From Principal Leith: June 5, 2020

Dear Morse School parents and caregivers,

Earlier in the week, I shared with our staff some of my own reflections about what it means to be a white person, a father, and the leader of a school community within the context of persistent racial oppression. After two years of serving as your principal - and 16 years of raising my own children of color in Cambridge - I realize that I often have more questions than answers about how to be an anti-racist person, how to raise an anti-racist family, and how to lead an anti-racist school. However, like many of you, I am committed to learning and growing - and to engaging in conversations, reflections, and actions that will help us more forward.

At yesterday’s virtual JK/K open house, we shared with our incoming families the following equity statement, which was drafted by a group of parents and staff members from the Race & Equity Working Group who have continued to meet during the school closure:

Morse Draft Statement on Race & Equity

At the Morse School, we acknowledge that we live in a society shaped by systemic racism and racial inequities. From a lifetime of exposure to white supremacist cultural attitudes, we each carry hidden biases. Left unchecked, these biases diminish the inherent self-worth and well-being, limit the voice, and undermine the success of children, families, and educators of color in our community.

We are committed to dismantling racist structures, hearing and elevating underrepresented voices, and ensuring an equitable and just educational experience for all Morse School students.

If you would like to share your reaction to the statement or would like to engage in a conversation about the impact of racism on our community, please consider attending next week’s meeting of the Morse Race & Equity Working Group (Thursday, June 11th from 6-7:30PM). All parents, caregivers, and staff members are warmly invited and encouraged to participate. Here is the link to participate in the 6/11 meeting via Zoom.

Additionally, and as a step towards aligning our words and actions with the commitment expressed in this equity statement, I would like to invite each adult member of the Morse School community to read and reflect upon at least one of the articles linked below. If you are just beginning to think about how race and racism might affect you and your children, then any one of these articles will offer you a place to get started. Even if racism has become a regular topic of conversation in your household, you may find below some reaffirmation, fresh perspectives, and new ideas for framing your discussions with friends and family members:
Thank you in advance for joining me and the other members of our community in remaining committed to moving our equity work forward during this pivotal moment in time.

Picking Up Student Belongings
We have established times for drop-in curbside pickup of student belongings, next Tuesday (6/9) and Thursday (6/11) from 10AM-2PM. Not all classrooms had items of importance left behind, so please only stop by to retrieve items if your child’s teacher has indicated that items belonging to your child have been prepared for pickup.

Virtual Field Day - June 8th-12th
Thanks to P.E. teachers Phil Fousek and Lauren Bean for organizing our first Morse Virtual Field Day! The goal of the event will be to create a sense of community. Even though we cannot be together in person, we can all share in the fun. Each day, JK-5 students will be able to choose to complete between 3-5 virtual field day activities - from among 24 different virtual events! Please keep your eyes out for a kickoff email from Mr. F and Ms. B with more information about how to participate - and how your child can send in pictures to be included in a Field Day slideshow!

Next week we will also be holding our final week of virtual extracurricular activities for children of every grade level. We hope that many Morse School children will join in. Here is next week’s schedule of virtual events.

Ending the Week on Hopeful Note
Finally, you may have received an email today from Sam de Soto, who has been sitting in for our music teacher Ms. Graeber while she has been on maternity leave. In the message he sent to Morse families, Sam shared a special video rendition of What a Wonderful World, which he created in response to the feelings he has sensed among our young learners during this challenging time. I highlight his video here because it is quite touching, and I didn’t want it to get lost in your inbox. Enjoy!

Wishing you and your family a safe and peaceful weekend.

Sincerely,

Principal Chad Leith
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