Message from Mary – September 18, 2020
This week, the Board of Directors and I finalized our statement on Equity and Anti-Racism and have published this to our home page. We need to be purposeful to provide actionable progress on our work here and commit to having this document be more than just “words on a page”. To that end, each aspect of my report this week, highlights an action we are taking to support our work on equity.
In Schools –
Those Farthest from Educational Justice: Our building principals have always had equity at the heart of what they do and they continue with this focus as they navigate all of the unbelievably complex challenges of the principalship right now. This week, our principals are preparing to invite small groups of students back to our buildings for in-person learning. These small groups of students are children who have been farthest from educational justice and include students with disabilities, students living homeless, and students who have high needs for support. This is a great example of aligning our resources (money, time, energy, emotion) to make sure that those who have experienced systemic injustice are seen, valued, and nurtured as they Rise!
In the Community –
Camas-Washougal Rotary “leans into” our Equity work – At my Rotary meeting this week, I was asked to share the “thought of the day”. As I processed what insight or wisdom I might offer our wonderful community partners, I thought of all of you. Your work has inspired me to have hope, maintain my courage, strive for educational justice, recognize my thankfulness, and invest in peace. I shared with them the very complex and important work all of you are doing right now in the midst of challenges beyond what we ever thought we would face. I told them of your resilience, your passion to make sure that every child is known, nurtured, and challenged to rise, and your commitment to equity. I let them know that we are counting on their continued support of the important work that we are doing together. I told them that I believe in you, that I believe in our students, and that I believe in this community. When I was finished, they cheered for you…for us…for our bright future What you do matters, and it matters tremendously!
In the District Office –
Plans to support Spanish-Speaking Families: Our students who do not speak English as their first language want to know that we value their strengths and unique abilities and are recognized as deserving of being supported by our resources. We are planning to establish a WSD “satellite” station in Hamllik Park this month that will provide tutoring, translation, technology assistance, meals, and community partner access. This work is a continuation of the work we did last year by establishing our “Spanish-Speaking Family Nights” that were led by JMS Principal, David Cooke. This current work is being facilitated by our Teaching and Learning Department (Assistant Superintendent, Renae Burson) and is being led by Jason Foster. Our leaders from this community have been excellent partners in this work and we value their support greatly.
Inspiration this week: The inspiration of the week goes to our excellent community partners who recognize that some of our students are experiencing socio-economic challenges. They understand that these students want to be seen as deserving of bright futures. Three local restaurants (Natalies’s, Cedar Street Bagel Company, and Taberna NW) provided free meals to our students during our building closures this week due to fires. These students who depend on our School Lunch program, would have otherwise gone hungry. Equitable opportunity and outcomes in action! Thank you!
Have a great weekend and enjoy this wonderful rain!