June 2, 2020 (sent via email)
Good Evening Seth Boyden Families,
We want to share with you our thoughts and plans regarding the protests sweeping our nation, sparked by the killing of George Floyd. We spent the last two days meeting with staff as grade levels to discuss how to best support our students and would like to share our plans with you. But first, we must echo the feelings of so many during this time. We stand against racism, inequity and bias in all forms and recognize that long-standing systems exist in our country and world that continue to be a barrier to the full realization of the potential of all black and brown people and other marginalized groups. Our responsibility as educators and human beings is to combat these systems through our most powerful weapon…education. We recognize that the lens that many of us view this through is that of privilege. We know fully that the conversations that we hold with our own children about these topics are different than the ones that parents of color are forced to have. We are committed to our continued growth in identifying and addressing the complex issues that exist around social justice and equity. We know that we may never truly understand, but we seek understanding, and stand in support of black, brown and marginalized people.
We also understand and honor the agency of parents in deciding what information they want shared with their children, and who they want sharing it with them. We are forced to recognize that in our current situation, we are not able to address these issues in the way that we most fervently wish we could. Ideally, we would have these discussions together, as a community where students’ feelings, concerns, fears, and emotions would be immediately addressed and supported by teachers, staff and administration. We are not able to do what we long for, and so we have worked on a plan to support students from afar as best we can.
Our K-2 teachers will utilize resources around culture competency, diversity and social-emotional learning that help build the foundation for the understanding and acceptance of difference as well as a developmentally appropriate understanding of the historical context of inequality that has existed in our country from its inception. Teachers and staff are available for students to discuss their feelings and provide a safe space. Staff will not directly share details about the current state of affairs as we realize that our families need to make individual decisions about what information they wish their children to access.
Our 3-5 teachers will be contacting families with resources they want to share, and follow-up activities with staff in which students may participate. Again, the intention is to have parents make the decision on what they want shared with their students.
Our plans are meant to address the current social unrest and its deep, long-standing roots. In addition, we continue to plan for, discuss and identify additional ways to incorporate equity work into our everyday instruction and interactions. Most important, we recognize and commit to making certain that these immediate actions will not be seen as a “remedy”. What is happening around us makes clear that we must all do the work necessary to effect change so all people truly have the same rights and protections.
We want to make available to you any resources that we have, including the need for counseling or support with our District’s social workers. Also, the district will be having a parent workshop with Dr. Eddie Fergus and child/adolescent psychologist, Dr. Adam Price, on June 16th at 7:30 p.m. titled “Talking to our Kids About Current Events, Racial Injustice and Equity.” Details to follow soon.
Please know that we are here for you if you need us. Do not hesitate to reach out and let us know if we can be of any support during this painful and difficult time.
Mrs. Glander and Ms. Murphy