September 4, 2020
Dear WCCUSD Community,
Today marks the end of Week 3 for the WCCUSD family and I am excited for the activity and progress WCCUSD’s educators and support teams are doing in the classroom for students and families.
Writer and parent Kathy Chouteau penned this piece in the Richmond Standard about their family’s experience with distance learning. Kathy highlighted the parent/family distance learning guidebook available in English and Spanish as well as the Digital Backpacks. So please take a moment to read that.
We also want to encourage families, students, and community members to share their experiences with distance learning and are asking for you to participate in this ThoughtExchange about the first three weeks. The exchange will remain open for the next week and close on Friday, September 11. Please take a moment and share your thoughts with us and encourage other families and students to participate as well.
I am inspired and hopeful for the work we are doing internally to address our system in and out of the classroom, specifically when it comes to addressing race and equity.
We heard loud and clear the need for our system to address the historic inequities that have affected and impacted communities of color, in particular the African American families, students and staff in WCCUSD. Over the past six months, we have witnessed a social movement spurred by violence and brutality of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Pinole Valley graduate Patrick Underwood and most recently Jacob Blake.
These acts of brutality and violence are the ones that we know about because of cameras. The truth is that these actions have affected the African American community since the inception of this country. One way to help break decades of unjust practices is through education. Not just with students, but with ourselves.
We know the inequities exist. We have data that shows the student achievement outcomes for African American students tracked by the state lag well behind their counterparts. And we know that African American students are suspended and expelled at rates significantly higher than their counterparts.
To help break these cycles and ensure more African American students achieve their dreams, we have specifically designated Fridays throughout the year for District wide, school and department professional development focused on racial justice and equity. As individuals and the District, we need to address and examine ourselves and the system through the lens of racial equity and oppression. It is essential that we ensure WCCUSD is doing everything it can to interrupt and eliminate practices that reinforce, support or perpetuate the status quo.
We know the work cannot move forward with just one day a week, but it is essential that we have consistent dedicated time where we gather as a whole district to continue the conversation and extend the work.
Additionally, an Office of African American Student Achievement (OAASA) led by William McGee was established to focus on African American students. We have also significantly increased funding for programs and practices that support African American students, and the Board of Education passed two resolutions, The Positive School Climate and the Support of the Achievement and Success of African American/Black Students all to support African American students. So, please stay tuned and stay with us as we continue this important work.
Finally, I want to bring a few items to your attention.
We were able to change meal service back to the summer guidelines this week, allowing all children ages 18 or younger to receive breakfast, lunch, supper and snacks at no charge. Meal pick up is from 8 am to 1 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 15 school locations.
School Lunch Forms
We need EVERY family to complete the school lunch form, regardless of income level or free and reduced priced lunch status. It significantly impacts WCCUSD’s funding of other programs and services (English | Spanish).
For the first time on November 3, WCCUSD voters will vote for school board candidates based on the area they reside (district or ward) instead of an at-large format that was used in the past. To find your district visit https://bit.ly/wccusdvotingarea. We also need community members to sit on the redistricting commission that will help set the VOTING boundaries following the November elections.
To apply visit www.wccusd.net/redistrictingcommission. Applicants will be selected by retired Judge Thelton Henderson, the first African American attorney for the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice.
Thank you for your time and remember to continue to follow the physical distance guidelines and take time for yourself and your family. Enjoy the long weekend.
Matthew Duffy Superintendent