the election, we reached out to faculty to support and underscore the value of the critical and open discourse in their classrooms. We encouraged them to acknowledge and create space for dialogue about it classrooms as deemed socially and curricularly appropriate. We reiterated that, at Duke School, we do not wish to serve as influencers and therefore do not share our personal voting choices with students. We underscored the importance of sharing our Duke School core values which promote safety and inclusion for all students, especially students of color, LGBTQ+ students, girls, low income students, and students with other marginalized identities. For many students, some issues that have come to the forefront in this election directly involve their identities. We work to create and sustain environments on-line and on campus that prioritize trusting relationships, accountability, and respect to ensure the emotional safety and well-being of all students.
In multiple, developmentally appropriate ways--from voting on “favorites” in Preschool to research on the history and current state of voter suppression in Middle School--teachers across Duke School emphasize the importance of voice, multiple perspectives, and civic engagement. Most critical, our conversations will not stop today. We will, and must, continue to foster the next generation of problem solvers to use their voices, stay engaged, take the lead, and make change in the world.
Emily led a Pre-Election Faculty and Staff Circle on Monday, providing a sharing and listening space for faculty and staff to reflect and voice their worries, hopes, and dreams for our country and our communities. We plan to continue these Circles to provide a space for voices to be heard and valued, knowing that this is what we wish to model for our students every day.
We want to reach out and partner with you as we prepare our children for a future we can only imagine. The American Psychological Association offers these tips for parents and caregivers.
Lisa, Kathy, Nicole, Jenny, and Emily