Reframing the “Trump-Effect” for Our Kids

15_fac_jusle_j-4405There is no doubt this past election has been far different than one we have ever seen. For some it was a refreshing change from the normal political rhetoric and for others it was a bit like watching a trainwreck. It has been interesting both as an educator and as a black man to watch both sides of the political spectrum churn over what should happen next. We can all agree that President-elect Trump isn’t perfect, but nor has anyone who has ever bid for the presidency. We have all said things we regret, or typed something we never intended the world to see.

Try Not to Feed into the Hysteria
It is just as important that our kids see us be vulnerable, as it is for them to see us poised in the face of something difficult. Stay excited and energized to be part of a culture that provides space for voices of dissent as well as consonance and there may be instances where our nation has been better at this than others, but how lucky are we to live in such an exciting time. We are living history before our very eyes. Fear in the human spirit often comes from our assumptions of the future coupled with the absence of trust in ourselves to be able to handle whatever circumstances come our way. Always keep in mind, hysteria encourages TV ratings not an educated electorate.

Advocacy isn’t the New Kid on the Block
As it has been for any human being who identifies with some sort of minority, it isn’t suddenly a new concept to advocate for one’s needs because the President-elect isn’t as politically correct as his predecessors. He isn’t the first imperfect person to bid and be put into a position of power and he probably won’t be the last. There always has been and will be people who will answer the call when our kinsman are in need. We must trust that our collective humanity will balance the scales and we can’t go around calling imbalance into existence with our words and actions. We have always managed to take care of ourselves in the end.

What Do We Say?

  1. We are Americans. We believe in democracy. We believe in the voice of the people. And that means accepting that things may or may not work out the way we imagined or wanted to but we trust that indelibly our nation’s creed will abound in this experiment we call freedom.
  2. We speak up. Silence is dangerous. We have an honor/responsibility to speak truth to power and support those in need.
  3. We respect one another not in spite of our differences but because of our differences.
  4. Bigotry is not up for debate. It is a stain on the history of our democracy and its our r
    esponsibility to understand it and purge it from our social fabric. Don’t believe the hype! (as we say in Brooklynese). Not everyone who voted for President-elect Trump is a racist. A great deal of them are Americans who voted for the best option they could, with the information they had in the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness that our Declaration of Independence calls for.
  5. We don’t walk away. We will preserve and practice our sovereign right to engage in our governance even when it is inconvenient or cumbersome. We don’t just choose our President but our local officials too. And when our ideals don’t align, we engage in civic discussion to promote understanding not to treat our compatriots as other.

There are people in the world who are really good at showing us how to be. There are people in the world who have a knack for showing us how not to be. And more often than not, those two things can exist in the same person and the lessons we teach our kids remain the same. We teach them to have the discernment to delineate between the two. To remember our highest ideals and from there work together and when we strive to be our best selves, honor and responsibility are one and the same.

Jimmy Juste is Inly School’s Director of the Office of Inclusion and advises the school on programmatic, personnel, and community topics on diversity and equity. Before joining Inly, Jimmy taught middle and high school students in the NYC public school system. He also taught poetry at the Waverly School of the Arts in Brooklyn, NY and performing arts at MCC Theater, CenterStage NY, Usher New Look Foundation and Hospital Audiences Inc. Jimmy has worked as a professional background singer for the likes of Amos Lee, Patti Labelle, Josh Groban, Pete Seeger, Judy Collins and St. Luke’s Orchestra. A teacher of many talents, Jimmy has a degree in theater and communications from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and is currently working on a degree in interdisciplinary studies from the University of Massachusetts.

Cultivating Creative Thinking at School and at Home

Peter and Paul Reynolds of FablevisionGoing Places: How to inspire the next generation of innovators and inventors

A conversation with Paul Reynolds and Peter H. Reynolds, authors, makers and visionary leaders of FableVision.

The twin brothers were keynote speakers at the Fall 2016 opening of Inly School’s new innovation hub, then hung around campus for a tour of the da Vinci Studio and its maker spaces, a book signing of their bestselling children’s books Going Places, and a chat about creativity, innovation and what makes kids tick.

What’s the key to creative thinking? Can it be cultivated?

Paul: I’d say, ‘Be curious.’ That’s where it starts, right there. Often if you tell people to be creative they freeze up. They say they’re not creative. But if you encourage them to be curious about the world around them, then they open up and creativity follows from there.

