Dear Staff, Students, Families, and Community,

I wanted to reach out to you and share some thoughts in the wake of the difficult conversations about race and equity we are having as a nation. We have all witnessed the demonstrations and protests happening both locally and throughout our nation as we confront the structural racism people of color face in our country.  I know I can’t truly understand what it is like to live, work, and lead as a person of color in our society, but I am committed to listening to people of color, learning from their experiences, and steering our district on a course that disrupts the perpetuation of historically inequitable systems.

Our common interests and values are encapsulated in the WSD 2019-2025 Strategic Plan, developed with input from district students, families, teachers, staff, administration, community and board members.  This plan identifies six pillars required for our success:  equity, effective instruction, educational engagement, partnerships to support students, a focus on career & college readiness, and good stewardship of resources.  Although each of the pillars are important, I want to focus on our commitment to equity.  We commit to engage in intentional efforts to identify disparities that create opportunity gaps and act to eliminate the achievement gap.  We further commit to challenge and disrupt systems that are perpetuating institutional biases and oppressive practices, as well as develop culturally responsive school houses.

My friends, we have not accomplished all that we need to as it relates to our work with equity, but please know that as we engage in this work together, we will need to count on our courage, commitment, honesty, and be gracious with one another as we aspire toward true systemic change.  We are thankful for our strong partnerships with our students, families and communities that will allow us to realize our vision of educational justice.  By doing this, we can achieve a world where each of our children are truly known, nurtured, and challenged in a system that provides equitable opportunities AND equitable outcomes.  We will realize our dream of seeing our district truly Rise!

Dr. Mary Templeton

Washougal Schools