Message from our Superintendent - June 3, 2020

Message from our Superintendent - June 3, 2020
Posted on 06/03/2020
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June 3, 2020

Dear NKSD community,

I have struggled to put into words the thoughts and range of emotions that have resulted from the events that have transpired over the past week. During a time when we were already struggling with isolation, frustration, economic hardship, and fear, we are now grappling with a profound example of racial injustice and the demand for societal change. While our local protests have been peaceful and have focused on raising awareness, other protests have resulted in violence, looting, and destruction. This habeen confusing and difficult for many of us - including our students, staff, and families - to processAs such, this time presents a critical opportunity for all of us to teach and learn.

Education is an inherently human endeavor. I have discovered that I learn the most when I engage personally with another individual to understand their experience and perspective. During these conversations, I strive to remain curious, listen carefully, and I lean into the conversation with an open heart and mind. Over the past week I have had the opportunity to talk with friends, community members, and staff that have helped me better understand the journey, hopes and frustrations for people of color in oucommunity. These critical conversations have opened my eyes tremendously, and they served as a reminder of the importance of fulfilling our promise to our students to know each of them by name, strength and need (as outlined in our Strategic Plan)

Our Strategic Plan’s Mission  says, "we foster a safe, collaborative, and intentional learning environment where each student is known by name, strength and need.”I want to reiterate my personal commitment to providing a safe and welcoming environment for our students and community. We remain committed to ensuring all students feel respected, valued, capable, and loved regardless of race, gender, class, religion, sexual orientation, or any other aspect of their identity. 

Goal Three in our Strategic Plan icentered on achieving equity in education for all NKSD studentsWe must have the courage to acknowledge that our students of color face institutional barriers to accessing an equitable educational experience. We must question the status quo and openly discuss injustice, bias, and institutionalized racism. We must be willing to change our own behaviors and beliefs to deliver on our promise to our students and their future. This is not easy work – it is hard. But it is critical work to fulfill our commitment to being all in for all students in NKSD. I invite you to join us in this work. There is a list of resources to assist with this at the close of this letter. 

Although we remain physically apart, the team in NKSD stands ready to support you and your student during this extremely challenging time. The ongoing social distancing, financial hardships, and fear have been difficult for many to navigate. The injustice and unrest of the past week have been hard for us, our children, and our families to understand and process.Please reach out to your student’s teacher, counselor or principal if you need help or support in any way. 

One of the most beautiful things about our NKSD community is the extraordinary care and compassion we have for one another. In the midst of injustice and adversity, our community gives me tremendous hope for our children’s future. While we are asked to stay physically distanced, I encourage you reach out to your neighbors and your loved ones to express your care and concern for their well-being, to listen, and to understand their experienceOur individual and collective care and compassion will make us stronger and better, together. I remain proud and grateful to live here and to serve our children alongside you.

In partnership,

Dr. Laurynn Evans