Champaign School Community - Message from Dr. Wiegand

Tue, 11/15/2016 - 8:40am

Dear Faculty and Staff,

I am writing to address concerns in our school community regarding the climate in our country after the 2016 election and how this may be impacting our students, faculty and staff.   Please be reassured that in Unit 4 we remain steadfast in our commitment to equity and providing safe, supportive learning environments for all children in our community. It is our deeply held belief that public schools are places where we can champion unity over divisiveness. 

To do this, we must continue to create an environment that allows for the free exchange of ideas and non-partisan discussion of the issues. Our students are looking to us to set an example on how we move forward together and conduct respectful discussion on controversial issues. The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) has provided excellent guidance for how adults can support children and youth who may be struggling. You can view that here. 

For those students, families, and staff who are upset or may be worried about the future, each of our schools has created safe spaces where students can feel heard and voice their concerns. We must also remain vigilant in ensuring the safety of all students. Each Unit 4 employee has completed training via SafeSchools on how to address bullying among students, particularly actions aimed at vulnerable student populations.  Any instances of bullying should be documented and addressed in accordance with our Code of Conduct. 

This is also an opportunity to more deeply engage in our school community and work to fully realize our District's mission for an excellent and equitable education for all. I would like to highlight some of our ongoing efforts below, and encourage you to participate and engage in our work in these areas. 

  • Social Justice Seminars -  Social justice seminars take place quarterly and are open to all community members. Contact: Laura Taylor, taylorla@u4sd.org. The District's social justice efforts have spurred a number of task forces, including: 
    • LGBTQ Task Force - Contact: Angi Franklin, franklan@u4sd.org or Danielle Cook, cookda@u4sd.org.
    • Homelessness Task Force - Contact: Bill Taylor, taylorwi@u4sd.org 
    • Social Justice Educators' Collaborative - Contact: Katie Flugge, fluggeka@u4sd.org
    • Education, Equity, Excellence (EEE) Committee - This District committee focuses on equitable access and academic outcomes for all students. Contact: Angela Smith, smithan@u4sd.org
  • Culturally Responsive Education - This effort and collaboration with Dr. Fergus from NYU includes implicit bias training. As a continuation of this work, we continue to monitor equity work in each building. Contact your building administrator on how to get involved.
  • Minority Teacher Recruiting & Retention Committee (MTRRC) - This committee focuses on how to recruit and retain high quality minority faculty, hosting regular social gatherings and an annual conference. Contact: Ken Kleber, kleberke@u4sd.org
  • English Learner Parent Advocacy Committee (PAC) - Regular meetings for English Learner parents to gather resources and build community. Contact: Maria Alanis, alanisma@u4sd.org
  • Special Education - Resources and supports for families with students with special needs. Contact: Elizabeth deGruy, dugruyel@u4sd.org

Thank you all for your passionate commitment to our students and schools. I consider it a great honor to serve alongside each of you. Together, we will continue this journey to achieve equity and excellence and provide opportunities for all students to fully realize their hopes and dreams. 

 Sincerely,

Judy Wiegand

 

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