Peter: Make schools inviting, hands-on learning environments and then go home and make your home an extension of that learning.  Going Places book signing Inly School

When we were young our dad turned our garage into a maker space and workshop where we could build things out of wood. And our mom brought home an old Savin office copier from work. They were throwing it away so she brought it home and put it in the dining room and put a table cloth over it and a vase of flowers. When we wanted to use it we just took off the table cloth.

How cool is that?

Peter: I would make copies of things and it was so old that the copies were really light so I’d have to draw over the outlines with black marker and then I’d walk down to the five and dime in town and make new copies of the redrawn ones with the store copier.

So you were learning about printing and publishing from an early age…

Peter: Exactly. Without realizing it. I was just doing it.

And completely self-directed. Although your mom was clever to provide a tool. What can parents do to foster creativity at home?

Paul: It’s important for kids to see you drawing and singing. If you say you can’t draw, that sends a powerful message. Be brave. Show them that trying new things is fun. Make your home an extension of the school learning environment and let kids know you are also part of that learning team. Ask yourself, Do we have opportunities for creation in our house?

In the early days of video games we said to our three boys, ‘I know you really love playing video games — but it’s just as much fun to make them yourselves.’ So they did, using MIT’s Scratch programming language for kids. It’s no accident then that our middle son Ben graduated this year from MIT with a degree in computer science and game design, and is now set to graduate this June with a master’s while working at the MIT Media Lab. He experienced the joy and agency of making — and we expect it will pay dividends for years to come.

Sally Sisson

 The Reynolds brothers tour the new da Vinci Studio, an innovation lab comprising the Digital Lab and Design Studio, Robotics Space and Maker Space; and the Think Tank, an environment specifically designed for students to imagine and invent.digital_design_technology_inly_reynolds

Top: Paul and Peter Reynolds make some noise in the Digital Lab and Design Studio.

Middle: Illustrator Peter H. Reynolds makes his mark on the wall-to-wall whiteboard in Inly’s new Think Tank. 

Bottom: Imagination in action! Children dive into the creative peter_reynolds_going_places_inlyprocess, experimenting in their own maker space in the da Vinci Studio.

maker_space_inly_schoolFurther news and inspiration
For more in this series on creativity, innovation, and the new learning labs and spaces at Inly, see:

Celebrating Imagination and a Library for the Future

Print and Digital Find the Perfect Home

Books on imagination and innovation

Going Places by Peter and Paul Reynolds

“A celebration of creative spirit and thinking outside the box.” Watch the book trailer below.

Celebrating Imagination and a Library for the Future

A look inside the Grealish Family Pavilion (Part Two)

Inly School Library Stained Glass

Book-themed door panel by the creative hands at Coastal Art Glass in Norwell MA

We’re all still in awe of this amazing new space, and it’s hard to chronicle all of the magical moments happening here every day. Books are discovered and rediscovered, read silently and read aloud; ideas and imagination are sparked and stirred; thoughtful research is conducted in an environment that’s at once stimulating and serene.

Students and teachers tend to linger here, finding their favorite spot on a couch or at a table where they can look out the windows at the changing view. Trust me, it’s hard to leave!

Here are more photos from the official building opening this fall, including those from the Going Places book signing with authors and keynote speakers Peter and Paul Reynolds. Stay tuned for more photos and moments as each chapter unfolds…

Inly School Library Scituate MA

Author Peter H. Reynolds and Donna Milani Luther greet Inly Library visitors

Montessori School Library Scituate MA

Rooted in the Imagination Station one floor below, the Library Tree is graced with glass leaves that sparkle in the sunlight

For more on the Inly Library and Going Places book signing, check out these two posts by Shelley Sommer on Sommer Reading: A Book About Blogs:

A Photo Tour of the New Inly Library 


More Pictures and Authors Peter & Paul Reynolds

Also see Part One: Print and Digital Find the Perfect Home

New Paths to Learning

dsc_0016Hidden beyond the shoulders of Sunflower Hill is another world, one that Inly’s children have only caught glimpses of from the trail that skirts the edge and winds down to the bottom of the driveway. From tree-plank benches, they are able to peer down into the secrets and hypothesize on what happens in the forests and wetlands, sketching in their minds or on paper what they see and imagine. There are even animal homes and tunnels that dot the trail’s landscapes, including a fox den recently taken over by a groundhog. Deer and turkeys have also been spotted along the trail, now covered in oranges and reds from autumn leaves, eventually slipping into to their secret habitats.

