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December 2018

Written by David Kersey h'98

Dear Alumni,
 
Very much in tune with the times, the School has been looking at gender issues and what they mean in an all-boys school. Last summer’s required faculty readings were books that focused on gender equity, and a recent all-day meeting of the faculty and staff was aimed at engendering the same sense of awareness. Several Upper School faculty meetings have centered around how our current boys and young alumni are getting on with girls.
 
The boys are doing much the same thing in morning advisory meetings where questions arising from the Senate confirmation hearings were discussed recently and Social Justice and Digital Fluency Class where they have looked at gender bias. In Health and Wellness Class, the boys are reading Speak and discussing dating and consent, and in their regular classes taking up gender as it arises—patriarchy in Chinese dynasties, Curly's nameless wife in Of Mice and Men, women’s suffrage in America, the “incurably male” protagonist of the short story “The Ledge ,” and the gender tangle that was this fall’s Upper School production ofTwelfth Night. The Spanish teachers are doing research for the International Boys’ School Coalition that involves using storytelling to foster empathy in adolescent boys. “Feminism” is a new Upper School elective this term to which I respond: what took us so long? 
 
Boys in boys’ schools need to talk about girls and women; they need to listen to girls and women; they need to read about their experience and challenges. And on the frontline of this instruction are my female colleagues. In preparing this letter I asked them how they liked teaching boys. Their responses were all the same: I love teaching boys! I love it! They’re wonderful and different! Love them! I love teaching boys, that’s why I’m a teacher. I love them so much; they’re game for anything. Each of them went on about teaching boys, but it was clear to me from their first responses that boys are learning a good deal about gender equity and learning a good deal else as well. I wanted you to know.
 
Fortiter et Recte, 
 
David Kersey h'98
Faculty since 1969

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David Kersey h'98
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Allen-Stevenson’s distinctive “enlightened traditional” approach educates boys to become scholars and gentlemen.