On Saturday and Sunday, we learned of two separate crimes on separate coasts linked by hate, violence, and racism. I have been feeling compelled to write to you about these events and the impact they have on our families and, ultimately, on our children. I want to be clear that these visible, extremist acts of terror signal the serious work we still need to do as a nation to create an equitable society where everyone belongs.
Turning Point School is pleased to announce its inaugural Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), Raúl González. Mr. González will join Turning Point in July 2022 as part of the senior leadership team reporting to Dr. Laura Konigsberg. He will work collaboratively with all departments and constituents to advance DEI initiatives and ensure the school furthers its strategic goal to drive a culture of inclusion and belonging.
Pretending the Holocaust and other horrific accounts in history can be taught in a palatable way is disrespectful and dangerous, especially in our polarized world. As educators, we have a responsibility to find age-appropriate ways to teach students real truths about the Holocaust and other atrocious historical events. Students need to understand the past—with all its disturbing and uncomfortable truths—to think critically and to examine their place in society and responsibility in creating a more just and equitable world.
Over the past five years, Turning Point has applied the lenses of equity, inclusion, and antiracism to approach teaching and learning, to guide our relationships with each other and our students, and to ensure that our school policies address systems that underlie inequities. I am thrilled to announce that we have synthesized and codified all this important work into a new webpage and accompanying PDF, Our Commitment to Equity, which I invite you to explore at the link below.
Our mission: We open our doors every day to create a dynamic learning community in which each child grows into their best self. This mission provides purpose and intentionality: we are committed to fostering the development of each child, every day so that they may thrive as citizens of a complex and interconnected world. Students learn that the gateway to personal fulfillment is inextricably connected to their experiences belonging to a dynamic learning community during their time at Turning Point School.
On this twentieth anniversary of 9/11, our children need to know that our community's commitment to justice is steadfast, because we owe it to them to help build a better world. Education is the key to combating stereotypes and building community across differences. As such, we have developed age-appropriate lessons to mark this 20th anniversary and to model hope and create dialogue. Please ask your child’s teacher for more information if you are curious.
This past year has provided myriad challenges and has revealed innumerable gaps in my knowledge about the world. This was the year we had to shift from believing the world should show up a particular way to understanding—often painfully—that the world just shows up. We don’t get to choose our crises, but we can decide how to respond. This awareness has redoubled my commitment to educating the next generation and has clarified my calling as an educational leader.
Today, with the jury reaching a guilty verdict in the Derek Chauvin case, we saw some movement toward accountability. While there is certainly a palpable sense of relief in the air, one verdict does not signal systemic change. It signals a tentative step toward justice.
Like many of you, I woke up yesterday feeling such joy in hearing that Reverend Raphael Warnock became Georgia’s first Black Senator and the first Black Senator from the Deep South. This was in stark contrast to how the day ended, after the violent riots and civil unrest in Washington, DC. These unconscionable acts left me with sadness, disbelief, confusion, and grief during what should have been the next phase in a peaceful transfer of power.
There is much work to be done when it comes to achieving racial justice, defending democracy, and ensuring equity--and our children will inherit what is left of the challenges we cannot resolve. We owe it to them to amplify our own commitments to these priorities. I feel re-energized to continue my efforts toward social change as one person among the multitudes working to “bend the arc of the moral universe more towards justice,” in the metaphor first envisioned by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and referenced by President-Elect Biden.