Reading and Writing Our Way Forward
Dear Inwood Academy Seniors,
I’ll share a secret with you if you promise not to “clown” me. My happiest moments under quarantine have involved reading your creative writing submissions. Your words have drowned out the incessant sirens and snatched me away from the daily headlines. During a time of legally enforced separation, your writing has gifted me moments of complete connectedness. Though immensely varied, your work as a whole shares a fierce loyalty to our IALCS community and a willingness to participate in solution-finding. Speaking frankly, noticing these qualities in you brings me comfort. As your teachers, we operate with an awareness that our futures are bound up with yours. That your ideas and innovations will lead the way forward. When we first began our transition to remote learning, I worried that our classroom assignments would distract from your ability to manage the daily demands of the pandemic. I’m glad to admit that I was mistaken. Your work has revealed to me that the truth is the exact opposite. That the current state of the world renders literature and language more indispensable than ever before.
I’m comforted to know that wiser, more veteran members of our IAL community had long ago uncovered this truth. Last week, our school founder & CEO Christina Reyes announced a school-wide literacy campaign promoting the acts of reading and writing as essential to our community’s wellbeing. The new #InwoodReads #InwoodWrites Initiative will facilitate your access to books and writing opportunities across disciplines.
In alignment with #InwoodReads #InwoodWrites, I’ve updated our 12th grade ELA curriculum to grant you more freedom in coursework while increasing skill-based support as you dive into books and pick up your pens. Your overarching assignment for the remainder of the year is to build upon the work you’ve already begun: utilizing literature and language to make sense of the world around you. In concrete terms, this will involve whole-group writer workshops and individual book consultations. We will all share a book tracker on google drive revealing our current book of choice and linking our writing. Your final assignment will be interdisciplinary in nature: a mixture of literary analysis and personal narrative. On a school-wide level, we will document our journey through a blog that will be assembled and published as a book at the end of the year. My sole job as your teacher is to help you access books that speak to each of you and writing tools that clarify your voices. As seniors, you’ve inherited the responsibility of modeling forward movement for the underclassmen. Now as far as you and I go, I still have a full 35 days left as your classroom leader and boy do I have plans for us. Dust off those books and sharpen your pencils. We have work to do . #InwoodWritesforHope