Good afternoon Murch Families,
This coming week, Murch will join schools across the city and country to honor Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action. Our hope is this week honors the brilliant Black students, teachers, staff members and families at Murch and moves us toward cross-cultural dialogue to support a community where everyone feels safe, loved, appreciated and free.
Part of our work this year as a staff is talking about race and racism, which for many can be complicated. As we pursue conversations about race and black history month this week with students, there may be misunderstandings and confusion. We may stumble along the way. As a school we are committed to facing these topics together rather than shying away for fear of making mistakes. This year teachers are engaging in monthly discussions around our own racial identities and how our backgrounds impact interactions with students. For this Week of Action, we are using resources vetted by educators. Administrators and teachers who make up the Murch Equity Team will work with teachers and students this week where support is needed. We will follow up with families to share the outcomes from this week.
As a school we will focus on three guiding principles to teach about the Black Lives Matter movement. These concepts fall in line with what we have been working on for years as part of responsive classroom:
- Black villages: Families are people who take care of each other. There are lots of different kinds of families. Sometimes families are related, sometimes it’s people who choose to take care of each other.
- Restorative justice: If you do something that hurts someone, like knock over their blocks tower, you can’t just say “sorry” and walk away, you have to help them rebuild. It’s also important to give people a chance to make a better choice another time.
- Collective value: Everybody is important and has the right to be safe.
We are inviting community members to respond to these prompts, posted on bulletin boards in the gym hallway:
- What does Black Lives Matter mean to you?
- Black lives matter at Murch when… _____________________.
- Who are the people and families in your villages?
- Think of a time you worked out a problem with another person. What did you learn from talking with the other person and listening to their point of view?
- What do you need from your community to feel loved, appreciated and safe?
- How do you make sure everyone in your community feels loved, appreciated and safe?
If you as a parent or family member would like to offer any responses, I invite you to email me your words or send in hand-written notes via your student’s teacher. Feel free to answer all or just a couple that speak to you or your family. The email to send responses to is Sophie.email@example.com.
If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out. In the meantime, here are a few resources if you want to learn more or extend conversations at home:
- DC Area Educators for Social Justice — BLM Week of Action resources
- 13 guiding principles for Black Lives Matter in kid-friendly language
- CNN/Sesame Street Town Hall on race/racism
The Murch faculty and Staff