Message from Chad Leith: February 25, 2021

Dear Morse School parents and caregivers,

I hope that your child enjoyed the February break and that his/her week is off to a great start!

I would like to begin this week’s newsletter by highlighting recent acts of racial violence aimed at Asians and Asian Americans. These hate crimes - documented in a recent blog post by Awaken co-founder and CEO Michelle Kim - have caused fear and harm across the country. They reflect a persistent and historic strain of structural racism in the United States. As noted in this recent New York Times opinion piece by Anne Anlin Cheng, the racism experienced by Asian and Asian Americans, while long-standing and pervasive, often goes overlooked. As a community that actively seeks to provide a welcoming and affirming experience to children, families, and staff members of all backgrounds, I ask that we share a commitment to understanding and challenging the harmful stereotypes and narratives that perpetuate anti-Asian racism. For my part, I must acknowledge that even as I have sought to provide anti-racist resources for the members of the Morse School community, I have often fallen short with respect to resources that highlight the voices, stories, and experiences of Asians and Asian Americans. This is something I hope to correct, and ask for your help and solidarity as we together work to ensure that our Asian and Asian-American classmates, neighbors, and colleagues enjoy a feeling of belonging and support within our Morse School community.

On a related note, Morse School parents and caregivers of East Asian, South Asian, Southeast Asian, or multi-racial Asian heritage are invited to participate in a Cambridge Families of Asian Descent Get-Together on March 9th from 7:30-8:30PM. For more information and to register, please visit this page on our website.

I’d also like to share a reminder that the Morse School Working Group on Race & Equity will hold its February meeting this evening from 6:00-7:30PM. We will be joined tonight by Community Charter School of Cambridge Head of School Becki Norris and CCSC School Psychologist April Valete, who will share about the equity improvement work taking place at their school. This conversation will provide us with an opportunity to collaborate with - and learn from - another school community that is engaged in the important and difficult work of addressing implicit racial bias and systemic racism. All parents, caregivers, and staff members are warmly invited to attend. I shared the link for this evening’s meeting in an email to the community on Tuesday (2/23), but please let me know if you need me to re-send!

Black History Month Live Stream Resources
As part of yesterday’s Live Stream, Ms. Headley and I shared some Black History Month resources. Unfortunately, we experienced a few technical difficulties during our broadcast, and so I wanted to provide a link to my 8 minute interview with Cambridge School Committee Member Ayesha Wilson, who shared about growing up in Cambridge, her work as a social worker and public servant, and her thoughts on Black History Month. For those looking to learn more about the history of Cambridge’s black community, I am also sharing the Cambridge Black Trailblazers website and the list of historical markers along Cambridge’s African American Heritage Trail (which makes for a great neighborhood walk on a warm spring day!).

COVID Safety Information for In-Person Families
Thanks to those parents and children who were able to join me and Ms. Headley yesterday evening as we shared important safety information for those returning to in-person learning. If you were unable to attend, we ask that you and your child please take the opportunity to review these resources before your child comes to school on March 1st:

Thanks to you and your child for doing your part to help keep our Morse School community safe and strong!

A Reminder about Absences & Tardies
Whether learning in-person or from home, your child is expected to participate in a full day of schooling, in accordance with the schedule developed by Morse School teachers and teams. Please report any absence to Morse Clerk Elaine Delaney (617-349-6575). Also, parents of children learning in-person are reminded that drop off begins at 8:10. After 8:25, your child will be marked tardy and must enter the school through the Main Entrance.

As always, I am grateful for your support and collaboration as we continue to operate under challenging circumstances. I wish you and your child all the best for a great end to the school week and a safe and restful weekend.

Principal Chad Leith

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