But something is changing. A new path has opened. One that will bring the child’s eye—and all other senses—closer to the hidden mysteries. Thanks to the time and resources of various families, the final stage of the quarter-mile trail development is nearing completion. Beginning with a serpentine wooden boardwalk that stretches across the stream and wetlands on both ends, children will be instantly greeted with a symphony of bird calls and songs repeating from hickory tree to spice bush to scattered stone walls. Recent rains foretell the seasonal changes as the stream becomes a sliver again and a more present gurgle following the melting snows of the winter and spring to come. Winding past these sights and off the boardwalk, the child will be greeted with maples (containing sweet sap to be harvested in February) and the scent of pine woods. They will pass ferns and rotten logs, home to many smaller creatures, as well as other half-buried markers of a human past. There are so many places to pause and explore, to hold a magnifying glass close and see the recently unseen, to imagine through drawings and words, or simply to be aware of the universal connection of all things.

These trails are full of potential for each child and teacher to unlock. Not only is there the wide scope of scientific concepts, but also bridges to literature, language, and writing; representations of symmetry and geometry; touch points of geography and cultural; musical melodies and rhythms; the grace of movement; the beauty of color and shadow; and so much more. The trails are wild extensions of the domesticity of Sunflower Hill, where students find structure and patterns to guide and help them better understand the outdoors, themselves and the world, which in turn is a both a reflection and extension of Inly’s Montessori classrooms, the da Vinci Studio, and the smaller outdoor spaces on campus.

As Richard Louv says, “The future will belong to the nature-smart—those individuals, families, businesses, and political leaders who develop a deeper understanding of the transformative power of the natural world and who balance the virtual with the real. The more high-tech we become, the more nature we need.”

By Bruce Frost, Upper Elementary Teacher

Bruce is a veteran elementary school teacher with almost 20 years experience in the classroom. He holds a B.A. from Northeastern University, a M.Ed. from Lesley College, and an M.F.A. in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Prior to teaching, he worked within the publishing field for many years—an experience he brings to the classroom through his love of literature and writing. Among Bruce’s accomplishments during his tenure at South River School in Marshfield are integrated curriculum development and the creation of a 3,600-square-foot organic garden and outdoor learning center. In addition to his role as upper elementary teacher at Inly, he has trained in constructing and managing the World Peace Game and is the coordinator of the Outdoor Classroom and organic garden, where he shares his joy of exploring the creative possibilities and responsibilities within our world. Outside of the classroom, Bruce not only continues to garden and write but is also an active runner and outdoors enthusiast.

Scituate is the New Brooklyn

15_fac_jusle_j-4405I come from the land of Breukelen. A land far, far away from here. Some of you might know it as Brooklyn. I was born of Haitian immigrants and raised in Brooklyn, NY. I grew up around an array of dialects, inflections and rhythms. It was necessary for survival to decipher sound and I was good at it. Sound and language was an inherent aptitude of mine and not only was I good at understanding it with very little context, but I could code switch with ease. It was no credit of my own. It was the gift Brooklyn gave me. I was adorned with a gift to make people feel at ease with the sound of my voice. As a six-year-old, black kid in the BK, I felt immense power in that. There wasn’t much self-empowerment to be found lying around on the streets of East New York, but I had my voice. I often sat with my parents at the dinner table and listened to the way conversation flowed in and out of Creole, French and English, while Brazil played Mexico in a game of futbol on Telemundo in the background. I lived in a symphony of cultural sounds, but my father was the great noisemaker of the family. I could always find him dancing around while imitating a brass sound instrument while listening to the radio, or misusing an American idiom. Outside the house were voices from Puerto Rico that boomed from their diaphragms like cannon-fire. There were Dominican voices that lingered on diphthongs with a kind of driving determination. Voices from Ireland, Sudan, Italy, Guatemala, India, Jamaica and countless more. I had been around so many different ways of communicating.

Middle school was the first time I had been anywhere that wasn’t mostly people of color. My proclivity for sound and music coupled with exposure to a myriad of cultures made code switching easy for me, so I had a diverse group of friends and with adolescence in my veins I was drawn to friends of the female persuasion. Rita was Italian with wavy, dark hair and honey colored eyes. She was FLY! And I had accomplished the ultimate goal, I got her phone number AND her AOL Instant Messenger screen-name.  After a few days of my courting her via coiled phone cord, she began to like me enough to start calling me first.

