Dear BC family:
A year ago when the district adopted a strategic plan to help lead BC into the 2020s, it was important that our goals were focused on the whole child. Academics, absolutely.
But just as important are the three important building blocks for lifelong personal growth: character, community and wellness. These encompass the practices and traits that promote understanding, empathy and contributions to a healthy society.
Society is being tested right now with something new and dangerous, coronavirus; and something old and dangerous, racism and racial injustice. Both demand our attention and both deserve it.
While much of our efforts in recent weeks have been focused on how to keep our students safe with a possible return to school in the fall, we know that our students, staff and families are hurting differently right now. The death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and unrest across the country has brought a mix of emotion for all of us: sadness, outrage, confusion, fear, uncertainty and discomfort. Our children, in particular, are in need of our attention.
Several of our teachers and counselors have shared age-appropriate resources on how to discuss issues of race, and the events of the last several days. These are conversations that we wish could take place in our classrooms as they are most impactful face to face, most effective as part of a continuing dialogue.
To help with those conversations, we are sharing some resources you may find are useful:
Healthy communication about race – A resource for parents, American Psychological Association
Books to help explain racism and protest to children, NYTimes
Talking to kids about race, National Geographic
Books, podcasts and toolkits for discussing race – for children and adults
[Our readers can access these links from the online version of this letter.]
In these troubling times, I think one of the most important things we can do is to remind our students that their school will be a safe place for them when they return. We can reassure them that their school stands for others and this means their school — and the entire Bethlehem Central School District — condemns racism and stands together, even while we are apart. Above all else, we want them to know that we all share a desire to learn more, do more and make our world a better, safer place.
Thank you for your continued support.