Antiracism and equity
It’s unfathomable that in the year 2020 communities continue grappling with profound bigotry and hatred based on the color of one’s skin.
As superintendent of a diverse urban school district just a handful of miles away from other diverse urban districts like Lorain and Cleveland, I find myself soulfully searching for answers.
As educators we spend so much time from the earliest years forward reinforcing kindness, compassion, equity and inclusion.
We ask students to respect one another, to care for others and be responsible for their words and actions.
We encourage them to be good neighbors in their school community and beyond, to treat others fairly, to embrace differences and love one another.
We expect the same of our staff.
We demand that school leaders foster a safe environment for students and staff—free of judgment, free of prejudice, free of bias, free of racism.
Racism is real with deep, unwelcome, ugly roots that spread and grow into foul feelings and behaviors.
We witness intolerance and inequity in covert ways and in ways that are so obvious they smack you full in the face.
I wish I could declare schools free of prejudices and behaviors that discriminate and belittle others.
But I can promise that we as a staff in the Elyria Schools will look deeply within ourselves, at one another, and within our policies to ensure we’re providing safe, healthy, non-discriminatory environments that nurture students’ minds, bodies and souls.
A beloved principal in the Elyria Schools who has since passed away lived by the motto, “our kids are worth whatever it takes.”
Never have truer words been spoken.
Kindness, compassion, acceptance and mutual respect and regard for others is modeled and taught at the earliest of ages.
It’s up to us, not just as school leaders, but as people who have direct influence on the lives of children to be change-makers and to do whatever it takes to see students flourish and succeed academically, socially, emotionally and beyond.
The Elyria Schools works closely with many partners to improve school climate and overall school culture.
For three years we’ve had an affiliation with The Diversity Center, Cleveland, on matters of social justice.
Last year the district’s leadership team comprised of administrators, teachers, support staff, parents and students began working with a private, nonprofit agency based in Kentucky called The Schlechty Center.
The work looks at transformative change in education. It challenges educators to look deep within to design work that has meaning and value for students.
In partnering with the Schlechty Center, we are seeking a true understanding of our students, families, community and selves.
We are also currently working with the Lorain County Urban League on antiracism and equity.
Be assured this work will move forward with added zeal and emphasis on racial inequities and matters of discrimination as a whole.
We welcome conversation on this critical work.
Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.