Principal’s message June 4, 2020

This past week we have all struggled to make sense of the images of the horrific murder of George Floyd in
Minneapolis and the understandable anger and frustration that has filled the streets and the airwaves nationwide. I
found myself remembering similar feelings of outrage and disbelief in 1968 following the assassination of Martin
Luther King, Jr., and wondering how fifty years could have passed without more systemic change.
Those of us who are charged with the duty to care for our young people, have an especially challenging job right now.
School is usually a safe place where we can have important conversations about what is going on in the greater world,
where our students can process their strong emotions, and where we can provide resources to build understanding. We
are at a significant disadvantage, as the year is ending and we are scattered in our homes during the shelter in place, but
there are things we can, and must, do.
Here are some suggestions, published by MomsRising.org and EmbraceRace, two organizations that have partnered to
develop best practices for talking to kids about race. Some of the families in our school community have had hard
conversations about race in their homes for years to support the health and safety of their children; for those who have
not had these conversations before, we need to recognize the importance of engaging in these conversations alongside
others in our community. The suggestions, which can be helpful as we navigate these challenging waters, include:
1. Start early. Research tells us that by the age of 4, children show signs of racial bias. Let your young children
know that it’s okay to talk about race and to notice differences in skin color. Start engaging your child in
conversations about what these differences mean and don’t mean.
2. Encourage your child to question. Help your child find resources to answer their questions if you don’t have
the answers. Expose your child to different cultural opportunities.
3. Be mindful. Remember that our children are always watching our actions, often more than they are listening
to our words. Enroll your child in activities with a diverse group of children. Broaden your own friendship
circle. Choose books that include people of different ethnicities.
4. Face your own biases. Be honest with your child and share with your child what you are doing to overcome
them.
5. Embrace your own heritage. Be open about the racial, ethnic, and cultural groups that you and your family
identify with. Tell stories about the challenges your family has overcome.
6. Help your child learn about others’ heritage. Learn about the diversity within racial groups.
7. Be honest. Teach your child, in age appropriate ways, about bigotry and oppression. Let them know that these
struggles are ongoing and that your family can participate in the work of fighting injustice.
8. Be active — don’t be a bystander.
9. Plan for a marathon, not a sprint. This is work that is ongoing; start the conversation now, but plan to keep it
going for the long term. Revisit it at different stages of your child’s development.
I hope you all have a great summer. I will be in touch as soon as decisions are made about the start of school in August.
Stay safe, wash your hands, don’t touch your face, and wear a mask! I miss you all and look forward to seeing you!