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Standing together against racism

Standing together against racism
Posted on 06/09/2020
Standing together against racismDear Mehlville School District Staff, Students and Families,

Together, the coronavirus pandemic and the recent violent attacks against black Americans have emphasized the long-standing impact systemic racism, discrimination and oppression has on the health, education and economic outcomes of people of color. 

As educators, we know these challenges and injustices have a direct impact on our students’ ability to learn and thrive. We care deeply about our staff, students and families. We stand with those calling for justice, fairness and positive reforms to end systemic racism.

A statement of support, however, is not enough. We are well behind some school districts in the region in having conversations around race, equity and social justice. We have much work to do.

Our counselors and several teachers have participated in equity and cultural competency training. And, starting this summer, our administrators in partnership with Educational Equity Consultants will begin advancing our understanding of how our own attitudes about race and racism might be limiting our students’ capability to achieve. Additionally, we will expand and refocus an existing task force to guide our work on race, equity and social justice. This group will make recommendations around strategies and action steps for the next iteration of our strategic plan built around safety and personalization.

A few years ago, we developed our Mehlville School District Portrait of a Graduate, a list of traits we hope all students acquire by the time they graduate high school. Those traits include creative and critical thinking, self-aware, persistent, communicator, and ethical and global. Our Portrait of a Graduate does not allow for racism. We will use our powerful platform as educators to continue to work to ensure all students achieve this vision we have set out for them.

Much work lies ahead for our school district and community. This isn’t the type of work that is ever complete. Rather, we must continually review our practices and the needs of our community to ensure we have a fair and just educational system. I am inspired by so many of our teachers and other staff who have responded both to the COVID-19 pandemic and to racial inequities with a commitment to ensuring our students are safe and know they are loved at school. Mehlville School District remains committed to making the world a better place for all.

Sincerely,

Chris Gaines, Ed.D.
Superintendent
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