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5/29/20 Superintendent Update

5/29/20 Superintendent Update
Posted on 05/29/2020

Dear Families,

 

What a bittersweet Friday for us all. Our seniors have had their official end to school. Yesterday they saw some of their trusted adults, teachers, and school staff come to their homes to celebrate them and bring them their caps and gowns and had their parade today.

 

For me, it was the most fun I have had in months, and, a chance to say goodbye to some of the last students I had at WMS (who were 5th graders when I headed to the central office). I love seeing how they all grow up, make plans, and become confident young people. Congratulations Seniors. You are our pride and joy and we cannot wait to celebrate you further at our hoped-for August event. (fingers crossed, hearts full).


Dr. Nolin pictured with a graduating NHS senior

Of course, it's all bittersweet because our plans didn't go the way we hoped they would and this is also juxtaposed with a terrible public death of Minneapolis man, George Floyd, earlier this week. The death of Mr. Floyd cannot go without comment from a district that has placed anti-racist practices and becoming a more equity-focused organization in its strategic plan and—more importantly—in the expectations for what we want all of our graduates to know and do in our Profile of a Natick Graduate.  

 

While I am sure there are many sides to stories—and we will hear them—this incident is devastating for our country, and is one of many that we have seen in recent years. I sat with my 14-year-old daughter, who watched this man's death, as she cried and asked me how this could happen and what can we do? She researched and cried for his fatherless children and a life ended too soon. And we, as a white family are feeling heartsick, but both of us tried to imagine what this must feel like for families who see themselves and loved ones—their sons, fathers, uncles, friends—in Mr. Floyd.

 

In a time of national trauma due to the pandemic, this served as a re-traumatizing moment. Our reserves are low collectively due to coronavirus closure, but our students and families of color, particularly Black families—who are affected by the novel coronavirus, with death five (5) times more likely than white families—have even less reserve and more traumas to contend with. My daughter and I firmed our resolve to do whatever we can to continue to build a world where this type of incident does not happen. It's truly a matter of life and death.  

 

If you are struggling and want to talk with your children as I did, I share these resources given by one of my trusted advisor friends to help build a dialogue of action and understanding of this incident. An upside of coronavirus closure quarantine for my family and me is that we are indeed having dinner together many more nights a week than we used to. I am trying to make the most of those dinner talks as my teens slip into adulthood. Talking about these issues is primary and important and a key part of the adults I need them to be. They are next to lead, I hope you'll join me in that dialogue.

 

Discussing Race after An Incident

https://www.gse.upenn.edu/news/talking-children-after-racial-incidents

Discussing Race with Young Kids | First Steps

https://www.slj.com/?detailStory=discussing-race-with-young-kids-first-steps

 

For Youth of Color from the American Psychological Association (APA) - Great resources, especially for parents/guardians

https://www.apa.org/res

 

Be good to each other.
--Anna

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