Now that the Derek Chauvin verdict is known, I want to share what’s on my heart as I think about the coming days and weeks as our community responds to the verdict.
I turn to our young people for hope
I am inspired by our students. They are passionate and committed to solving our most important problems, including eliminating pervasive and systemic racism. As adults, we can’t do that work alone; we will do better when we band together with young people not only to create transformational change but also to sustain it.
The most important thing to us right now is the well-being of our students
We know students’ sense of well-being is directly connected to their ability to learn. Our school counselors, school psychologists, school social workers and mental health partners are among the many caring adults who will listen deeply to your student and help them feel safe. Every school will continue offering spaces for students to process their emotions with trusted adults. And every day, students will be surrounded by adults who love young people and will walk alongside them in difficult times.
Schools reflect our community and provide safety net support
Schools are microcosms of our community, so what you see happening in our community at large will also be felt in school. Please know that we are continuing to do whatever we can to meet students’ academic, social and emotional needs; to offer outside resources for additional family support; and to provide the stability and comfort of a regular school routine. We will continue with in-person learning (except for the Distance Learning Academy, which remains a fully online school) unless conditions require a different approach.
Our racial and cultural diversity is one of our greatest strengths
Our community’s racial, cultural and linguistic diversity contributes to vibrant school communities that reflect the world around us. It also means that every day, we have the opportunity to engage with others whose perspectives and life experiences may be different from our own. Listening to others, seeking to understand, and affirming the equal intrinsic value of each person will bring us together during difficult times. In all of our brilliant differences, we are one district.
Our mission and core values continue to guide us
When reflecting on traumatic events around us, we may ask, “What do we really believe? What do we stand for?” Our mission and core values answer those questions, and they guide our work every day. School Board Policy 101 officially affirms our commitment to provide every student respectful learning environments in which the student’s racial and ethnic identity is valued and contributes to successful academic outcomes for all students. In traumatic circumstances, our clear mission and core values help us stay centered.
Thank you for everything you’re doing to support your student. I also appreciate your gestures of support to staff, who are persevering through difficulties of their own but continuing to show up every day with a singular focus on children. I’m grateful for every kindness you extend to them.