June 2020 Letter to Community
Dear Great Valley School District Community,
As we started this school year, I would not have imagined the challenges we would face as a community. As the new week begins, I felt it important to reach out to address the events of the weekend and to acknowledge the impact they are having on many children, as well as adults, in our community. The anger, fear, and racial divide resulting from the tragic death of Mr. George Floyd has triggered responses in our surrounding communities that can cause fear, anxiety, or even anger. We recognize how painful this tragedy is for many in our community and how difficult it might be for our students – and even our families and staff - to process these events. While conversations about race may be difficult to have, we, as a school district, remain committed to honoring diversity as a strength and an asset. We stand strong in our belief that every individual has equal human value, and it is essential to create secure and safe environments where conflicts can be resolved peacefully. The conversations may be difficult, but we believe they are essential.
Along with this letter, you will find information and resources available to you and your student(s) about support services offered through Great Valley School District; resources about how parents and guardians can talk with their children about race, diversity, and inclusion; and information about our efforts to further equitable practices and inclusion in the Great Valley School District.
As we are currently not in our traditional learning environment, we want to offer you developmentally appropriate resources to discuss recent events with your children. There are many resources to help facilitate an open and ongoing discussion. The following examples may be helpful to your family:
- How to Talk to Kids about Race and Racism
- Beyond the Golden Rule: A Parent’s Guide to Preventing and Responding to Prejudice
- Talking to Kids about Discrimination
Please know that our staff is available for you and your students. If you would like to talk with someone, please contact a member of our Student Services staff (school counselors, school psychologists, school social worker) or your school administrator.
As we prepare for the 2020-2021 school year, we plan to continue our work around diversity and inclusion. In 2016, The Great Valley School District joined the Delaware Valley Consortium for Equity and Excellence to begin to lay the foundation for equity work. During the 2019-2020 school year, GVSD began more purposeful planning related to educational equity and belonging through the formation of a Council for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI). The CDI is comprised of multiple stakeholders including central office and building administrators, students(s), school board members, teachers, counselors, parents/guardians, and community representatives.
The mission of the CDI is to support the District in ensuring belonging in our schools, as well as educational equity and access, particularly for students with disadvantaged backgrounds who may have been historically underserved. The Council’s efforts are designed to positively impact the experiences of all by maximizing opportunities to build an inclusive culture. In order to move toward a more equitable and inclusive education experience for our students, a five-year Equity Plan will guide the work of the CDI and the District as we move ahead. This plan will serve as the District’s guiding framework in the area of equity and inclusion and will focus on:
- building awareness;
- professional development;
- creating student-centered practices;
- policy and practice review/revision;
- increasing diversity among staff;
- examining and correcting evidence of implicit bias in student discipline and course placement; and
- increasing diversity and inclusion in community engagement.
In this emotionally charged time, it remains important for us to serve as a support and resource to you and your student(s). Together we can provide opportunities for our children to process their feelings, and we can foster environments where all members of our community feel welcome, valued, and accepted.
I continue to hope that your family is healthy and safe.
Regina Speaker Palubinsky, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools