Grades 1/2 Meet with State Senator Rebecca Rausch

This fall and winter, as our first and second graders learned about community and identity, they thought deeply about what it means to be from Massachusetts. From the land itself to the myriad things that our state’s citizens have contributed to the world, students explored the shared experiences of all Bay Staters.

They became experts on the state flag of Massachusetts, learning about its symbols and their meanings, and comparing the flag to the other state flags in New England as well as to the flags of the Wampanoag and Mohawk Nations. With this groundwork, our Grades One/Two teaching team turned the conversation to considering others’ perspectives and points-of-view and directly discussed what Native Americans might think about the Massachusetts flag. After watching a video from WGBH of a Wampanoag man being interviewed about the flag, our students quickly determined that the flag is unjust towards Native Americans and that it needs to be changed. So, they got to work.

On January 15, 2021, during a school-wide "Action Day," in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., teachers unveiled a project for our first and second graders to each design a new state flag. They thought back to their lessons and conversations about what matters most to them about Massachusetts and drew on their understanding of symbols to represent ideas and beliefs. With this knowledge, they either kept aspects of the current flag while changing others, or they totally reimagined the flag.

The following week, one of the One/Two cohorts learned that our state government had recently approved legislation to form a committee to change the flag. Students connected with local State Senator Rebecca Rausch of Needham (a co-sponsor of this bill) to present their ideas to her and ask her questions about what it’s like to be a leader in the community. Recently, Senator Rausch joined all Charles River School first and second graders via Zoom to hear their ideas. From peace and unity to kindness and chocolate chip cookies (which were invented here in Massachusetts), Senator Rausch left with lots of ideas from CRS students. She also took time to answer questions about her role in public service.
Charles River School is a PreKindergarten through Grade 8 independent school that honors the pursuit of academic excellence and the joy of childhood. We nurture each child by igniting curiosity, encouraging creativity, and cultivating intellectual engagement. Our graduates know themselves, understand others, and shape the future of our diverse world with confidence and compassion.

Charles River School admits students of any race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin in administration of its educational or admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.