Completing an Unusual Year

Linda Johnson

Dear Families,

The past few weeks have been tumultuous ones as Americans wrestle with the continuing reality of racism. Even though the Maret community is not physically together due to the pandemic, many of us believe we can figuratively join hands by sharing resources and supporting each other. Many students, alumni, and parents have made constructive suggestions about steps that Maret can take to more truly live its Mission of building a community that is equitable and inclusive.

For the past 10 years, I have co-chaired the very important Committee on Equity & Inclusion (CEI), which consists of nine members (among them a Division Director, a Department Chair, an Admissions professional, and representatives of all three Divisions). The original Co-Chair was then-Director of Counseling Holly Hinderlie; for the past two years, it has been an honor to partner with Courtney Cothran-Fenner. As the work of CEI continues to develop, Courtney’s responsibilities will expand consistent with her new title: Director of Equity & Inclusion. Courtney will again lead our annual workshop for new faculty on “Deepening the Discussion About Race”; coordinate activities with the Maret Parents Association; and work with the School’s educational leadership team to ensure that our teaching practices are equitable – especially during this time of COL.

I have been hesitant in the past to create this position, concerned that it would lead to the misperception that this work is only one person’s responsibility. Now, though, I take this step confident in the belief that every faculty member understands that our jobs include opposition to institutional racism and a commitment to the work of unpacking our own privilege – so that Maret can be a safe community for all.

My thanks to those of you who took the time to respond to the Parent Survey and offer your suggestions for improving COL as we move forward. I plan to host periodic Conversations with Marjo over the next two months. My next conversation with parents will be this coming Tuesday, June 16 at 5:30 p.m. Among other things, I plan to share some thoughts about next fall; over the coming weeks, we will continue to drill down into the details of all the possibilities.

During our last parent conversation, some of you asked whether our Counselors could meet via Zoom with you and your children. As a result, we offer you the following forums when our Student Support team will facilitate a discussion, answer questions, and share resources. I hope you will take advantage of their support and expertise.

For K-6 Grade Families
Wednesday, June 17, 5:30 p.m.

Dr. LaNaadrian Easterling, Meghan Keller, and Aaron Cahn

For 7-12 Grade Families
Thursday, June 18, 5:30 p.m.

Dr. LaNaadrian Easterling and Rachel Epstein

Even during these challenging times, we honored the Class of 2020 against the backdrop of Monday’s spectacularly beautiful weather. It was wonderful to greet each of our Seniors (now graduates!) and their families on campus. While arrivals at 3000 Cathedral Avenue were staggered across four and a half hours, all of us felt the powerful sense of connectedness that this meaningful milestone inspired. We certainly hope that we can do an expanded version on August 7.

During Closing Ceremony and in my various letters to you, we have shared many of the ways our teachers have shown boundless creativity and helped our students produce incredible and unique projects, even during this time of COVID-19. One other example is Kali Haley’s art video that was presented at the Lower School year-end event. Even though the school year has officially ended, our faculty continue to work very hard, engaging this week with a number of outside experts to deepen their expertise on various COL platforms. This afternoon, we gather for our final full faculty meeting to honor those who have served the School for 10, 25, and 35 years; and bid farewell to those who are leaving Maret.

Although the unpredictability of the future may have required many of you to change your plans for the summer, I still wish you time for rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation.

Take care,

Marjo

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