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King School

An independent day school educating students PreK-Grade 12

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King School Celebrates Martin Luther King Jr.
Beverly Presenting

King School’s commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging permeates every aspect of the school’s community, especially in January. At King, celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. spans the entire month as students across the divisions research his life, examine his impact, and recognize the power of his example. The school’s hallways bare his quotes, lessons explore his vision, and conversations echo his dreams.

In the Lower School, Leigh Roberts, Library Media Specialist, and Lower School Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Coordinator, curated resources for teachers and students and updated the book displays in the lower school hallway in honor of Dr. Martin King Jr. Day. 

Connecting King School's virtues to the work of Dr. King, Roberts facilitated discussions about kindness during Prekindergarten, Kindergarten, and Grade 1 classes. Incorporating books like Grace Byers' book “I Am Enough,” Roberts facilitated student discussions about identity, kindness, and language that would promote a peaceful and joyful community.

LS Students working on hands

In Grades 2 and 3, Roberts read "Say Something" by Peter H. Reynolds and posed the question, “How can you use your voice to advocate for yourself and others?" The students brainstormed how to spread kindness and support equity and justice in their classrooms and beyond. They also used databases for independent research about Dr. King and other inspiring change-makers.

Grades 4 and 5 studied the 1960s, viewing video book previews for “A Child of Dreams” by Sharon Robinson, “Revolution” by Deborah Wildes, and “Brown Girl Dreaming" by Jacqueline Woodson. Students were asked during their lessons to be critical thinkers, recognize the power of words, and become researchers and advocates. In conjunction with tasks in their literacy and science classes, students also accessed online resources about Dr. King to broaden their knowledge and develop research skills, thus deepening their comprehension.

Quote walk

Lower school lessons culminated with each student choosing a word that reflected the learning. Students traced their handprints and inscribed the drawings with their words. Various skin tone crayons and colorful markers were available for the students to exercise their creativity and tailor the designs. Their drawings will be part of a community art display in the library windows later this month.

In Middle School, teachers Anna Lubowitz and George Lewis created a Martin Luther King Jr. quote-walk in the second-floor hallway. The exercise built on past lessons Lewis has led in his history classroom. 

“We wanted to have the students interact with Dr. King's work in a meaningful way that helped them to move beyond his biography and apply his teachings to their lives and world,” wrote Lubowitz, who teaches English and serves as a Grade 7 team leader.

Student discussion

Each student was given an index card and asked to silently walk through the hall and choose a quote that resonated, which they then wrote onto the card. Next, the advisory groups met, and students discussed their choices. Advisors challenged students to think about how the words of Dr. King apply to the current world. Students also discussed how Dr. King might view current issues, including school violence, race protests, and political unrest.

Following the observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day this week, Upper School students convened on Tuesday in the Performing Arts Center theater for a powerful presentation from Dr. Clyde Beverly III P’33,’34, Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging at King. 

Beverly at podium

Audience members first viewed a clip from the film “King in the Wilderness” before listening to a recitation of Willa Porter’s poem “Thirty-Nine Years - Too Short - Too Long - Long Enough” by Beverly. Both works set the foundation of Dr. King’s life and highlighted that his mission was the responsibility of everyone.

“Dr. King did more than dream,” Beverly told the audience, “he lived.”

Beverly discussed his dreams growing up and invited audience members to share their dreams, speaking them into existence, as Dr. King had done.

Students were encouraged to care for themselves as a means to achieve personal and collective dreams. They were encouraged to make time for walking, reading, meditating, playing video games, and any other activity that would bring balance and peace.

Beverly concluded by drawing a parallel between King School's virtues and Dr. King's values, challenging everyone to uphold them as they pursue their dreams.