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The Pride Family Letter 2/1/21
Posted 1/31/21

Watercolor Rendering of
Martin Luther King Jr. 
by LVE Lion, Oliver Stadtner

CALENDAR FOR THE WEEK

Monday, 2.1

Event Free

Tuesday, 2.2

100th day of school

Wednesday, 2.3

K-2 New Reading Intervention Program Training for some Support Staff, Series #1

K-5 Writing training

Home and School Meeting, 7:00 pm

Community Discussion - Teen Substance use (See below for links)

Thursday, 2.4

Event Free

Friday, 2.5

Event Free

Principal Learnings this week 

With the arrival of February comes our schoolwide approach to studying, reading, and talking about Black historical luminaries and our current political realities. As I read, watch, and engage with myself in the world of becoming an anti-racist, I realize just how far I have to go how much I still need to learn. We all do.
At our staff meeting last week, each grade level team selected one of 13 black history principles and will be turning their attention to focus upon. Teams will identify resources, engage their children in dialogue through videos, discussions, writings, poetry, essays, readings, etc., and create a collective visual presentation for their grade level, which will culminate in a schoolwide gallery walk on the week of March 8th. 

While excited about embarking upon something schoolwide for the first time, we also recognize that having a mere month dedicated to this work is folly. This must be addressed continually throughout the school year. Understanding that Black and Latin X families continue to experience active and passive racism, is something we just can’t afford to accept as part of our society. The myth that “things are improving” has been perpetuated for so long it has been ingrained in the fabric of our everyday lives. We have become numb to it and sadly, it has been normalized. As a friend of mine once told me, "it is hard work being black. Every day is an effort". I can't say that just being white is hard work.

Engaging our children about our present state is sorely needed. Our youngest leaders are experiencing, hearing, and watching - most notably over the last 4 years - inexcusable levels of distressing racist commentary and imagery. Here are questions to consider, ones that often think about myself...

 

How are our children processing all of this?

As parents, are we engaging them?

How are we engaging students and staff?

Where do we fit into all of this as a community?

How vocal or silent have we been?

Do we disrupt conversations when racist comments, overt or not, are made, or do we stay silent?

If we are silent and we know a comment shared was wrong, why do we stay silent?

What books are we reading to our children and what sorts of stereotypes are built into them?

 

To disengage is no longer be a solution. So let’s not think of February as B.H.M. The importance of celebrating and teaching Black History should be ongoing, August - June with a blend of current events and the celebration of historical figures.

Marian Anderson, considered one of the 
most important singers of the 
20th century. Known for her impressive 
three-octave vocal range 
she performed at the White House for 
President Franklin Roosevelt 
and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt 
in 1936, the first African American 
so honored. 

Art Teacher, Lauren Wilson, Black History and Art

I love this video for so many reasons. She is extending her art studies beyond February because it is that important. This will be heading to your google classrooms for students to watch but check it out here!

 

LOOM VIDEO: Mindfulness with Christina Kersnick 

Click here for Mrs. Kersnick's, third-grade very peaceful morning mindfulness video. Watching students pause, hands-on their stomachs, and hearts, setting themselves up with their mindful bodies, and establishing the mood for the day. Soon after, they dug into mathematics and they were ready.

Decision Tree Update

The above Decision Tree (Link to the Decision Tree) was recently updated. Here are the important things to know:

1. Top left in blue: Pathway for heavy symptoms but not a covid exposure

2. Top right in Green: Pathway for light symptoms but not a covid-19 exposure

3. Bottom left in purple: Pathway for direct exposure to a covid-19 person. An important question that comes up frequently:

Question: "I know that if one of my children were directly exposed to a covid - 19 person, they must be quarantined, but what about their siblings? They are a secondary contact, right? Can they come to school?"

Answer: If the covid-19 sibling can isolate from their brother or sister, they can come to school. But this is a tall order. This might look like designating a room and bathroom that only the covid-19 person would use. The smaller the area, the easier it will be to disinfect it properly. Household members should not enter that isolation area, and that person should not leave. Instead, leave meals outside the door of the isolation area, clean and disinfect returned items (like dishes) immediately before putting them away, use gloves when cleaning and disinfecting, and limit items that enter/leave the isolation area to necessities. Read here for more. Sound difficult to do? Probably. Each household looks different. 

Additional Information from Marin Health and Human Services

 

Did Someone Test Positive for Covid-19?

If someone in your immediate household tests positive for Covid-19, please email the three below people

•Susie Urquhart (LVE Health Specialist):

surquhart@millercreeksd.org

•Mr. Anderson (Principal)

wanderson@millercreeksd.org

•Teri Edell: Secretary

tedell@millercreeksd.org

Thank you!

 

Quarantining Guidelines

If you need to stay home and quarantine, here are the guidelines to support you in that effort.

