The Bridge 1-4

The Bridge 1.4

October 15, 2017

“I know we have only know each other for four weeks and three days, but to me it seems like nine weeks and five days”-Navin R. Johnson


The Bridge is a month old and I feel like Navin R. Johnson from The Jerk, we may have only been sending out this news for a month, but the positive response and feedback that we have received makes it feel like at least two months. The interest in City of Bridges is growing and there is a recognition that we need new models for education here in the region. As a result I have a few thoughts to share with you this week:

  1. I had the opportunity to attend the American Middle East Institute Annual Conference this past week. The focus of their 10th anniversary conference was “Transformational Technologies” and the presentations on innovations in health care and business were exciting. (There was also a short film on Oman, which resulted in placing the country near the top of my list of places to visit). One of the presenters told the story of the Choluteca Bridge in Honduras. It was built in the 1930s and spanned the Choluteca River.

The Bridge was designed to withstand hurricanes and when hurricane Mitch struck in     1998, these design considerations allowed to to survive the category 5 storm…..unfortunately the river moved….

Schools and education in the United States were designed to withstand the hurricanes and span the river from childhood until adulthood…..unfortunately the river has moved, childhood and adulthood are not in the same places and we need new ideas and ideals for schooling. City of Bridges High School is committed to transforming the learning and experiences of schooling.

2. This week also brought some sad news. My uncle Rev. Dr. David L. Bartlett passed away this week. He was a minister, faculty member at the divinity school of the University of Chicago, Yale Divinity School, Union Theological Seminary and Colombia Theological Seminary. He also served as a minister in multiple congregations. One of his sons, shared a note that my grandfather presented to my uncle.  My grandfather, Rev. Dr. Genus (Gene) Ebert Bartlett, shared the following wisdom:

“It is not a very easy or carefree generation into which you have come, David. Though all men in every country hate war and fear it, we are still killing each other as though there were nothing else to do. Hatreds we had not dreamed of have overrun us like floods. But, son, you must not run away from these things. You must do something about these. The Bible says of your namesake, ‘And David when he had served his generation fell on sleep’. We pray that you, too, may serve your generation. For when you do, son, you will discover the greatest truth that there is in this world. You will learn the wondrous fact that God is here and because of that all life has dignity and wonder and meaning. You will find that His presence in this world into which you have just come will put a song and a lantern in your heart.”
Reading this message this week I was in awe of its resonance 66 years after it was written. It seems as though “Hatreds we had not dreamed of have overrun us like floods.” And we “…must not run away from these things,”… we, “…. must do something about these.”  We continue to be live in times when we must not only acknowledge the hatreds of the world, but we must also not run away, instead we must act. City of Bridges is committed to action against hate and action for empathy, justice, peace, compassion, and joy. 
3. In education, as in many fields, we take ideas from the peers that we admire and adapt them to the needs of our communities and our students. It is my hope that we always make sure to give credit to those who inspire us! Along those lines I received the following message from The Stone Independent School in Lancaster PA, as part of their newsletter:
“And we’re watching Big Companies Make Amazing Mistakes.  Particularly SpaceX, particularly this awesome two minute SpaceX video called “How Not To Land an Orbital Rocket”.  It turns out it takes an incredible number of incredible mistakes to achieve real innovation — a lot of prototyping, a lot of revision, a lot of real failure (and a lot of exploding rockets!).  Here it’s worth wondering….if maybe schools should get a little better at embracing “failure” as a natural part of the learning process?”
I was especially drawn to the final article because I grew up in Northampton, Massachusetts, home of Smith College. I can assure you that City of Bridges will make mistakes and poor decisions. We will fail and regret our choices, but we will reflect on our failures and come together so that we can learn and grow and create something that serves each individual students and also the larger needs of peace, justice and love in the world. City of Bridges is committed to always try, to always celebrate our successes and to always learn from our failures.
These were longer thoughts this week, so I am going to leave it to just three. Please share City of Bridges with other people, please share your hope about the future with children and please share your curiosity and talents with the world.
Thank you and Be Well,

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