“Jay! Rita is on the phone,” my father shouted.  I strutted down the stairs and approached the phone with a king’s appeal. “Was that your dad?” said my queen. “Yea.” “He’s got a cool accent!” It never occurred to me that my father spoke differently or had an accent. To me, he spoke like my father. Everyone spoke the way he spoke. “No, he doesn’t,” I snapped. “Yea, he does! It’s cool.” “Whatever,” I said with disdain. I was protective of it and protective of my father. So much so that I was turning my back on adolescent love for his good name. My experience with the sound of my father’s speech was quite different, I couldn’t hear his difference because it sounded like home to me. I was, in my naivete, bothered by the idea of my father being other. As far as I knew he was the best man I had ever known. He was not ‘other’, he was it.

I have now come to realize the tremendous gift he gave me by raising me in the cultural smorgasbord that is Brooklyn. He gave me the gift to navigate through all kinds of social circles with little turbulence. The gift to have experience and meet people from what and whom I may have been barred by means of my ‘blackness’ or socio-economic status. In a world that sometimes seems chock full of extremes rather than reason, my hope is to give the gift of Brooklyn to my students. Where, in a sea of homogenous faces, our kids can look difference in the eye with good judgement and esteemed curiosity. Together we strive to do a great work; to understand our neighbors and provide space for them to engage in our community as their truest selves. I am so grateful to be given to opportunity for my desk to become a pit stop for students, teachers and parents. With some elbow grease and hard reflection we can make Scituate a little more like Brooklyn ;-).

As a school we have decided to tackle race on our agenda for conversation. I’ve included a short but helpful article for parents. “6 Ways Parents Can Teach Their Kids About Race and Diversity.”

Jimmy Juste is Inly School’s Director of the Office of Inclusion and advises the school on programmatic, personnel, and community topics on diversity and equity. Before joining Inly, Jimmy taught middle and high school students in the NYC public school system. He also taught poetry at the Waverly School of the Arts in Brooklyn, NY and performing arts at MCC Theater, CenterStage NY, Usher New Look Foundation and Hospital Audiences Inc. Jimmy has worked as a professional background singer for the likes of Amos Lee, Patti Labelle, Josh Groban, Pete Seeger, Judy Collins and St. Luke’s Orchestra. A teacher of many talents, Jimmy has a degree in theater and communications from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and is currently working on a degree in interdisciplinary studies from the University of Massachusetts.

Print and Digital Find the Perfect Home

A look inside the Grealish Family Pavilion (Part One)

Step inside Inly’s wondrous new addition and you’ll be captivated by the quiet buzz of creative energy that radiates from the studios, classrooms, learning spaces… and from within. Here the worlds of print and digital, words and pictures, information and imagination work in harmony to inspire innovative thinking on many different levels.

First you’ll see the da Vinci Studio, an innovation lab made up of maker spaces dedicated to robotics, digital design and tinkering of all kinds. Inside the Imagination Station at the center of it all, students can stare up to the twinkling ceiling of the new library on the second floor.


It’s no coincidence that the two main spaces are linked in such a direct way. The worlds of print and technology have always worked together in thoughtful, meaningful ways at Inly.

“I have to say I feel really good about the prominence of the library in the new building,” says Head Librarian Shelley Sommer. “I feel that it really honors the role of reading. And the fact that we give equal space to both books and technology makes an important statement.”

Kelley Huxtable, Technology Integrationist, puts it this way: “These new spaces are all about ideas. They’re about making and sharing things and ideas and experiences. When you get to make something yourself, you’re completely engaged and you really own it. And that’s what really drives learning.”

Read more about the new building here:

New Innovation Hub Officially Unveiled at Inly School



Recent College Graduation News from the Inly Class of 2007

We were able to track down a few of our Inly Middle School alumni from the Class of 2007 and collect some recent college graduation news.

Detwiler_LiamLiam Detwiler (Inly ’07; Boston College High School ’11) graduated phi beta kappa from Georgetown University with a major in English and a double minor in history and sociology. He spent most of his time working on campus for the nation’s largest student-run credit union, where he became an executive of the operations department and helped manage over 17 million dollars in assets. He also helped to found a chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon on campus, was a part of the Georgetown student government, was the treasurer of a speechwriting club, and studied abroad at Trinity College in Dublin during his fall semester of junior year where he continued his love of travel by visiting 12 countries. Following graduation, Liam took a job as an internal, human capital consultant for Capital One where he will be working in Arlington, VA.

