Summary:

Dear WPS Parents, Guardians & Community,

As our community opens another school year, we would be remiss if we did not mark the moment we are in as a nation. Education takes place within a sociopolitical context that is inescapable to our work with young people. As our students return, we remain in a global pandemic; we continue to experience the realities of the stain of racism on our nation. The images we are bearing witness to evoke a variety of emotions among many of us in our community. These images all carry stories behind them - some of which we may never fully know or understand. Nonetheless, we will hold them close; we will mark this moment with empathy.

As our PreK-12 educators reconnect with students, they are prepared to support students as they navigate this landscape with great care and empathy. This summer, our teams pressed into equity professional learning in order to support our district’s commitment to growing as a culturally sustaining, antiracist institution. Some of the topics we covered this summer: Exploring Racial Identity Development, Equity Literacy, Creating Culturally Responsive Lessons. Furthermore, for the first time, all of our team members participated in mandatory equity protocols training to further develop their understanding of issues of equity, and how to respond adequately to address inequity. We are proud of these snapshots of progress. We remain committed to growing as a culturally sustaining school district. Our work will continue despite national efforts to undermine the importance of our commitment to equity, especially racial equity.

Our engagement in this complex work requires us to prioritize awareness, empathy, vulnerability. It requires us to hold fast to our district’s core values of Academic Excellence, Commitment to Community, Respect for Human Differences, Cooperative and Caring Relationships. We will be successful in our work with your collaboration and support. There will be many opportunities to engage with one another on the pertinent issues of diversity, equity and inclusion during this year. We are particularly grateful for the opportunity to work with our PTOs/PTSOs to accomplish this work. Please be on the lookout for programming that will support your learning in order to strengthen our home-school connections!

WHAT WE’RE READING:

Confronting the Weaponization of Whiteness in Classrooms, Teaching Tolerance

The Consequences of the Diploma Divide, in The New York Times

Schools Confronting Racism and Community Pushback, in The Atlantic

“Experimental Evidence on Teachers’ Racial Bias in Student Evaluation: The Role of Grading Scales” , in Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis

WHAT WE’RE LISTENING TO/WATCHING:

New York Times: Nice White Parents Podcast

Bibi: A film by Victor Duenas

The Racial Wealth Gap – This 30-minute documentary vividly explains how the gap in wealth by racial groups in the U.S. has grown since World War II.

Documents:

Submitted: Oct 18, 2020