Monday, January 30, 2017

The Importance of Being "Known"






I shared the following thoughts with my staff this morning. I wanted to share them with all of you as well.

I am keenly mindful, as I’m sure many of you are as well, that the events in our country and around the world may be impacting families, students, and staff members in our district. I’ve had some good conversations with several of you recently about the challenge of remaining politically neutral in a school setting while being able to advocate and support those among us who may be feeling targeted for a variety of reasons in the current climate.

We do not wear buttons, march, or carry signs in school, nor do I believe that we should. Our role is not to further polarize. However, we work in a diverse school community where right now some of our students who do not speak English at home may feel vulnerable, students with family members abroad may be worried that they will not be able to come home, and some students may feel that they, or their families, do not have voice in our country right now. Regardless of political affiliation, our job is to make sure that all of our students and staff members feel respected, welcomed, and known here. What we do everyday in our micro-level interactions with students makes the greatest impact as to whether or not they feel valued and safe.

I had the privilege of joining a social studies class on Inauguration Day and listening to our students talk about the speeches and the issues, and I was so impressed with their ability to listen, disagree, and learn from each other in the face of some deep divides.

Regardless of the divides in our community and in our country, I am asking you to please make a special effort in the coming weeks to really see your students and connect with them. I believe so strongly that the sense of community we create within our school does make a difference outside of our walls.

Thank you for your continued partnership,
JoAnn