Johnson_LucyLucy Johnson (Inly ’07; Dana Hall School ’11) graduated from Wheaton College this May.  She was a studio art major with a concentration in sculpture and an ethnomusicology minor.  She sang in Voices United to Jam, the gospel and R & B singing group on campus (for which she was also the secretary); played steel drums in the Lymin Lyons steel drum band; and danced in Paraiso Latino, the school’s Latin dance group.  This summer she is interning at CATA (Community Access to the Arts), a non-profit arts organization in Great Barrington that offers music, dance and art workshops for people with special needs. She is also interning at Riverbrook, a residence for women with special needs in Stockbridge. In the fall Lucy hopes to move to Boston where she would like to work for an arts organization and/or work with the special needs population.

KaplanHartlaub_HannahHannah Kaplan-Hartlaub (Inly ’07; Commonwealth Academy ’11) just graduated from Smith College with a BA in Spanish and the sociology of education. She spent four years rowing for the Varsity Crew Team and dabbled in social justice organizing. She is spending the summer working at the Lucky Finn Cafe (go say hi!) and preparing to head off to Spain on a Fulbright English Teaching Fellowship in September.

MikeMike Kaplan-Hartlaub (Inly ’07; Cape Cod Academy ’11) recently graduated from Wheaton College with a major in psychology. While at Wheaton he joined the Best Buddies chapter and worked with children with developmental disabilities. Mike now works as a behavioral therapist at a psychological consulting firm called Applied Behavioral Analysis Consulting and Services (ABACS) that evaluates and provides treatment for children ages 4–18 with Autism Spectrum Disorder, in addition to other social and behavioral disorders.

Kelly_PaulPaul Kelly (Inly ’07; Boston College High School ’11) graduated from the College of the Holy Cross with a dual degree in political science and philosophy. He was inducted into the national Phi Sigma Tau honor society for the latter. During his last two years, he served as elected community organizer for Student Programs for Urban Development and staffed four political campaigns for the Massachusetts Democratic Party. He graduates having written a thesis on presidential administration of executive agencies and a capstone on the discursive structures surrounding the Affordable Care Act debate. He is currently working on submitting a paper on Heidegger’s existential analytic for review through Phi Sigma Tau.

Laiosa_RachelRachel Laiosa  (Inly ’07; Notre Dame Academy ’11) graduated from Providence College with two BA degrees, one in English and one in history. She is currently taking some time to catch up and travel before delving into her career path.

Noble_BrettBrett Noble (Inly ’07; Northwood School ’11) graduated from Husson University with a bachelor’s in criminal justice and a minor in business. In his junior year as part of the environmental club, Brett lobbied the school board for a solar farm on campus. The proposal was accepted and will be built by 2025. For his senior year capstone, Brett and four other students wrote legislation regarding drone regulation that is now being looked at by the Maine House of Representatives.

Ovans_ZoeZoe Ovans (Inly ’07; Commonwealth Academy ’11) graduated phi beta kappa from Johns Hopkins University with a double major in English literature and cognitive science. She’s still in Baltimore now working as the manager of the Johns Hopkins Laboratory for Language Processing and Development.

Phillips_JeremyJeremy Phillips (Inly ’07; St. George’s School ’11) graduated from Rhodes College in Memphis, TN in May with a dual degree in business and economics. Throughout his college career, Jeremy excelled in indoor and outdoor track and field. He was named Male Student-Athlete in the Southern Athletic Association several times and led his team to conference championships in 2013 and 2014. He broke two school records in the 100-meter dash and the 4×100 relay and qualified for the Division III NCAA National Championships in 2014 and 2015. []

Jeremy is also an active member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, participated in overseas studies in Belgium, and interned in business and finance in Memphis and New York City. Jeremy will be participating in the client services internship program with Deloitte in Memphis this summer and will be returning to Rhodes in the fall to begin a graduate program in accounting.

Silver_LindsayLindsay Silver (Inly ’07; Boston University Academy ’11) graduated cum laude from Haverford College with a major in English, and minors in computer science and Spanish. Her senior thesis was titled “The Ocean’s Indifference: Confronting Death in the Natural Landscape of Thoreau’s Cape Cod.” She is currently working at Haverford as a summer intern designing a website for the Haverford Library.