Last week, a group of parents from my kids’ school, along with some dedicated kid helpers, raised a library. The Dante Alighieri Montessori School is a tiny little K-6 public elementary school in East Boston, both part of the (giant) Boston Public School system and the only Montessori school within it. We love this school for so many different reasons, but near the top of the pile is the amazing, committed parent council, who grapple with issues of welcoming, equity, multi-lingualism, multi-culturalism, kindness, and peace, right along with our kids and their teachers.
JoAnn Cox, Elsa Wiehe and I were unofficial co-chairs of the library build committee, and with help from what feels like a cast of thousands, we completed phase 1 of the library build. Here are some excerpts from the thank you letter written by JoAnn:
Yesterday, at 3pm, we left the school with a transformed “library”/conference
space/special ed room, housed in the room named La Ceiba. I’m hopeful all will enjoy this repository of knowledge, source of education, destination for curiosity, space for exploration, and locusfor rumination.
What started as an idea and a conversation with Giordana in the spring
of 2016 while Ethan raced Lucy in the school play area is now closer
to a vision developed over the years with Elsa joining as one of the
leaders to find funding.
Hundreds of hours from volunteer efforts as well as some fundraising
dollars went into this project, one we wanted to see happen at the
school–and all of you helped make it happen. All of the efforts deserve an award: planningmeetings and funding research; conversations with Kate Scheid and support from the school staff; the guidance and support of community members Sharon Gentges (architect), Margaret Kelly (East Boston branch library), and Deborah Froggatt (BPS librarian); the generous funding
from Brown Rudnick; and additional support from funds raised for the
school. A large team of volunteers–you!–with assistance of the 5th & 6th years, family members, and students–transformed an awkward and crowded space in three days; La Ceiba stands ready to embrace all activities, taking advantage of the light and airy qualities of the room.
We are truly in phase 1 of the project– next phases include cataloging the books (Dewey Decimal System rears its ugly head!), weeding, fundraising for additional titles to include, integrating with in-classroom libraries. However, we can’t be more happy with the way things have turned out thus far.