February 5, 2020 - Anti-Racism Message
Hello AAPS Team,
We hear regularly of the remarkable work you are doing in our classrooms and schools to live our core value of a warm welcome and embrace, value and celebration of every child; every day.
Especially during this challenging week, we understand that our AAPS school leaders, teachers and staff are stepping up and speaking out - even more so - to ensure that our AAPS position is clearly communicated:
All are welcomed, valued and celebrated in the Ann Arbor Public Schools.
A few years ago, we shared this video highlighting this message that all are welcomed, valued and celebrated in the Ann Arbor Public Schools. It remains as true today as when we first shared this video.
Below, I share three illustrative messages - one from Scarlett Principal Vasquez, one from a parent/AAPS staff member, and one from our Washtenaw Superintendents' Association. I know many of you are sharing and communicating in similar ways just now, and want to recognize and share this critical work you do.
Thank you for your work as equity-centered leaders and practitioners. I am so very proud of each of you, and let's carry on this important work together; it truly makes all the difference for our children, our teams and schools, and in our Ann Arbor community.
Every child. Every day.
Scarlett Nation Families,
Good evening, I wanted to take a moment to share with you a message we shared with our students this afternoon at school:
Students, it has come to our attention that racially insensitive comments are being made towards groups of students regarding the coronavirus. This behavior is unacceptable and spreads false information. At Scarlett, in regards to our Student Social Contract which was created by you the students, we expect the following:
- It is expected that you embrace our diversity
- Treat others the way you would want to be treated
- Make a positive influence on the world.
If you as a student have participated in any way by making these comments or laughing in regards to these comments, we expect you to take responsibility for your actions and repair any damage you have caused with affected classmates.
Parents we wanted to inform you of what we shared with students so you might have a conversation with your child as well.
AAPS Parent/Staff Member
Gerald and Jaye,
As both a teacher and a parent at Scarlett I cannot express how much I appreciate the courageous conversation that this email initiated. Events like this can be a teachable moment that brings us together or misunderstanding that divides us.
I appreciate that conversations around diversity are so embedded in what we do at Scarlett that we can drill down to moments like these, create the space to discuss and involve our community.
I am a PROUD ROADRUNNER and so much of that has to do with the capacity and love you show everyday as you interact with our staff, students and community.
Thank you, you make our community better every day you are here.
With warmest regards and respect,
Scarlett Middle School Science and Blended Learning Facilitator
Lead. Care. Inspire.
Washtenaw Superintendents’ Association
Ann Arbor Public Schools □ Chelsea Schools □ Dexter Community Schools
Lincoln Consolidated Schools □ Manchester Community Schools □ Milan Area Schools
Saline Area Schools □ Washtenaw ISD □ Whitmore Lake Public Schools
Ypsilanti Community Schools
Washtenaw Superintendents’ Association Anti-Racist Commitment Statement
As leaders of the nine traditional school districts and the Washtenaw ISD, we are compelled to speak out in response to recent events that have called attention to racist attitudes and actions within our schools and the larger community in Washtenaw County.
The stories of students at Saline High School have surfaced in the media recently, but microaggressions and more overt aggression happens in every district. Now is not the time to point fingers at one district or one community, but rather to reflect on the ways in which each of us, individually and collectively, contribute to an environment where racial insults, bullying, and harassment are permitted to take place or are even seen by some as acceptable. It has been said that “what you permit, you promote.” Silence in the face of racism and racist actions is complicity and therefore we will not remain silent.
As leaders of the public education system in Washtenaw County, we are committed to nurturing anti-racist educational learning environments where each and every child is respected and valued for who they are regardless of skin color, gender, sexual identity or orientation, ability or disability, or any other category. Our diversity is what makes us stronger, and we will not accept educational environments where students are subject to conditions where their identity makes them a target of abuse.
All of our students will be asked to be competitive workers in a society that assumes an ability to work in a multicultural world. For many, the ability to understand difference is developed through their educational experience.
How we treat each other is a measure of our shared values and commitment to basic human dignity and worth. As superintendents in Washtenaw County, we commit to anti-racist leadership and fostering inclusive educational environments where each person, students and staff, feels a sense of belonging and is treated with dignity and respect.