January 11, 2021
Dear Shaker Heights Schools Families,
In our school community, we often talk about the fact that the color of our skin shapes how we experience the world and how the world perceives each of us.
The events at the Capitol building on January 6 provided an example of the disparity in response by law enforcement to protests organized by largely white groups versus those organized by the Black community, specifically, the Black Lives Matter protests.
We know the power of real-world learning experiences for students. As a District committed to diversity, equity and inclusion and having adopted an Educational Equity policy, which is the foundation of our Strategic Plan, we also believe it is important to create designated spaces for historically underrepresented voices to be heard.
To that end, the District is taking this opportunity to engage students in a timely, non-partisan learning experience about the historic events on January 6 at the Capitol building.
From 10:30-11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, January 12, the District will host “Black Student Voices: The State of our Democracy,” a special in-school learning opportunity for students in Grades 2-12. This learning experience, planned collaboratively by the District’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Learning and Teaching Departments, will include remarks from District administrators and a panel discussion that includes Black students from Grades 5-12. Dr. JeffriAnne Wilder, the Executive Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, will facilitate the discussion.
During this hour:
Students in Grades 2-4 will participate in the first portion of the event, which will include remarks from Dr. Wilder about the historic nature of the November 2020 presidential election and the January 5 Georgia election results. These students will be dismissed from the assembly to participate in age-appropriate activities and a teacher-guided discussion.
Students in Grades 5-12 also will listen to reactions and thoughts from a panel of six Black students from Grades 5-12 as they answer questions regarding the January 6 events.
Students in PreK-Grade 1 will participate in age-appropriate activities and teacher-guided discussions about this topic instead of attending the virtual event.
We look forward to your student’s participation in this learning opportunity. We are hopeful that it inspires them to take responsibility and action toward creating a more equitable community, country and world.
The District will share a recorded version of the panel with families and the community as well as links to age-appropriate resources to further discuss the January 6 events with your students.
Dr. David Glasner, Superintendent
Shaker Heights Schools