It has come to our attention that there was pushback concerning the discussion of changing MLC’s Yin Yang symbol. Some of this negative feedback focused on the lack of student involvement, that they weren’t having their voices heard, and didn’t in fact want to change the symbol. On the contrary, many students have already petitioned the staff to look at this issue, and at this present moment a large number of students agree that it is time to let go of our past. MLC tries to foster awareness in all of its students, and many feel that this is not reflected in the school symbol’s representation.
We understand there is some confusion as to why this is even an issue in the first place: This is a complicated, multi-faceted topic. The following are some aspects students have discussed in conjunction with why we should change our symbol. The Yin Yang comes from Taoism where its title is Taijitu. MLC has always prided itself in actively striving to remove biases and promote inclusivity in its learning environment, which in part is why we try not to celebrate religious holidays at MLC. It remains that the Taijitu is part of a religious philosophy that MLC does not teach on the whole.
In the past we’ve had Chinese exchange students visit this school and have been asked if we’re a religious institution because of the yin yang. What do we say to these students? There simply is no good answer to this that doesn’t involve explaining the hypocrisy of the situation. Additionally, we capitalize off this symbol, making it the forefront of all of our merchandise, while not honoring its significance or history, and silencing students who aren’t comfortable with this.
Consider if our symbol was a cross or Star of David and we used those symbols wherever we saw fit, on PTSA boards, water bottles, and shirts for our students. There would be no question in our community that those symbols would need to change. It seems to be easier for MLC to borrow significant aspects from eastern cultures for our own use without considering their historical significance at all. For example some of our activities at Renaissance Fair, like the henna station at Renaissance Fair, or a former fortune-telling station, a very obvious caricature of Romani people.
With these pieces in mind Student Government feels the question is not whether or not we should change our mascot, but rather how we effectively represent our school’s moral values. Looking to our next steps as a school we agree with parents and alumni that this decision should not be made lightly, and should be made as a community. We look forward to reflecting on who we are as a school and how we can represent that to the greater world.
Sincerely, Student Government
August 22, 2016
I would like to officially welcome you to the 2016-17 school year. I hope your summer has gone well and you are excited for the beginning of the new school year. I anticipate a wonderful year, full of opportunity as we collectively foster a strong culture of learning at MLC. We are proud to be a unique school that is rooted in collaboration and experiential learning and we will continue to provide experiences throughout the year that develop curious and empowered learners. I am privileged to have the opportunity to begin my second year as your principal and feel honored to work with our dedicated staff, wonderful students, and supportive parents. This summer, many of our teachers have attended professional development trainings and are eager to implement new strategies that support and differentiate instruction to meet the needs of all of our students. They have been working hard in preparing their instructional plans, lesson ideas, and assessment strategies with your students in mind.
We have had the opportunity to add some new staff that will bring varied experiences and perspectives to our school. At this time the new members of our team include the following:
Please welcome each of them to our MLC community.
I truly believe that communication is a key element to a successful educational experience for your child. Education is a partnership between the school, students, families, and community. To that end, I am committed to using a variety of ways to communicate with families including our school website, a brief weekly email blast from the office called “Short and Sweet” which provides meeting dates and reminders, monthly coffees, and School Messenger that gives us one tool with the ability to send out texts, emails, and phone auto-dialer messages containing important information, reminders, and emergency notifications.
This year we have added the beginning of the year conferences to include grades 1-12. The purpose of these early conferences is to deepen relationships and provide a clear and mindful path for each student to start the year in a positive direction. Please plan to attend with your child. Electronic sign up links are posted on our website.
As you might know, research clearly supports that when parents/guardians participate and are involved in their child’s education, there is a greater likelihood of academic success for their child. With that in mind we invite you to become an active participant in our school community through volunteering, joining our PTSA and Foundation, and attending school events. In order to create a more inclusive PTSA that serves the needs of our families, we want your participation. Meetings are the third Thursday of the month at 6:30 in the library. Please know that you are welcome in our building and consider joining us as a volunteer if you are able. There is a sign-up form in your opening packet or contact the main office if you are interested.
The first notable PTSA sponsored event on the calendar, is the “Welcome Back to School” Potluck for families on Saturday, August 27th on the playground from Noon-2:00 which will also include an opportunity for high school families to get together at 1:30. The potluck will follow our Community Care Clean-Up, an opportunity in which we can all pitch in to spruce up the school inside and out before students return. Community Care is from 9:00-Noon and all are welcome.
Our parent volunteers have worked diligently to prepare an opening day packet for our families. Please take a moment to review contents and complete the very important Student Verification Form. It is also important to fill out the Free and Reduced paperwork if you think your family qualifies. You can apply electronically at the following link, https://district.ode.state.or.us/apps/frlapp/ Even if your child will not be eating the school lunch; the percentage of students qualifying represents important resources for the school.
Make note of the events on our August-September calendar including conferences for grades 1-12, the first day of classes, staggered starts for kindergarteners, and curriculum nights. For new parents, I will be hosting informal meet and greet opportunities on Friday, September 2nd at 8:45 and Wednesday, September 7th at 6:00. For future events please regularly check our website for information and dates.
I look forward to our work together as we support the Metropolitan Learning Center community.
Dear PPS staff and families,
Summer has started, but we want to let you know that the PPS Task Force on the Superintendent Recruitment is continuing to meet on a regular basis and work is happening daily to advance our efforts to find and recruit our next superintendent. We have a final position description and are still actively recruiting candidates. We appreciate the feedback and candidate recommendations we have received from the community to date. Below are highlights of our last meeting. We will keep you informed as we go forward. Thank you.
Julia Brim-Edwards, Chair, Superintendent Recruitment Task Force
Dear PPS Families,
Over the summer, crews will be working in schools throughout the district to address health and safety issues, using funds from the bond that voters approved in May. At the same time, planning is under way for bigger projects to rebuild three high schools and a middle school. We wanted to give you an update on what is coming up.