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A Message To Our Families

A Message To Our Families
Posted on 06/01/2020
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Dear East Prairie families,

 

Over this past year, it has become abundantly clear that the people, relationships and an unwavering focus on children make East Prairie the incredibly special and unique community it is.  The diversity of our community is our most remarkable strength.  Each day, our East Prairie community learns from, with, and alongside one another, which we view as an incredible gift - and one that benefits both children and adults.  

 

These opportunities are also complex and laden with challenge.  Our school, like every public institution, has a responsibility to ensure we meet the needs of every family and every child - ensuring access and opportunity to the highest-quality educational experiences imaginable.  We approach this work each day with humility and an enormous sense of responsibility.

 

At East Prairie we are committed to ensuring that every child, every parent, every family, and every community member feel safe, valued, and included.  We strive to openly, earnestly, and collaboratively address the very real challenges and issues facing our school and community.  We know that despite our best intentions, and perhaps because of them, ensuring educational equity for every one of our students is a daily endeavor, requiring constant care and attention.  

 

The challenges our society faces and is grappling with at this moment were not born in an instant.  These challenges developed over generations of time.  Racism is a complex system of social and political ideas and mechanisms that serve to benefit some at the expense - and life - of others.  Racism is beyond a duality.  Racism is more than hate, extending to access, privilege, opportunity, ignorance, and apathy.  As individuals, as a school, and as a community, we must come together to confront racism, racist behavior, and racist policies.  As a community, we must be explicit about what we believe and stand for, giving voice to our shared values.  We must be able to discuss, consider, and act upon these matters both collectively and as individuals.

 

Below are resources to support an entry way into engaging in a dialogue  with your family and within your sphere of influence.  These are by their very nature difficult conversations to have, which is why we so often avoid having them to begin with.  It is our hope that these strategies, principles and protocols provide you a point of entry.  Courage and a willingness to experience discomfort are also essential.

 

- A Family Guide to Talking about Race

- Talking Race with Young Children (20 minute podcast)

- George Floyd. Ahmaud Arbery. Breonna Taylor. What do we tell our children?

- How to talk to kids about racism: An age-by-age guide

- Beyond the Golden Rule: A Parent’s Guide to Preventing and Responding to Prejudice

- How to Talk to Kids About Race and Racism

- Talking about Race & Identity in Early Childhood - lesson plans

- Books about Race & Ethnicity (for all ages)

 

Here is a link to a more complete list of resources and references.

 

Each of us has an important role to play in making sure our school, community, and broader shared world are just and equitable.  This work is not easy, but is urgent - requiring time, effort, attention and action of us all.   It is through these conversations, considerations, and most importantly actions, that we begin to shape a brighter future for everyone.

 

In partnership,

 

Hal