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Navigating the year 2020

Every four years, presidential elections provide a way to teach basic civics lessons as well as lessons in leadership, fairness and basic values.

The 2020 election offered a exceptional case study in how this work can happen in a school that connects the classroom experience directly with the real world.

Key lessons from 2020: A timeline

October 19, 2020
On October 19th, Assistant Head of School Lynn Bowman wrote families about election conversations in the classrooms, reviewing some Gordon values that are timeless and non-partisan.

Read it here


October 31, 2020
On October 31st, Head of School Noni Thomas López followed up with notes for parents and faculty on how to care for themselves, and each other, during this historic moment.

Read it here

On election day, Gordon's social media offered samples of the age-appropriate lessons happening across the school:
Nursery: facebook // instagram
Preschool: facebook // instagram
Kindergarten: facebook // instagram
third and fourth grade facebook instagram
fourth grade facebook instagram
seventh grade facebook instagram
eighth grade facebook


November 4, 2020
On the day after election day, the work of the Gordon School continued, as Dr. Thomas López explained in a note to families.

Read it here


January 6, 2021
In the hours after the Capitol riots of January 6th, Dr. Thomas López reached out to families again.

Read her message here


January 20, 2021
The January 20th inauguration brought closure to the process for many students, as documented here. Students spoke to Linda Borg of the Providence Journal, who helped amplify their voices in an article later that day.

Additional resources

Especially recommended by Ms. Bowman for parents during the days before the election:
Anti-Defamation League
Talking with young people after the election

More from the resource list circulating among Gordon teachers in early November 2020:
Global oneness project
Five habits to heal the heart of democracy

Washington Post
Six ways adults can help children make sense of a divisive election

Parents Magazine
Six tips for talking about the outcome of the election with kids

Teaching Tolerance
Teaching the 2020 election: what will you do on Wednesday?

Parents Magazine
The Electoral College, explained for kids


This is what the conversation looked like in second grade, Monday, November 2, 2020. Want to learn more? Read the fine print on: