June 1, 2017
Hello Roseway Heights Families--
Things feel different now. Nothing has changed. These two statements, which seem to be in opposition are, for me, both completely true. In the wake of the recent events on the MAX train in our own neighborhood station, I am struggling to figure out how to manage the complex emotional, political, racial, religious, moral experience I am having. As a school leader, it is made more complex knowing together our school community is having a huge range of experiences as well--experiences for which we need to be prepared to support at school.
Things feel different now. As I read about the attack on the MAX train, I have been mulling over in my head who I would have been in that situation--would I have confronted the man spewing hate speech? Would I have turned my back and tried to fade into the masses? Would I have tried to protect the young women on the train? Would I have moved further away or closer? Would it make a difference if I had either of my two young daughters with me? I also am forced now to balance the emotional response (avoid the trains now) with the logical (this was an extremely rare, isolated event and trains are still much safer than driving). But I did have the option to take the train downtown yesterday, and instead opted for my bike. It feels different.
Nothing has changed. Earlier in the year I wrote that
“This school will show ALL students respect, compassion and love and we will not tolerate speech or action that attempts to denigrate, harm or devalue any member of our community.”
This has not changed, and while the events of the past weekend have certainly given us all pause, it is important to remember that in the long history of standing for what is right, people have risked and been harmed at every turn. In 1961 the Freedom Riders, out to register voters in the South, were met with violence and hatred--and they continued their work. Workers on the picket lines in support of Cesar Chavez’s efforts to support farm workers were often beaten and attacked by security guards--and they continued their work. Likewise here in Portland, our responsibility--my responsibility as a white male--is to continue to stand for what we believe in, to continue to protect those that are vulnerable, targeted and attacked. This has not changed.
As I think about what to tell my own children about what happened, I am leaning toward the truth. There were some very brave people who stood up for what is right in the face of bold hatred and it ended horribly. We often hear about horrible things happening around the country, and the world and on this day it happened around the block--and things feel different now AND nothing has changed.
With compassion and respect,
Principal, Roseway Heights K-8
Dear PPS staff and families,
The search and recruitment for our new superintendent is well underway.
The community, board and search firm recommended more than 40 educational leaders for consideration. The search firm and the Board reviewed the prospects and candidates and the Board selected a diverse group with deep educational experience to interview. They included individuals from within and outside Oregon, current superintendents as well as senior education leaders from large districts.
From a remote town in Jordan to leading Oregon’s biggest school district
At the age of 5, Yousef Awwad joined his older brothers in the streets of Ghweria, Jordan, a small city outside Zarqa, to sell sesame candies and balloons to keep food on his family’s table.
Yousef’s dad was serving in the Jordan military and was stationed in an area of the desert so remote that he wasn’t able to send money home while he was deployed.
Today, Yousef is serving as the new interim superintendent of the largest school district in Oregon. How did a boy living in poverty in a remote town in Jordan wind up here?
Julia Brim-Edwards elected chair; Julie Esparza Brown, Rita Moore are co-vice chairs
Two newly elected members and one current member of the Portland Public School Board will assume leadership roles following a special July 7 board meeting.