Jon's Weekly Update 3-23-17

posted Mar 24, 2017, 10:38 AM by Cynthia Friedman
Mon-Fri, March-31                          ***NO SCHOOL--Spring Break
Tues, April 4, 3:15-4:15:                  TRUE Rehearsal
Thurs, April 6, 3:15-4:15:               TRUE Rehearsal
Tues, April 11, 3:15-4:15:                TRUE Rehearsal
Thurs, April 13, 3:15-4:15:             TRUE Rehearsal
Sat, April 15, 1pm                           TRUE PERFORMANCE: Jordan Schnitzer Art Museum, UO 
Thurs, April 27, 6pm                      TRUE PERFORMANCE: OSLP Fundraiser, Sam Bonds Foundry
Sat, May 20, 4-7pm                         TRUE PERFORMANCE: Student Uke Jam, Whirled Pies, Downtown
Mon, May 22                                   Smarter Balanced Testing Begins
Tues, May 23, 12:30pm-12am        TRUE PERFORMANCE: DT Portland and Arlene Schnitzer opening for Jake Shimabukuro and the Oregon Symphony
Sat, May 27, 12pm                           TRUE PERFORMANCE: Spencer Creek Grange 

Thurs, May 11                                   7th Grade: Canopy Connections, 8th Grade: Tree2Tree
Mon, June 5-Thurs, June 8              Adventure Trip 2017
Fri, June 9                                          **NO SCHOOL--Middle School ONLY
Thurs, June 15, 6-8pm                      8th Grade Graduation

Dear Middle School Family,

It's been a fascinating week. We started Monday by putting our families on the map.  As best we could find out, students marked on a collective Google Map where their families came from, and where they settled in the United States. It was harder than most of them imagined to find out this information.  (I wish I had had them change the color of the Country of Origin Tab and the US Tab, but it's pretty clear: anything outside the US is a Country of Origin.)

The map (and dates--scroll through the name list) are completely fascinating. We all come from somewhere else.  We are a nation of immigrants. The diversity of the stories that brought our families here is mind-boggling.  And, for many of us, completely unknown.  They are stories of struggle, hardship, luck, oppression, hard work--that much we know.  

The fact that we are here, in the United States, healthy and strong, educated, asking after these stories is a true testament to the Heroism of our ancestors' stories.

We've been learning just how true that is. It's no easy task to become a US citizen if you aren't born into it.  After a quick overview of the Immigration process, we started watching the documentary, "The New Americans," to get a better idea of how the process works in real life.  

So far, we've been following the story of a family who fled violence in Nigeria, and their transition to life in Chicago after two years in a refugee camp, waiting their turn, the story of a young college graduate from Palestine and her marriage to a Palestinian American, and the emotional struggle of leaving her homeland, and the story of a pair of Major League Baseball hopefuls from the Dominican Republic, being trained in the Dodgers' training camp.

We'll return to their stories after Spring Break, and we'll also hear stories of other folks who are working through the process of becoming an American.  We'll be bringing in guest speakers as well.

The students have a ton of questions about how this whole process works.  We've pared it down to 70 questions, and the students are working in teams to find the government policies and come up with the answers.

In mid-April, after we've set the "common ground" for understanding, students will engage in either Research or Service projects of deep personal interest around immigration issues.  We'll hold an "Immigration Conference" at the end of May, so the students can share their what they've learned.  I'm still processing how big a deal we should make of this. A lot will depend on how deeply the students embrace it, how far they want to take it.  Our community is in desperate need of what the students are learning...

I am sincerely humbled by the curiosity, inquisition, and compassion the students are bringing to this important topic. 

Please enjoy your time together this Spring Break. Share stories!  Make some new ones!

Best wishes,
Jon & Maizzy