Leadership Team Update

May 17, 2022

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A Message from the WPS Leadership Team

Dear WPS Community,


It saddens and angers me to have to send yet another message as a result of a senseless act of violence that has claimed the lives of innocent people in a predominantly Black community. We recognize that the incomprehensible violence that occurred in Buffalo, claiming ten lives, may bring up strong emotions among our students and staff members, specifically as the FBI is investigating the shooting as an act of racially-motivated extremism. Also over this weekend, there was a shooting at a predominantly Taiwanese church in Southern California. We deeply feel the pain of the loss that these communities have experienced over the past few days and our hearts go out to those who lost loved ones in these hate crimes.


As a District, we strive to provide appropriate and necessary safety measures for People of Color during ongoing periods of racial unrest in this nation. We are committed to standing against racism and discrimination, and invite you to join us for a conversation with Dr. Kalise Wornum, discussing modern forms of racism, Tonight, May 17 via Zoom at 6:30 pm. Fully accepting that tragedies like the massacre in Buffalo impact all of us regardless of the location, Dr. Wornum will also provide a time for “checking in” at the start of the session.


Additionally, In honor of Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Watertown Race Reels will be screening the documentary Asian Americans on Monday, May 23 at 6:00 in the Watertown Boys and Girls Club. We encourage our families and children in grades 6-12 to attend this important event.


We are here for our students throughout the day, providing safe spaces to discuss their feelings about these events. Below you will find excellent resources to help guide discussions if needed at home.


Sincerely,


Dede Galdston, Superintendent, and the Watertown Leadership Team


https://www.nasponline.org/resources-and-publications/resources-and-podcasts/school-safety-and-crisis/school-violence-resources/talking-to-children-about-violence-tips-for-parents-and-teachers


https://www.pbs.org/parents/thrive/helping-children-with-tragic-events-in-the-news

UPCOMING EVENTS

Equity in WPS Speaker Series Part 6: Modern Day Racism

Tuesday, May 17th, 6:30pm

This is an online event.


Join us Tonight for a virtual conversation at 6:30 pm via Zoom with WPS families and caregivers, facilitated by Dr. Kalise Wornum. In this session, participants will engage in a discussion about modern day racism.


Participants will have an opportunity to raise questions and discuss challenges in real-time. This is the final part of an ongoing series with Dr. Wornum designed to provide families with information about our equity work in the Watertown Public Schools and to help parents and caregivers navigate difficult conversations around race and bias. Please join whether you are able to participate actively or just want to listen in.


Dr. Kalise Wornum is an Educational Consultant at KW Diversity Inc. Earlier in her career, she served as the METCO Director in the Wellesley Public Schools. As part of the equity work in WPS, Dr. Wornum has collaborated with the WPS Leadership Team in providing resources and training to become Culturally Proficient Leaders, and she delivered this year's keynote speech to all WPS staff on Opening Day, September 1. This work moves WPS towards achieving its mission of preparing all students for life by engaging them in a challenging and meaningful education within an inclusive, diverse community.


Link to Flyer

Race Reels: Asian Americans

Monday, May 23rd, 6pm

25 Whites Avenue

Watertown, MA

In honor of Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Watertown Race Reels will be screening the documentary Asian Americans (see attached flyer for details).


This month, one of our guest speakers will be Dr. Nicole Filler. Nicole is the Program Coordinator/Research Associate at UMass Boston's Institute for Asian American Studies. Joining Dr. Filler will be Mr. Qi Chen. Mr. Chen is the Assistant Principal of Lowell Elementary School right here in Watertown.

Reminder: Seeking Parent/Caregiver Volunteers to Serve on the Equity Plan Steering Committee

Recently, we shared the full Equity Audit with the larger WPS community, including the findings and recommendations. One of the priorities identified in the audit is to develop a multi-year plan to address issues of equity in WPS, guided by the recommendations from the audit.


In order to put the recommendations of the Equity Audit into action, we are assembling a team of educators, administrators, parents/caregivers, community members, and students to determine the next steps for WPS to promote, embrace, and live our core value of equity in a more systemic and focused manner. This work is vital to the success of all members of our Watertown school community.


We are looking for two parents/guardians and one community member to serve on this important committee. Interpreters are available for any parent or guardian who may need this service. The Committee will begin meeting this month on May 23 and will continue its work over the summer and into the fall. Additional details:


  • Introductory Planning Meeting Monday, May 23rd, 3:15 - 4:45 p.m.
  • School Year 2022-2023 Tentatively on the 4th Monday of each month
  • Summer 2022 2 meetings, July and August



**If interested, please apply using this google Form by 5:00 p.m. by Wednesday, May 18. Questions? Please email Dr. Kimberlee Henry, kimberlee.henry@watertown.k12.ma.us.