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Dear students, families, staff, and supporters of Morris Jeff Community School,

I am deeply saddened by the events that unfolded at our nation’s capital in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday. The sight of an invasion of the U.S. Capitol building was truly devastating. The contrast of the policing at the Capitol on Wednesday and that of the Black Lives Matter events this past summer is a stark reminder that we have a long way to go as a nation if we are truly seeking justice for all.

Our children witnessed these events. We, as adults, have questions and need to hear honest answers – and so do our children. We must face the harsh realities of what is behind the actions of Wednesday’s insurrection with courage and open, if difficult, conversation. Racism, white supremacy, and disenfranchisement are at the core of the ills of our country and were played out in full view of the world for all to see. Having honest, open conversations with our children and with each other is crucial right now.

Six years ago, our school engaged with a consultant to assist us in looking at our curriculum to determine ways it was and was not culturally relevant to every learner in our school. We analyzed the literature we were bringing into the classroom, reflected on our practices, and have worked ever since to be cognizant of the ways we must be sensitive to and inclusive of the cultures, prior knowledge, and experiences of all our students as we plan for instruction.

Four years ago, we engaged with another consultant to lead us in facing our racism and prejudices both collectively and individually. We learned together about the history of racism in our country, read examples of how white privilege plays out in our everyday opportunities and experiences, discussed our responses, and we pledged to continue our work together towards becoming anti-racist agents of change in our school, with our children, and in our broader community. We have much more work to do as a school when we can all be back together again.

For our students, we will continue to sensitively and objectively present current events in class in a developmentally appropriate manner, ensure the context is draped in the core values of our school, and answer questions that our students bring us.  We will continue to celebrate our diversity and yet, understand the hard work it necessitates, as we strive for equity and inclusion in our work together.

Thank you for your continued support of our school and mission.

Patricia Perkins
Head of School