Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot to speak at MMS

I hope you will join me and our faculty on March 7 for a discussion about the complexity of communication between parents and school with Dr. Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot, a distinguished educator and author of The Essential Conversation: What Parents and Teachers Can Learn From Each Other.”

We invited Dr. Lawrence-Lightfoot to MMS as part of our effort this year to focus on a more unified and supportive school climate. In our classrooms, teachers and students have been discussing common values and defining what is expected in their relations to others. This is not idle talk. The expectations are real, and we continue to develop age-appropriate consequences when boundaries are crossed.

Parents, too, have a role in supporting our values and modeling the respectful behavior we expect from our students. As we bring parents into this initiative, inevitably there will be difficult conversations as people come to this community with diverse values, life experiences, temperaments, and expectations. How well we communicate with one another will affect how successful we are at creating a harmonious and vibrant culture in which your children can thrive.

In her meaningful book, Dr. Lawrence-Lightfoot describes the parent-teacher relationship as subtle, emotional, intimate, and at times, necessarily uncomfortable. No child is perfect, and there will be bumps in the road. When the conversation goes awry, and the spirit of trust is jeopardized, the child can suffer.

Using vignettes to describe the complexity of these interactions, Dr. Lawrence-Lightfoot analyzes the deep interpersonal dynamics at work. She profiles successful teachers who have learned how to manage the conversation so that parents feel connected, understand boundaries, and can participate in their child’s education in a productive way.

She also interview parents who describe how their relationships with teachers have succeeded or failed, and how they worked at understanding the real meanings of a teacher’s words so that they can support the needs of their child.

In a conversation earlier this month with Dr. Lawrence-Lightfoot, Bob Reveri and I talked about the dynamics of our community and what we hope to accomplish with our evening with her on March 7. She observed, “This is a bridge-building moment.” We heartily concur.

Our faculty will be in attendance. Refreshments will begin at 6 p.m., and the presentation will begin at 6:30 p.m. Please note that the date of Dr. Lawrence-Lightfoot’s visit was changed from March 8 at her request. Also, the Parents Association meeting previously scheduled for March 6 will not be held.

Dr. Lawrence-Lightfoot is the author of eight books. In 1993, she received a prestigious MacArthur Foundation fellowship.

Her book can be purchased at the reception desk for $15. She will sign your copy if you bring it to the program.

Don’t miss this wonderful evening.

Warm regards,