One of the eighth grade finalists in the University of Rhode Island essay contest just added a new item to her resume: she'll have an essay published by the New York Times this Sunday.
The New York Times' sixth annual student editorial contest invited young writers to submit "a well-told story about unfairness in your own voice." The Gordon eighth grader's work was one of twelve essays chosen out of two hundred submissions to be published in the NYT Kids section.
Her essay drew on something she witnessed in seventh grade, while at a dance at a local school. She used the experience as an opportunity to talk about gender equity, dress codes, and the difference between intent and impact.
Dress codes and gender equity are topics that are being discussed in every level of the school this year. A task force of Gordon Middle School teachers has been meeting since January, researching best practices, gathering student perspectives, and drafting a revised set of expectations that will be in place in September.
"We believe in continuous improvement," explains Middle School Director Gabe Burnstein, "and we wanted to question all of our assumptions and rebuild the dress code to better reflect our mission. We expect our graduates to think clearly and critically and to use their skills to make a positive impact on society. That's exactly what this eighth grader did, and I hope educators across the country read her essay and find inspiration."