Each June, we take the time to honor our students' achievements, especially of those who are graduating and heading off to college. We have much to be proud of again this year, ranging from outstanding performances by our Orchestra and Jazz Band to award-winning medical device innovation and app development by our students. We invite you to read more details about our talented and inspiring senior class.
In addition to celebrating our accomplishments, the onset of summer provides us the opportunity to look ahead and set goals for the coming year. At Rowland Hall, we have a strong commitment to equity and inclusion, and cultural competency is essential to what we do as educators. While we have been working in smaller groups to articulate and demonstrate these values for some time, we have an exciting school-wide initiative that we're kicking off this summer. All faculty and staff are participating in a community read of Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do. This book, written by social psychologist Claude Steele, uses in-depth research to argue that stereotypes—both positive and negative—influence human behavior and performance.
When our community reconvenes in mid-August, we will devote time at our opening meetings to discussion of the book and its ideas. We are also excited to have Rosetta Lee, a Seattle-based educator, noted speaker, and expert on the topics of diversity and inclusion, visiting us to lead workshops for faculty and staff. Our hope is that greater awareness of issues such as stereotype threat and implicit bias can help make our learning environments more culturally responsive and effective for students. Additionally, an increased capacity to understand the behavior of others will improve our existing relationships and those we form with new members of our school community.
I would encourage any interested adult to read Whistling Vivaldi as well. For further insight into the book's subject material, you can read (or listen to) an NPR interview with Claude Steele. Personally, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, and gained new insights into cultural experiences vastly different than my own.
The social and political events of the past year, both nationally and internationally, remind me how fortunate I am to be part of the Rowland Hall community. We pride ourselves on being compassionate listeners, welcoming healthy debate, and respecting individuality. We are a school that aims for inclusion of all people, regardless of faith, political affiliation, ethnicity, or any other identity marker. Of course there is always room for improvement, which is why I am looking forward to seeing the ideas and inspiration that evolve from this community read, and all our work together next year.
Thank you all for the dedication and enthusiasm you bring to Rowland Hall, which is what makes us a successful school year after year. I wish you and your family a peaceful and productive summer.