 

Parent & Youth Helpline and Parents Anonymous

In partnership with Governor Newsom, Parents Anonymous® Inc. recently launched the California Parent & Youth Helpline and Online Parents Anonymous® Support Groups in response to the Coronavirus to provide free trauma-informed, evidenced-based emotional support to Parents, Children and Youth in any language via calls, text, live chat and email. The California Parents & Youth Helpline operates 7 days a week from 8:00AM-8:00PM. 

Parents can Join a Weekly Online Support Group NOW through the website: caparentyouthhelpline.org. In this confidential setting, Parents address their underlying emotions and build resiliency to strengthen their family.

Born in Africa, Phillis Wheatley 
came to the U.S. at age 8, 
when she was captured 
and sold into enslavement. 
A poem she published in 1767 
earned her much acclaim. 
Six years later, her first volume 
of poems was published in London, 
and she became known in both the U.S. 
and the United Kingdom. 

An hour with Ibram X. Kendi - January 25th

What a gift to listen to Ibram X. Kendi speak for an hour on Monday evening. If you have a chance to engage in any of his presentations or read any of his books, it is worth it. He has a new book coming out on February 2nd, 400 Souls -A Community History of African Americans... and has written several other inspiring books, most notably, Stamped, and How to be An Anti-Racist. 

A few takeaways from the Q & A with Mr. Kendi

An analogy related to curriculum in our schools. If you ever find yourself heading to a Chinese, Indian, or soul food restaurant, as an example you might be lead to believe that the food is going to be 100% authentic, but what he shared, and far more eloquently than I, was that quite often restaurants located in predominantly white gentrified neighborhoods, tend to dilute the food presentation in order to cater to the white pallet. So in a sense, how genuine is the multicultural food experience?

Now consider how this might apply to the curriculum we teach in our nation's schools. We can certainly delve into multiculturalism and into the deeper truths and experiences of the people reflected in them, but if the clientele we serve or those delivering the information are not ready to absorb the material or does not feel comfortable with it, we run the risk of administering a program that is perhaps, like the food, also watered down and not as genuine as we were hoping it to be. I thought this was super interesting.

Shirley Chisholm is best known 
for her 1972 bid to win 
the Democratic presidential nomination; 
she was the first Black woman to make this attempt in a major political party. 
She was active in state and 
national politics for more than a decade. 
She became the first Black woman 
to serve in Congress in 1968. 
During her tenure, she co-founded the Congressional Black Caucus. 
Chisholm left Washington in 1983 
and devoted the rest of her life 
to civil rights and women's issues.

Of course, this is just one of many illuminating analogies that might be challenging to absorb as a white privileged male-like myself. It is pretty typical to read or hear statements like this and immediately default to a defensive position.

I appreciated another of his thoughts related to approaching the world from a colorblind lens. If we agree as a society to not see color, that we are all the same, then we are making some awfully broad and treacherous assumptions. The question then that needs answering is why are certain groups of color disproportionately filling prisons, consistently lagging behind in schools, or living in economically deprived areas? In a color-blind world, we are all equal and one of the same, right? If so, either certain groups do not have the capacity to achieve and thrive as well as others or racism is alive and well. I think we know that answer.

*I know this is not coming out as well as he shared but you get the idea

 

Lucas Valley Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee

If you are interested in joining the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion team, we are happy to have you! With two meetings under our belts, the last focusing upon an illuminating presentation from two courageous Miller Creek Middle School students speaking on the topic of L.G.B.T.Q. and their heartfelt elementary school experiences in our district. We have a lot to learn, namely myself as a principal, ensuring that the voices and experiences of all students are not only welcomed but warmly embraced and celebrated in our learning spaces. Their feelings of alienation resonated deeply.

Working with their organization, SPAHR, our team listened in on what their asks were and we will work with our district team to see how we can provide the necessary support and education, and to promote safer learning environments moving forward.

 

The following principles continue to guide our path our way:

  • Promoting and celebrating diversity, inclusion, and multiculturalism in a variety of ways including school-wide gatherings, cultural events, workshops, parent education, and community conversations.

  • Providing all members of the community with a supportive space and the tools to learn about, discuss, and ask questions about issues and topics related to diversity and identity. 

DEI Meeting Dates in the future: 3.3, 3.31, and 5.5 (3:00-4:00)

Parent Racial Equity Series - (See Lori above)

Miller Creek School District hosted Dr. Watson as she engaged participants in the first of four parent seminars on racial equity. Participants were introduced to four agreements to utilize when talking about race:

  1. Commit to the cause

  2. Tell your truth

  3. Lean in to listen and learn

  4. Don’t dodge the discomfort

  5. Resist requiring resolution

Participants identified barriers that prevent open dialogue about race and viewed Being 12 an important video that amplifies the voices of children as they talk about race. Dr. Watson shared The Intersection, a tool that individuals can use when engaging in conversation about race to understand where oneself is and to recognize how others are entering a conversation.

