A message from Superintendent Carlton D. Jenkins, Ph.D.
Dear Board Members,
This week, which marks the next to last week of our 3rd Quarter, has certainly been eventful. On Tuesday, our district showcased vibrant examples of our work to build the capacity needed to enhance the sense of belonging of our students, staff, and families through our Antiracism and Innovation Showcase. Our sense of exuberance felt by learning from the outstanding work of our colleagues; however, was tempered by learning of the tragic killing of Asian Americans later the same evening in Atlanta, Georgia. Again, our nation struggles to comprehend the gulf between our professed ideals of egalitarian democracy and our reality of violence and racial injustice. During these instances where we struggle to understand intolerance and brutality, we must continue to search within ourselves for the strength to fight for human decency in our ongoing work to address disparities and create learning environments where all students, staff and families can thrive.
Throughout this week, we have continued to implement and refine our phased reopening plan. During Tuesday morning’s Metrics meeting, district leaders engaged in vigorous discussion over emerging research on mitigation strategies relative to COVID-19. Through our robust dialogue, a greater understanding was gained of the proper social distancing needed to ensure health and safety. This conversation, which will help guide our efforts to phase in additional grade levels and co-curricular activities throughout this spring, embodied key principles of “confronting the brutal facts” in Chapter 4 Good to Great. In particular, the rigorous, yet respectful nature of the questioning illuminated our efforts to increase intentionality as we design safe learning spaces for our students and staff.
As our community, state, and nation continue to grapple with the pandemics of COVID-19 and racial injustice, we must continue to uplift sources of inspiration. Within our district, we have many examples of students, staff, families, and community partners who embody the ideals of our Strategic Framework and Core Values. For example, a collection of our social workers has formed a “Good Trouble” group of like-minded individuals who work to enhance the lives of many who have been marginalized in society. As we address issues such as safety, security, phased reopening, diversifying staffing, and restorative justice, we might find inspiration from the work of this group and the many others who are engaging in the fight for human decency.
Thanks for your continued support and partnership. We look forward to providing you with more updates on our district’s progress next week.
Carlton D. Jenkins, Ph.D.