Reminded that “it takes a village ...”, the Back to School Gathering at the Bermuda College took place last Thursday to promote the tandem between families and schools to the benefit of our island’s children.
The gathering attracted upwards of 40 people, including presenters, meaning that we had only partially leveraged the opportunity offered by the start of the new school year.
In light of same, we are considering the lessons that the outcome offers.
That said, all of those attending demonstrated their adaptability and pivoted circumstances to the collective benefit.
Rather than breaking out into specific subgroups, we simply facilitated the exchange of relevant insights, in a sharing circle of all in attendance. We wish to express appreciation to everyone who contributed to the gathering, including Beverly Daniels, a retired educator and the executive director of the Salvation Army’s social programmes, who encouraged parents to recognise the power of their simple presence with their children.
Anthony Peets, a primary school counsellor, noted that his long experience has taught him the importance of avoiding “boxes”.
Branwen Smith, a former administrator of Tufts University and the present executive director of the Sloop Foundation, referenced the leverage potential of “experiential learning”.
Joanne Brangman, the head librarian of the Bermuda National Library, reminded us of the free membership for the adult and youth libraries, and noted the availability of a free online tutoring service covering kindergarten to Year 12.
Martha Kirkland, of Franklin-Covey Bermuda, noted that “seeking first to understand” is foundational.
Nicola Paugh, of Mirrors, pointed out that a mindful approach to circumstances is empowering.
Berkeley Institute counsellors Latisha Washington and Tyrone McCardy emphasised the benefit of “future planning” and the primary importance of students’ emotional wellbeing.
The six-person team from the Bermuda Council of Teachers of Mathematics, including their president, Rebecca Sousa of Warwick Academy, provided a banquet of fun activities to help families to facilitate students’ mathematics.
This free gathering was made possible by a “rallying spirit”, a legacy of the best of Bermuda.
The Bermuda College collaborated by providing the location.
A free supper was made possible by a collaboration of a number of churches in the neighbourhood — the Evangelical Church in Paget; Peace Lutheran; St Paul in Paget (Anglican); St Michael (Roman Catholic); Christ Church Warwick (Presbyterian) and Vernon Temple (African Methodist Episcopalian).
Culinary students under chef Shawn Ming at the Bermuda College provided key assistance in the food preparation. It is worth noting the synergy, the matter of timing involved in this initiative.
On the same day, CBS This Morning featured Sal Khan, the founder of Khan Academy as a special guest.
He was speaking to the importance of the role of the “village” in the global context.
Additionally that day, Christ Church Warwick hosted the funeral of the young victim of the most recent stabbing, a tragedy that calls the entire island to join in renewing the “village”.
The outcomes of this gathering speak to both the strengths and weaknesses of continuing efforts in making the best of our “village”.
Those of us involved in this initiative have renewed our commitment to draw on the lessons offered and build on those strengths in seeking to promote a climate that optimises the potential for Bermuda’s future generations.
• Glenn Fubler represents Imagine Bermuda