Sharing my thoughts....
I’ve been thinking about writing this post for a while.
If you spend any time around me at all, you know how much I love our school. I love the way it looks, the way it sounds, the exhausting things about it, and how much joy is squeezed into the space shared by all of us. When it’s empty on a Saturday or in the summer, it shines and echoes with everything that happens on days and weeks when it is filled; filled with little and big humans, a place where life happens every day; a school.
It is the experiences that happen at school that make it so wonderful, and those experiences are beautiful because of the unique identities of those that we are so blessed to have with us. This is where I want to be very clear: we are wonderful because of who walks in our doors; we are rich with possibility and grace because of the identities of the people who learn in our building, not in spite of them.
The truth is that, 10 years ago, our school didn’t look the way it does now. Even though our building is located in a predominantly white neighborhood, close to 80% of our families in 2010 were Black and brown. Over the last decade, white families have returned to the school from both charter and private institutions. A choice program in music, modeled after the El Sistema program in Venezuela, brought more students to our school. With these additions, our demographic picture has shifted to include a nearly perfect one-third balance each of Black, white, and Hispanic students - almost 1,000 strong.
More to love? Yes. More to learn? Absolutely.
And so, to make it perfectly clear, every child and every family that we are so blessed to serve is important and valued and equal. Black lives matter in school. Love is love is love for all who come together and form a family. It is not our business how you came to our doors; it is only important that you are here. No human being is illegal.
When you come to us, we owe your children and family three things: that we see and celebrate your child’s identity and work with all families and children to do the same; that we work with all of our power and ability to bring your child to a mastery level of learning, while recognizing and celebrating their individual gifts; and that we help them find their seat at the table and their place in the world, looking with eyes wide open to all possibilities.
Knowing this, we will work with everything we have to see and maintain each child’s dignity, and commit to being the dreamkeepers for all of them. We will resist the practices of the past that made some people’s opinions more important than others, and we will work to dismantle hate and oppression along with promoting kindness and empathy.
And, because our children - your children - depend on us keeping to this standard, we will hold you to it as well.
The world is depending on all of us.
Yours in equity and education,