As an educator who values the power of the PLN and all that I have learned from professional colleagues and personal friends from around the world (my PLN is the first place I go to learn), I wanted to share the following email that I sent to our entire community today. The contents of the email were in response to the events in Charlottesville. This was an opportunity for me to express my thoughts on racism and hatred while also communicating the power of hope and education. It may contain some information that other educational leaders, educators or families find useful when discussing the topic with their children...
Dear Hastings Community,
As a college student, one of the things that led me on my journey towards becoming an educator was the profound sense of hope that permeated the classrooms and schools I visited and worked in. Hope surrounded the daily learning experiences; hope inspired our students to dream aloud about the possibilities of the future; and hope anchored the decisions of the educators who were dedicated to doing what was in the best interest of children. It all came back to this sense of hope.
As I watched television over the last several days and learn more and more about the events that unfolded in Charlottesville, Virginia, hope has been the furthest thing from my mind. While I am still trying to process and understand what happened myself, I have also been trying to answer the many questions from my 12 year old son. There are feelings of anger, confusion, and frustration as we are trying to unpack the events. In the end, there are no perfect words to explain the “whys” of what had occurred, but my son’s questioning and perspectives quickly reminded of the hope that still exists in our world, especially in our children. His interest in understanding what happened and why also reiterated the importance of education.
While we cannot avoid the fact that we live in a world where hatred, racism and discrimination are realities, in our Hastings schools we will continue to focus on the power of education and the importance of hope. We will empower our children through education so that they can leverage their innate sense of hope to make the world a better place. Our educational experiences will not only be academic in nature but will also be dedicated to supporting the development of the whole child. Whether through explicit social emotional learning experiences or conversations around racial justice, our children will be informed and knowledgeable about the role they have in the world and the responsibilities that come with being educated.
If you are looking for ways to have some of these important conversations at home, I offer the following links that I found helpful as an educator and parent…
While there is no singular solution to addressing the many issues plaguing society, such as racism and hate, we can focus our energies on our children and the impact they can have in the future as a result of their educational experiences and their innate sense of hope!
Some additional resources that educators might want to explore, which were not included in the above communication, can be found here...
Social Media Crowdsourced Google Doc with resources on addressing the events in Charlottesville
Google Doc I created with resources to support learning about race and racial justice
Please feel free to use any of the text above or contribute other relevant resources in the comment section below. Together we are better for all of our children!