Beaver Teacher in LeadBoston Program on Social Justice

Lindsay Rich

Ms. Rich is devoting one full Saturday a month during the school year to attending workshops, discussions and site visits with the other participants, drawn from over 50 local businesses and nonprofits. LeadBoston’s website explains, “The initial focus is on learning about oneself as a leader and exploring issues of diversity and social justice in the context of Boston. As the year goes on, LeadBoston becomes more action oriented. The program provides a variety of opportunities for getting involved outside program days. All participants are encouraged to take on new forms of leadership in a way that fits their own careers, resources, and goals.”

Beaver is the only school that is a member of the BCCJ’s Business Network, and Ms. Rich is the only classroom teacher in her LeadBoston class. As a teacher, advisor and coach to middle school students, Ms. Rich is conscious that she brings a different perspective when her group discusses thorny issues like hunger, power and race. Yet as a teacher she has the opportunity to shape the attitudes and actions of the next generation of professionals and political leaders, and Ms. Rich says she is excited to apply what she learns through LeadBoston to her work with students and faculty colleagues.

This month’s topic was education, and Ms. Rich’s group attended a full-day seminar at the Tobin School in Boston on “Developing Future Leaders.” Among the presenters were four Beaver students (Izzy Davila ’12, Maeve Williams ’10, Matt Robbins ’10, Gus Polstein ’10) who were part of the BCCJ’s Init program and currently serve on the Youth Council for BCCJ. Izzy is working as an intern this year for BCCJ as the “Adult Program Assistant” helping with the organization of the program days and participating in them.

Following the session on education Ms. Rich said, “I was really moved by the program that the Youth Council organized for us. It was interesting to hear their mature and thoughtful reflections about their educational experiences (which vary greatly), and what they think the future holds for education. We adults can learn so much by really listening to young people. We also met with the headmaster of Fenway High School, a Boston Public Pilot School. I took away a really important message from her: that having all the resources in the world does not always equal a meaningful education. Of course, having resources doesn’t hurt, but the key to a successful school is having a faculty who collaborates, students who feel connected to faculty, and high expectations for all.”

Middle School Director Jorge Valcarcel and history teacher Ramon Williams attended LeadBoston in 2008-09.

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