From the Desk of Jay Rainey – February 14, 2020

“What are your favorite things about MICDS?” I posed this question to some of my fellow diners on Wednesday in the Middle School lunchroom, a preferred hangout for local epicurean tweens. “The food!” said one sixth grader. Well, obviously. “I love how open everyone is,” offered another. “Tell me more about that,” I said.

“I feel like everyone listens to each other’s opinions and learns from each other,” she replied. “And why do you think that is?” I asked. “Because we care about each other.”

I asked another student what she had been learning lately. “We’re studying meteorology in science,” she said. “We’re learning about weather patterns.” (Note to self: consult with the sixth grade before making the next snow-day decision.)

A group of boys at the next table said that their math class was working on funding a hypothetical start-up business. “We’re trying to decide if the person who invests the most money should own most of the business,” one of them informed me. “Well, does that investor have more sweat equity in the business?” I asked. “Is there any intellectual property?” For the next five minutes, we discussed the concept of equity.

David Brooks wrote an opinion piece yesterday in the New York Times that considered the German word “bildung,” a term that defies easy translation into English. “It means the complete moral, emotional, intellectual and civic transformation of the person,” Brooks offers. “Today, Americans often think of schooling as the transmission of specialized skill sets — can the student read, do math, recite the facts of biology. Bildung is devised to change the way students see the world. It is devised to help them understand complex systems and see the relations between things — between self and society, between a community of relationships in a family and a town.”

In literature, as I remember well from many years of teaching English, a “Bildungsroman” is a coming-of-age story. Bildungsromans are our business at MICDS – nearly 1,250 of them being written and read every day. Our equity is the care that we invest in each other, our openness to each other’s stories, our curiosity and our hard work. Every morning begins another page as we come of age together.

Always reason, always compassion, always courage. Happy Valentine’s Day to you and your families, and happy Presidents Day weekend. I will see you next week as our stories continue.

Jay Rainey
Head of School