While striking an ideal balance between education, observing, honoring, and respecting the developmental levels of children is always difficult on occasions such as the date of September 11th, this year we were especially thoughtful, deliberate, and appropriate in our efforts to dignify the date and events that it commemorates. For our school wide recognition, we attempted to make relevance of the date to our own community, provide a historical context for young children (not yet born in 2001), and reinforce the values that we hold dear in our nation and our school community.
After a handful of discussions on the matter by members of our teaching faculty, we elected to honor September 11th 2001, its losses, and the sacrifices made, by enacting a program that was many things to many people.
We started the day with a gathering of our staff around the CSDA flagpole for a flag raising ceremony. During the ceremony, there was an opening statement, flag raising, a moment of silence, and a speech, After students arrived, we marked the September 11th occasion with a special commemorative statement during announcements. Our school counselor had shared materials with staff, and communicated with them in advance of the 11th, to support the conversations that they were likely to have with students that day. We did not intend to spend much time addressing September 11th in the context of the school day, but anticipated that there would be questions from students about the events of the day in 2001, that we would need to address responsibly.
As our school clocks registered the time of the first incident of tragedy on September 11th, 2001, members of our school community were invited to stand in honor of the losses and sacrifices of the day. Later, during lunch times, and in the early part of the afternoon, students and staff had an opportunity to sign and write notes on two large banners we created to mark the day, and thank our local emergency services personnel for all that they do to keep us safe here in Brookline every day. The students were pleased for the opportunity to make their sincere statement of appreciation to our 'community heroes'.
Before the close of the day, the banners were delivered to the Brookline Fire and Police Departments by CSDA student representatives, along with a special letter written by the 5th Grade representative on the delivery trip -- that she wrote on her own, and without prompting, to thank our Brookline firefighters for their service, dedication, heroism.
Despite the tragic and heinous nature of the original events of September 11th, 2001, our students and staff made the best of the date to recognize the good that came from that day, reflect on the things that we hold most dear about being Americans, and to thank those in our community who step up to keep us safe and preserve our way of life here in Brookline, every moment of every day.