Participants will read Detour Spotting by Jenna Olson in preparation for our next seminar which will be held via Zoom on February 2, from 6:00-7:30.
Want to join us? Register for the remaining three seminars by clicking here.

Covid-19 Scenarios to be aware of (Above)

As you have recently experienced through my letters this past week, there will be periodic Covid-19 exposure scenarios. No one is surprised by this and I thank you for understanding when we come to experience them together. What is important to know here is that The Marin County Public Health Department chart above drives our decision making so becoming familiar with it is as important as the Decision Tree.

Know that even as we see light at the end of the tunnel with vaccines underway, new leadership, Covid-19 lines recently trending in a positive direction, we continue to take quite seriously, our safety protocols such as mask-wearing, social distancing, hand washing, providing proper ventilation, cohort separation, classroom cleaning protocols, Crisis Go checks, and daily meetings with the office Safety Team. There is not a moment when we are not thinking about the safety of our children.

 

Home Support Teams Training - K-2 

Beginning this week, our K-2 Home Support Team staff will be trained in a new reading intervention program, Leveled Literacy Intervention. The training dates are February 3rd, 10th, and 24th. 

Dorothy Height has been described 
as the godmother of the 
women's movement because of her 
work for gender equality. 
For four decades, 
she led the National Council 
of Negro Women(NCNW)
and was a leading figure 
in the 1963 March on Washington. 
She received the 
Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1994.

Join the Conversation on Wednesday, February 3, 2021, at 7:00 PM - Parent Opportunity

In the fourth of six virtual community discussions that follow the chapters of Let's Talk: A toolkit for navigating teen substance use in Marin County, we will look closely at “Uppers, Downers and All-Arounders.”
The event moderator, Jaclynn Davis, authored the Let's Talk booklet. She received her Masters in Public Health and Social Work, and now focuses on adolescent health and youth development through her work with Huckleberry Youth Programs, local school districts, and teaching at Dominican University.
Our guest expert, Jennifer Epstein, has been a Health Educator for the past 20 years, and has taught in both public and private high schools in San Francisco. Her curriculum focuses on substance use prevention with an emphasis on saying "know." She has talked with hundreds of young people frankly about substances and uses student voices as well as current research to create class sessions that are both informative and relevant.
Michael Danne will share the youth perspective on this topic. Michael is a Senior at Redwood High School and is co-chair of the Marin Healthy Youth Partnerships Youth Advisory Council. He is also a Tobacco Use Prevention Education (TUPE) peer educator.
You will have the opportunity to ask questions and share ideas. We hope you can join us. Feel free to share and bring a friend! All attendees will be entered in the raffle for local gift cards.

Septima Poinsette Clark

was an educator and civil rights, activist

who established citizenship schools

that helped many African Americans register to vote.

Regarded as a pioneer in

grassroots citizenship education,

she was active with the NAACP

in getting more black teachers hired in the South.

 

School Accountability Report Cards

Since November 1988, state law has required that schools receiving state funding to prepare and distribute a SARC. A similar requirement is also contained in the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The purpose of the report card is to provide parents and the community with important information about each school. A SARC can be an effective way for a school to report on its progress in achieving goals. The public may also use a SARC to evaluate and compare schools on a variety of indicators. Click here for the 2019-2020 SARC Plan.

 

We look forward to our work together on behalf of our students! 

Thank you for those who have so generously supported Can Do!   

We are so grateful for your support during a time when our children need it the most! 

Support our students while shopping! 

Check out these easy ways to help our schools.

Farm Fresh to You

United Markets

Sports Basement

 

AMAZON SMILE will donate to Can Do! every time you make an eligible purchase. Same great products and low prices.

Virtual conversation with Dr. Madeline Levine, a psychologist with over 35 years of experience as a clinician, consultant, educator, and author: February 23, 2021, from 5:00 to 6:30 PM.

Dr. Levine will be discussing her book and New York Times bestseller, The Price of Privilege, which explores the reasons why teenagers are experiencing epidemic rates of emotional problems. Her current book, Ready or Not, focuses on how to best prepare our children and ourselves for an uncertain and rapidly changing world. Dr. Levine will include strategies and practices on how we can support our students during these unprecedented times.

We hope you can join us for one of the offered dates: February 23, 2021, from 5:00 to 6:30 PM.

Registration Link: https://mlevine.eventbrite.com.

Link: Dr. Madeline Levine flyer

 

Covid - 19 Links

*Health and Human Services: VERY INFORMATIVE PAGE

*California Blue Print for a Safer Economy

*Miller Creek District Rethinking schools page

*Family Hybrid District Handbook in English

*Family Hybrid District Handbook in Spanish

*2020-2021 School Site Protection Plan

Photo Gallery for the week