This was a letter sent via email on November 9th, 2016.
I wanted to send a quick note to all of you regarding today's final election results. Regardless of your personal choice and regardless of the results of this Presidential election (this is a non-partisan, non-political email), this is what I know:
1. We are a school community that believes climate change is real and is an urgent, ominous threat to the international community.
2. We are a school community that believes in the ever-present role and presence of whiteness and racism, in schools, in the United States and in the world at large.
3. We are a school community who believes that, to paraphrase Glenn Singleton, "everyone is better when everyone is better."
4. We are a school community who believes that true equity is achieved when every single human-- regardless of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, personal beliefs or religion--has exactly what they, individually and collectively, need and deserve in this life.
5. We are a school community that knows that the work of deconstructing both overt and institutionalized racism and injustice is both sacred and never-ending.
6. We are a school community who believe in truth, love, and reconciliation, regardless of context or circumstance.
Families have been in and out of school all day with a range of emotional responses to the Presidential decision. Many children have been following this election very closely in their classrooms--I expect children to have a wide range of questions and a wide range of emotional responses to the election results over the weekend and also on Monday. Please remind them of the list above, add to the list, answer their questions honestly, and support them as they work through their emotions, whatever they may be. I've attached an article with some ideas and advice for how to talk to children who may feel emotional as a result of the election results. The article is geared toward children who may be upset--I am certainly not presuming that ALL children will be upset or that ALL adults connected with our school community are upset. And, as a leader of a community I am making a conscious decision to send this email in response to parent requests today, many of them asking for help supporting their own children. I am looking for other resources for teachers and parents, for example, articles that give ideas and strategies around facilitating productive discourse in a classroom where 1) some students feel emotional and 2) different perspectives need to be held, given space and honored regardless of opinion. This is real for us here at Sunnyside, it will be real for us next week. My belief is that I would be unethical if I didn't communicate this to our beloved parent/family community.
Lastly, as a woman and the mother of a daughter, I want share a quote from Hillary Clinton's concession speech. For me, as a woman and the mother of a son also, while she directs this message to girls I do believe it is essential for all of our students, for our girls, for our boys, for our gender-fluid and gender-neutral students :
"To all the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams."
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?