Weekly Message from Principal Albright
During this period of mourning for the passing of Nelson Mandela on Thursday, I wondered how our 10- to 14-year-olds understood the nature of the struggle represented by his life. Throughout their lifetimes, South Africa was a country on the map, beset by troubles generally common to its neighbors, but symbolized by a wise older figure much revered by parents and the media. How do a school and a community teach about incredible strife and struggle that is not immediately transparent to those too young to have experienced the journey?
As we completed our first Reno Day last month, I was reminded again how much the desegregation battles seem to some students like something in the distant past. While they still are immersed in a culture that hasn’t come to grips with its “present,” at least the present is something they can emotionally experience. Remembering long back to my own middle school experience, I recall the fear of being in the midst of the Cold War – watching the fall of Hanoi, the wars in Angola and Mozambique – and wondering whether the world would always be condemned to this “balance” of power. The Iron Curtain meant something visceral – as a child, I could not imagine what happened in households where fear reigned at every moment. In this context, South Africa was another intractable problem – how could anything ever happen to change the world I had been born into? Many people felt similar fears – for other injustices, challenges, and struggles that seemed to have no end.
So how do I explain the incredible joy I felt when the whole construct crumbled under the pressure of Solidarity, glasnost, perestroika, and the inhuman conditions half the world’s people were kept under? Mandela’s freedom and the subsequent (peaceful) collapse of the South African order are similarly difficult to explain. Teaching about abstract concepts is tricky but essential; similarly, connecting learning to their own experiences today (from which there are many struggles to choose from) can also be effective. The effort to explain why something was important to those who lived through it also provides meaning. Perhaps our goal must be to provide the next generation of leaders with the contexts, skills, and motivations to fight the battles we can’t imagine being won, or can’t even imagine will exist.
On a less somber note, here are a couple of important calendar items:
This week, our PTA meeting on Wednesday (6:30) will be followed by a Community Meeting (7:15) on progress on the Reno Building renovation and addition. Stay for both!
And we have finally set the date for the Shakespeare Festival at Deal: January 31st. This will be a series of Shakespearean scenes acted by Deal students. Auditions are this week (Wednesday and Thursday) for interested students. We have yet to announce the Spring Musical – but rest assured it will not conflict with the just-announced Festival.
Welcome to the 2013-2014 School Year
from the Deal PTA!
The Theme of this Coming School Year is: BUILDING COMMUNITY!
We hope you are enjoying summer and getting ready to play an active role in our school’s community. Deal’s middle school program continues to be strong! The Deal PTA plays an important role in supporting this great school by working hard to provide the “extras” that enrich our children’s educational experience.
Support the PTA! The PTA depends on family participation and your contributions fund clubs, sports teams as well as the annual musical production. PTA contributions also support important programs for all of our students throughout the year, from the Sixth-Grade Orientation and the annual team-building trip for our youngest students, to the Eighth-Grade Promotion ceremony. PTA contributions provide grants to teachers to buy supplies to support classroom instruction, technology, Viking Time and other student activities. In addition, the PTA provides funding for the Deal directory, website, newsletters, parent education workshops, books for the library and improvements to the building and grounds. We can make so much happen, with every family’s support.
To reach that goal in providing these important programs, activities, grants and supplies, we need to raise approximately $170,000. That amount might sound daunting but, in fact, it represents only about $15 per student per month over the upcoming school year. This is your PTA and we ask that you support the PTA and be as generous as possible. The suggested contribution is $150 per student and we encourage you to give more if you can; however, no contribution is too small. It is your participation and support that ensures a great Deal and builds our sense of community for Deal’s students, parents, families, faculty, administrators and staff.
In addition to fundraising, the Deal PTA also works to provide information and to open avenues of communication among Deal parents, the school administration and the larger community. There are many ways for you to find out what’s happening at Deal:
- Join the Email List
This is the only way to receive Principal Albright’s indispensible Weekly Bulletin. This will ensure that you get the PTA newsletter and all announcements via Constant Contact throughout the year.
- Read the PTA newsletter, which is published electronically four times a year.
- Visit the website, www.alicedeal.org for current news and information.
Get involved! This is a critical time in your child’s development and education, and middle school students are not as easily accessible as elementary students. Unlike in elementary school, teachers are not asking for classroom volunteers or art assistants and parents are not meeting each other on the playground or at play dates. When parents volunteer for school activities at Deal, it gives them a chance to be a “fly on the wall,” and get an inside view into their kids’ school lives. The Deal PTA strives to provide many important opportunities to get involved. A list of these activities can be found HERE.
Our first PTA meeting will be held on Tuesday, September 3, 2013 at 6:30 P.M., prior to the sixth grade parent workshops. Please plan on joining us! Subsequent PTA meetings are planned for Wednesdays, Oct. 2nd and Nov. 20, 2013, during the first semester, and Wednesdays, March 19th and May 21, 2013, during the second semester. We will provide more detailed information about the agenda before each meeting. Every meeting gives you a chance to ask questions, make suggestions, meet and talk with other parents and hear important information about what is happening at Deal and in our community.
We look forward to a wonderful school year. If you have any questions, or want to get involved, please contact us. The PTA needs you–we always welcome new faces and new ideas!
Cathy House, PTA Co-President
Addy Schmitt, PTA Co-President