Dear ASA Family and Friends,
Last week was filled with ASA celebrations – Showcase, 8th Grade Celebration, Senior Awards and Recital, Graduation! While not “traditional”, we made the best of it. Some of us were anticipating a welcome break and others of us were ready to focus on planning for next year. Our heads were filled with thoughts of eventually returning to campus in some form, creating meaningful on-line and hybrid learning platforms, and innovative new approaches to fulfill our mission during this unprecedented moment in history.
We did not anticipate that we would find ourselves amidst another historic period – confronting a disease in our society far more embedded and familiar to us than COVID-19. This crisis, stemming not from a novel virus, but one produced tragically from our own history steeped in inequality and racism, requires a different kind of response – but one that is equally transformative for our society. As George Floyd died at the hands of yet another violent police action against our black community, the nation’s streets flooded with protest and outrage. The forceful response by police to peaceful protest and extremist groups looting neighborhoods has not soothed our city’s nor our nation’s souls but rather inflamed anguish and horror.
Education has the power to be that transformative agent. As a school we are called to be in the center of ensuring that future generations do not endure the violence and injustices we see before us. Last year, one of our goals was to build our understanding of how we can live up to our values of Equity and Accessibility. We built training sessions, gathered stakeholder input, reviewed curriculum and put forward some new initiatives to reflect that goal. We learned how we are falling short of living up to our values. We are learning how to confront our deficits and to change policies, practices, language and curriculum that respects and elevates the diverse voices of our rich and beautiful community. We are striving with humility to learn, to do more, to be better. And we know we have not done enough.
For those searching for ways to discuss these issues, we have found the resources at Childmind Institute particularly helpful in providing ways to support our children during these times. They have a wealth of resources for talking with young people about both racism and COVID-19.
Today we grieve with our students and families most impacted by the institutionalized racism and inequality endemic in our country. All of us must strive to hear your voices, to honor you in our words and actions. We see your pride, resilience and determination – alongside your accomplishments, hopes and promise. We must all stand together against allowing this moment to pass as just another moment but rather confront practices and policies that perpetuate the injustices of the past and present.
Leah Fregulia, Head of School/CEO