Ensuring welcoming, student-affirming learning environments continues to be a focus of our school, our families and the district. Eliminating opportunity gaps is an important part of our ability to grow and thrive as a community of learners. Identity-safety and opportunities for students to see themselves, and their cultural history, in school, is fundamental to our learning environment. As we approach Black History month in February, I’d like to share how View Ridge Elementary practices cultural responsiveness on a regular basis.
To further View Ridge’s dedication to diversity, inclusion, and awareness of critical social justice issues, during the Week of February 3rd , our school will participate in the Black Lives Matter Week of Action. During this week our school will expand on Martin Luther King Junior’s messages of peace, equality, inclusion, and justice by:
• Distributing custom-made View Ridge Elementary Black Lives Matter pins for all students
• Encouraging all students, staff and family to wear black and/or Black Lives Matter shirts
• Reflecting on experiences of students, families and friends
• Helping students understand inequities based on race
• Affirming that the lives of people of color matter
• Promoting the belief that we all have a responsibility to work for equity as a core ideal
View Ridge teachers and staff will extend lessons and activities in the classroom. These lessons draw from those provided by the Seattle Education Association, Seattle Public Schools and from the “Teaching Tolerance” curriculum provided by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
We are a school that is committed to celebrating our differences throughout the year, including:
• Leadership programs for all students, including a Student Of Color Leadership Program
• An equity committee that meets on a regular basis
• Strategizing on how we can eliminate opportunity gaps, which is the school board’s priority criteria for meeting the district’s strategic plan
• Creating and sustaining a welcoming environment for all families
• Monthly professional development days dedicated to Eliminating the Opportunity Gap (EOG)
• Professional Development for staff on researching implicit biases and finding ways to interrupt them on a regular basis
• Focusing on the district’s “Formula for Success” pillar of Eliminating the Opportunity Gap, through positive relationships, positive beliefs, positive learning and positive partnerships
Please join us in celebrating Black History Month by having discussions with your children about diversity and celebrating our differences. There are many activities you can partake in during February, such as: visiting the public library to research Black History, visiting the African American Museum, supporting Black-owned businesses, etc.
If there is anything else we can do to make all families and cultures feel welcomed and invited, please let me know.