Dear Robinson Families,
Let me start by saying that I hope this letter finds you and your loved ones safe. As you well know, this has been a difficult few months on many levels. As a community, we are facing the emotional, mental, physical, and economic hardships of COVID-19 while now additionally experiencing the turmoil surrounding the wrongful death of George Floyd.
While we will each feel unique emotions and examine our beliefs and perspectives in individual ways, there are a few things I know without a shadow of a doubt:
- All members of the Robinson community deserve to feel valued.
- Racism exists. In our school, in our community, in our nation. We didn’t choose for it to be there, but, if we don’t act, we are contributing to it.
- Whether they are directly experiencing it, watching it unfold on tv, or aware of it in the periphery, our kids are witnessing racially fueled violence. This is traumatic, and they need to process it.
- Our kids are brilliant and passionate. They want to, and are capable of, talking about hard things. Two years ago, we started intentional instruction on topics of bias and oppression with our 5th graders (year 1) and this year we added our 4th graders to the conversation (although the number of lessons was cut short due to Covid!). Under the leadership of Dr. Wilson and our Social Emotional team, the plan is to include 3rd grade next year, and so on. The team is writing the curriculum as they go, as we have yet to find a curriculum that addresses these issues in ways think are best for kids.
- The staff of Robinson is committed to building collective humanity through education.
- ALL MEMBERS of the Robinson community deserve to feel valued.
Because of my unwavering belief in these statements, I want to support your children and you. We have a unique opportunity to lean into discomfort... to talk, connect, and act.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
PARENT SUPPORT: Robinson has a strong and growing parent Equity Group, dedicated to advocacy, education and action. Please reach out to the co-chairs Emily Kohring (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Alicia Stowers (email@example.com) for more info or request to join their Facebook page: Robinson Equity Group.
There is also a district wide Equity group on Facebook: Kirkwood MO Educational Equity.
If you are still feeling uncomfortable debriefing what has been happening in our world with your child (and that’s okay if you’re not ready yet), we have people who are willing to help. Reach out to some friends, form a group, and let us know. We will assign a someone (teacher, counselor, or myself) to meet with the group of students and help them process. You would, of course, be invited to join the conversation too!
Please reach out with any questions or input. And, if you have additional resources that would be helpful to share with our families, please send them my way. I value each and every one of you and the many beautiful, diverse ideas and experiences you bring to Robinson. I know our community can come together and be a model of love and healing.
My best, Jennifer