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6/5/20 Superintendent Update

6/5/20 Superintendent Update
Posted on 06/05/2020

Hello Families,

 

It has been a very long and hard week for the nation, our town, our school community, our families, and our students. We are contending with so many worries, from COVID to the events and conversations surrounding George Floyd's death and the long-overdue national conversation on racism in our country, to our own Natick budget problems.

 

It is natural, in a moment like this, to feel helpless and as if things are out of control. If you and your family are struggling, please reach out to our staff and we will support you.  

 

Today, I sat on a women's panel discussing what education will look like post-COVID and sharing our lessons learned. While there is much to say, and many lessons learned, the biggest for me is that we are all in a crisis of connection —either not enough or too much — and we are grieving on so many fronts it is hard to stay positive or see how we can improve our current state of living. But out of crisis comes strength and new paths that may not have been taken before out of fear or apathy.  

 

I choose to see this week as one that opened doors for us to have community (and national) dialogue about issues we have avoided previously and to find solutions to local problems we have not been able to solve. These can be growth opportunities for us, if we lean in and take advantage of them.

 

To this end, we have asked our teachers and administrators to support classroom dialogues about issues of racism and the current national dialogue that students are witnessing unfold in the news and on social media. We asked them to facilitate these conversations in ways that are developmentally appropriate and that uphold our work to allow students to achieve the core content of the Natick Profile of a Graduate: empathy, critical thinking, resilience, collaboration, and communication. As educators it is our duty to help all students become the citizens they must be for our future and our message has been to lean in and listen to the complexity and difficulty of the issues. Some of these conversations have been messy and imperfect, but these messy and imperfect conversations help bring sense and communication to the images that kids are seeing on social media. These conversations aim to support our mission as a school system.

 

There is no one Black perspective or one White perspective. There is no one Police Officer's view or action. There is no one type of protester. There are individuals with ideas and worries, individuals who take actions and discuss and make or solve issues. But what we must collectively acknowledge is that historically the lives of Black people have been unduly impacted by systemic racism.

 

In our conversations with teachers and students, we have come to see that students see this as their generations' revolution and want to make the world better. Our staff have modeled the courage to take on these hard conversations this week and will support our students in the coming weeks as well. Our social justice curriculum keeps these issues front and center in our work. We choose literature and writing, debates and resources to help students think through issues on their own and their families. 

 

Here are some of our partners in this work:

SPARK Kindness

Facing History and Ourselves

Anti-Defamation League

Primary Source

Equity and Expectations

Natick is United

 

If you would like to know more about our work, please visit our social justice resource page: http://www.natickps.org/about/socialjustice.

 

I wish you a result weekend,

Anna  

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