The 2020 election has the potential to generate a wide range of emotions. Portland Public Schools has gathered resources to support students and families as we all prepare to deal with the results of the November 3 election.
A Message from the Superintendent: Supporting Our Community/2020 Election
Dear PPS Families,
Exercising our right to vote in America matters, and this particular election is no different. We have the opportunity to exercise our civic responsibility of voting during a time of increasing social division, a global pandemic and economic crisis, and while we witness young people demanding a racial reckoning. This election will test our community and country. It challenges us to ask ourselves, who are we and what do we want for our future?
At Portland Public Schools, we believe we have another opportunity: to help and support our students (most of whom are not yet of voting age) understand how our democracy works, to ensure they obtain objective knowledge of the current issues, and to support them in understanding the outcomes of an election. As educators we take seriously our responsibility to prepare students with an understanding of the civic participation necessary for our democracy to thrive. The more our students know about our systems of government, the more prepared they will be to engage in critical civic discourse and participate in strengthening our Portland community.
During this week, we are preparing ourselves and our students to lead the thoughtful and critical civic engagement we hope to see. Now more than ever, we need the next generation of leaders to demonstrate the characteristics outlined in our vision, PPS reImagined. The heart of our vision is the Graduate Portrait. It is our promise to our students and families. At this moment, our students are called upon to navigate and adapt to our current complex challenges. Three elements of the graduate portrait which are especially applicable during the coming days are:
- Resilient and Adaptable Learners where students can embrace discomfort and navigate persistently through failure to success by adapting themselves to the environment or changing it. They make use of community and cultural assets to develop networks of allies to help them persevere through challenges and embrace continuous learning for professional growth and personal fulfillment.
- Reflective, Empathetic, and Empowering Graduates where students demonstrate empathy, curiosity, respect, and interest in other points of view. They seek to empower others and are accepting, appreciative, compassionate, and kind toward others.
- Transformative Racial Equity Leaders where students understand how our communities have been impacted by racial injustice, and they can recognize and interrupt the conditions that enable it. They can deconstruct the dominant narrative and change it to a more balanced and inclusive one. As racial equity-driven problem solvers, they engage in community conversations about social justice issues and help develop and implement solutions that respect and include the perspectives of other cultures.
In this election, local voters have the opportunity to consider the proposed 2020 School Bond, Measure 26-215, which directly impacts our district. If approved, the Bond would fund health and safety projects in schools across the school district, replace textbooks and technology equipment districtwide, modernize Jefferson High School, master plan additional neighborhood school projects, complete Benson Polytechnic High School, and continue design and planning to modernize Cleveland and Wilson High Schools. Community members who want to learn more about the bond can go to: https://www.pps.net/2020bond.
We encourage all of the adults in our PPS community to draw upon our own reserves of resilience to support our students’ learning and the contextualization of this election. No matter the outcome, we continue to commit to our responsibility as educators and promise to the future graduates of PPS.
Now that election week is upon us and given the context of this election, the potential civil unrest and other conditions that impact the well being and the safety of students and staff, I want to stress the importance of everyone in our PPS community coming together to support one another. By recognizing our mutual interdependence, we can continue to strengthen our school system so that our students are empowered and prepared for all the challenges before us.
I also want to stress that at PPS we believe the diversity of our staff and students makes us stronger and that every student belongs and is important. Our values of racial equity and social justice require us to provide culturally responsive curriculum and instruction and we aspire to aid students in developing critical consciousness and sociopolitical awareness that reflect an ongoing commitment to challenge injustice and disrupt inequities and oppression of any group of people.
We developed a PPS Election 2020 Tool Kit that contains information, guidance, and resources to assist our educators as they prepare for election week. The tool kit and translations of certain family supports and materials can be accessed on our 2020 Election Support website.