Prairie Students and Families:
In the weeks since the tragic death of George Floyd, we have heard the pain and anger of our students and the greater community. Our students’ safety and emotional well-being is our top priority; racism and inequity has a profound and lasting impact on our students and community at large. We support the right of our students, staff and families to express their frustration and pain and recognize our responsibility to listen. With the closure in place throughout the final weeks of the school year, we greatly missed the opportunities that we would have otherwise had to come together and fully process the impact that these events have had on our schools. This letter is no replacement for that conversation; however, our students and community want and deserve to know that these issues are in our thoughts and planning as a district.
First and foremost, for our students, staff and families, we want to be clear that the College Community School District does not tolerate or support systems of inequity or racism in any form. As a district, we are committed to eliminating systemic inequity and injustice in policy and practice wherever it exists. We are proud of the diversity of our district and want each and every student to know they are welcome, safe and supported in our schools.
As an organization, the vision and guidepost for our efforts with students and families is “Success for All.” Realizing this vision will require us to keep our hearts and minds open to the perspectives of those that experience overt and systemic injustice and racism as we continue to examine our own system. Public education is a right and a shared experience for all children and is not immune to structures and systems of inequity and racism. Our public educators will continue to work to understand and respond to the current conversations at the local, state and national level and be a barrier to racism and inequity wherever it exists.
It is clear that this is a time to listen and learn; our community desires to be respected and heard. We are committed to working with our students and our greater community in processing these events to identify actions that can be taken now and in the future. As a district we commit to engage and create opportunities for meaningful dialogue and involvement that moves us to better understanding. We are committed to moving beyond written policies of equity and access to taking meaningful action. We are committed to learning and improving. And, we are committed to engaging our staff, students and families in the identification of our current reality related to equity and to the creation of structures and strategies to eliminate inequity in our system.
Due to the uncertainty of the coming months, specifically how to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and how we return to learning in the fall, we are unfortunately unable to share specific immediate and planned actions at this time. Beginning immediately and throughout the summer, we will work to identify how to best support our students and structure opportunities for conversation and learning within our schools. We believe this is the work of our entire school system. To learn how best to facilitate this conversation given the current public health situation, we have established this LINK to gather ideas on how to start and continue this conversation with our community.
This communication is the start of an ongoing conversation intended to lead to action. Thank you for your time, consideration and support of our students.
Doug Wheeler, Superintendent
College Community Board of Directors