Engagement Matters

Hi Friends,
So many things happening at APS:Superintendent Search — please engage with this process. The more voices APS hears about wanting a Superintendent who will encourage culture change and a true, intentional dedication to addressing equity and inclusion issues, the more likely we’ll get it (hopefully). Please speak up! You can attend one of the in-person sessions or you can submit online. Please ask your school communities to get involved as well.
Your Voice Matters Survey — please engage with this opportunity. APS needs to hear from our community about school and community climate, student health and well-being, voice and engagement. Responses are kept anonymous by the third party vendor and the survey is open to all families and all staff, as well as students in grades 4–12 (they will take the surveys at school). The survey link was sent out by email on Monday by Panorama (check your junk folder if you didn’t see it!) and paper copies were already sent to families without an email address. Each family gets one survey. The survey has been translated into the main five languages spoken by APS families. The data will be used across the County and APS to address student and family needs, so this is a wonderful opportunity to share your experiences and your concerns as well as your support.
Elementary School Planning Moves, to be followed by a boundary process — I know this has been very stressful and contentious. Try to stay informed, keep engaging your communities and advocating for the education and well-being of all of Arlington’s students. Tough changes are coming across the county, and the more we can focus on how these changes affect our disadvantaged populations and advocate for eliminating barriers (or at least preventing the creation of new barriers), the better we all will be.
One of our group members is connected with St. Mary’s Episcopal Church (near Marymount University) and their Ministry on Race, Reconciliation & Equity (MORE). Many religious communities are taking the lead in addressing these issues with their members, so if you are part of a religious organization, see if your community is interested in taking on similar work (if they don’t already).
Resources:- NPR’s Karen Grigsby Bates did a segment on Code Switch on The Whiteness Project: Facing Race in a Changing America back in 2014. The website for The Whiteness Project includes interviews with white collar people in Buffalo, NY and millennials in Dallas, Texas (click on Series in the upper left corner to choose). You can see clips of each interview. From the website, “By engendering debate about the role of whiteness in American society and encouraging white Americans to become fully vested participants in the ongoing debate about the role of race in American society, Whiteness Project aims to inspire reflection and foster discussions that ultimately lead to improved communication around issues of race and identity.”
- Melissa Gira Grant writes in The New Republic about how “Cash Bail Was Never About Safety,” supporting recent efforts to reform the criminal justice system.
- A quick note about CityLab, from which I have often pulled relevant stories — it was previously run by The Atlantic, but is now controlled by Bloomberg, so I’ll be keeping an eye on whether/how the content shifts. Hopefully it will continue to be a useful resource for our work.
- Integrated Schools posted a lovely tribute to Courtney Everts Mykytyn on their blog, including what is next for the organization.
- Bellamy Shoffner has rebranded Hold the Line to Revolutionary Humans, which looks like it will be a wonderful resource for social change.
Events/Actions:- A group member shared a webinar by the Consortium on Reaching Excellence in Education (CORE) on January 29 called “Casualties of War: Reading Science Denial and Racism’s Impact on African American Children” — you can register and if you’re not able to attend live, you can receive the recording by email.
- Arlington will be celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on January 19 with music, dance, and spoken word. There is also a program at the National Cathedral in collaboration with Advancement Project DC, also on January 19.
- A reminder about the 2020 Black Lives Matter at School events coming up in February.
- EmbraceRace’s upcoming webinar on January 28 is on “‘Mommying While Muslim’: Raising Healthy Muslim Children in a Post-9/11 World
Listen. Amplify. Follow.

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