A message from Superintendent Carlton D. Jenkins, Ph.D.
Dear Board Members,
This week, which marks the first week after Winter Break, has certainly been eventful. Our community, state, and nation are currently wrestling with a more infectious variant of COVID-19 (Omicron), while trying to balance the health and safety, social-emotional, and academic needs of our students, staff, and families. Our difficult important decisions do not occur in a vacuum as we take into account the persistent challenges of our longstanding pandemic of racial and social injustice. As we face these issues, it has been helpful to engage with passionate community members, knowledgeable and expert advisors, concerned parents, insightful students, and dedicated staff members. Their voices help to inspire and refine our decisions as we lean forward together.
As we work to ensure our district can return to in-person instruction in a safe and sustainable manner, MMSD has worked to review the available evidence, consult with health advisors, and address staffing as well as global supply chain challenges. Our work in this area has continued to be methodical as we enlist the voices and insights of myriad stakeholders. This collaborative and co-creative process can appear slow and messy; however, it assists in making better decisions while embodying the tenets of our Strategic Framework and core values.
As our district makes critical decisions during these unprecedented and uncertain times, we have the opportunity to model and uplift human decency, while employing an equity and anti-racist lens. Our actions will have residual effects on every member of our community, while having a disproportionate impact on members of historically excluded groups. Hence, we must not waver from continuing to interrogate our planned words and actions, as we reflect on whether our mindsets are truly growth-oriented.
Throughout our work, we recognize and applaud the support we continue to receive from our community. We continue to be the beneficiaries of community partners who share valuable and scarce resources, willing professionals who are applying to serve as substitutes, and health advisors who generously volunteer their time to ensure our decisions are based on the emerging science. Their efforts continue to be complemented by the involvement of countless other engaged members of our community. MMSD is a better district because of their involvement.
As we continue our co-creative and collaborative work to uplift our students, staff, families, and community members in these difficult times, I would like to thank you for your ongoing support and partnership. We look forward to providing you with more updates on our district’s progress next week.
Carlton D. Jenkins, Ph.D.