As we enter the holiday season and prepare to welcome the New Year, I would like to take a moment to briefly share with you my experience in Puerto Rico to support the re-opening of schools after Hurricane Maria. Over the course of my visit I was reminded over and over again of the power of community activism. At every school site, I encountered principals, teachers, students, families and community members removing debris and doing whatever needed to be done in order to have schools prepared for the return of their students. They did not wait for help. Instead, they built tools out of various materials in order to assemble desks, chairs and classrooms for their young people. I was honored to have been deployed to Puerto Rico, and both inspired and humbled by the courage and determination of each community I visited.
Shortly after my return, our city was faced with the first of 2 terrorist attacks and I witnessed the power of a school community doing what it had to do in order to ensure the safety of students and faculty. The most recent attack took place near many of our schools and again, principals reacted quickly to communicate with families that their students were safe. I appreciate how in unpredictable school situations and incidents, we consistently collaborate to support those in need and have built a strong district culture that is responsive and caring.
Finally, I just want to say thank you to each and every member of Manhattan High School’s District 1 & 2. In my visits to schools there is growing evidence that the collective work we are doing across schools is taking root. Students are speaking out more regarding social issues that impact their daily lives and school leaders are more invested in creating intentional opportunities for our young people to dialogue in classrooms, town hall sessions, and School Leadership Teams. We are in an excellent position to continue to strengthen the equity work over the next few months and I will continue to ensure that we have various platforms that support productive discourse that will help each school community close the persistent achievement gap through intentional and actionable steps.
I wish you happy holidays and a healthy new year.
To view the Newsletter, click HERE