MSAA Matters

June Volume I

June 2, 2020

Dear Colleagues,


I have been contemplating and quite frankly, fretting, as how to open this June newsletter. This past week has been extremely disturbing and heartbreaking. Not only are we in the midst of dealing with a worldwide pandemic, the closing of our schools since March, the planning of closing out this virtual school year in a meaningful and memorable way; we are now confronting the horrific killings of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, and Breonna Taylor in Louisville.


We now ask: How do we deal with this? How do we confront this? How do we help our students and families process this? We know that diversity is the fabric of what makes our schools the dynamic places they are, and we know as school leaders we must deal with this and be part of the change that must happen.


We know our students and families are being deeply affected by these events. We are frustrated that we can not help our students and families in person, but because we are the leaders in our schools, districts, and communities, we will find a way to address this with our respective school communities, now, virtually, and moving forward. We will help one another, we will carefully plan our responses and process these events with our students and families, in the months and years to come. It is imperative that we ensure our children feel safe and our families know that racism and any ism's will not be tolerated in our schools nor in our society. We are the leaders in the advocacy of change.


Our message here at MSAA is stay strong, collaborate with one another, reach out and ask for help. We are better together and MSAA is here to help. Our immediate response at MSAA will be to explore more professional development opportunities, to tackle these issues of equity, the isms, prejudice, bias and violence. We must act, we must do things differently and MSAA will support you in anyway that we can.


To that end, please find some timely and helpful articles that may aide you in speaking with students staff, and families now. A special thank you to the high school members who, on Monday, June 1st, in our MSAA Ring Central Gathering, noted that resources right now, would be most welcome. Article 1 is from an organization called Chalkbeat, it has curated some conversations from around the country with links you should find helpful. Article 2 is from Facing History, Facing Ourselves -it is a blog post. Resource 3 is a link to the Anti-Racism Project filled with valuable resources. Resource 4 is an educators' curation of resources to deepen our anti-racism work. Click here for Beyond the Golden Rule, a Teaching Tolerance resource for parents to prevent and respond to prejudice. Click here to access the Center for Racial Justice in Education for more resources. We will continue to curate resources to share with you - if you have a good one to share please let me know. Lastly, the Commissioner shared DESE's latest Multi-Tiered System of Support Academies 2020-2021 for schools and district teams focused on culturally responsive teaching and educational environments.


PD with Principal Baruti Kafele last week as we explored: Is My School a Better School BECAUSE I Lead It?, was particularly timely given the circumstances. It was an enlightening and thought provoking 4 hours with Principal Kafele and many current and relevant topics to reflect upon, especially the messages that we implicitly or explicitly send to our students of color. I know the workshop resonated with those of us fortunate enough to be able to participate. I can honestly state that in working with so many of you over the last few months, at all grade levels, that the answer is a resounding YES!, Your school is a better school because you lead it. Each of you has exhibited caring, kindness, compassion, care and an unabiding commitment to doing the best for each of your schools and districts! You work tirelessly each day and at times we are daunted by our work, but you've got this, and we’ve got you! Consider MSAA not only your resource but the support on which you can always lean.


On a final note, as you are continuing to work through the COVID-19 crisis, please find below, articles that I have been curating since the last newsletter. They are primarily focused on dealing with the Coronavirus pandemic.


In the meantime take care of yourselves.


On behalf of MSAA and Executive Director, Bill Gaine: Stay safe, stay strong.


Warm Regards,


Beth


Beth Wittcoff

MSAA Assistant Executive Director

MSAA Matters Newsletter

Middle Level and Elementary Committee Liaison

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Zoom Gatherings

MSAA High School Gatherings Mondays ​ @ 3:00 PM


MSAA Special Education Gatherings Tuesdays @ 11:00 AM


MSAA Assistant Principals every other Tuesday beginning April 28th 2:30 PM


MSAA Middle Level Gatherings Tuesdays @ 3:15 PM


MSAA PK - 6 Gatherings Tuesdays @ 4:00 PM


MSAA ELLs Gathering Thursdays @ 2:00 PM (cancelled)


MSAA All Levels Gathering Thursdays @ 4:00 PM

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