Superintendent's Message - July 1, 2020
Dear Salt Lake City School District families,
My name is Larry Madden, and I am thrilled to serve for the next year as your Interim Superintendent. I’ve thought long and hard about what I wanted to say in my first message to you.
Over the last several weeks, I’ve been torn by the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and many other members of the Black community. These events are a painful reminder of the deep systemic and structural racism that exists in our country and of how much work we need to do to dismantle it.
Given the discourse about racism and racial injustices on our national consciousness, I want to add my voice to emphatically state that the Salt Lake City School District condemns racism, hatred, and injustice; silence is not an option. We believe fully that Black Lives Matter. It is our responsibility to seize this opportunity to grow, to become stronger advocates for the marginalized members of our community, and to act in ways that are vigorously anti-racist.
I firmly believe that our diversity is one of the things that makes the Salt Lake City School District such a special place. Celebrating that diversity means fully embracing our desire and responsibility for inclusion, belonging, and justice for everyone; but especially for the historically marginalized members of our community, including Black, Indigenous, People of Color, LBGTQIA+ people, and those with disabilities. It also means acknowledging our shortcomings and continually seeking ways to right wrongs. As a district, we have a long way to go, but we are committed to the ongoing hard work, difficult conversations, and proceeding actions that must follow.
Salt Lake City School District will continue to improve our own equity, diversity, and inclusion work, and we will continue our efforts to ensure that our staff, our curriculum, and our instruction are a reflection of the community we serve. Now more than ever, I feel the importance of education in supporting the growth of young leaders who are dedicated to creating an equal and just society. We will continue to examine, and act on, issues of inequity to make sure all students have access to the resources, programs, and experiences they need.
Just as these issues and conversations have deeply impacted so many of us, this may also be a confusing and troubling time for our students. I want the families and students of our community to know that we are here for you, and we are ready to help. I have included some online resources below to help guide family discussions.
Our Vision Statement reads, Excellence and Equity: every student, every classroom, every day. It is imperative that this is seen not just in words but in our actions. I believe we have the opportunity to grow and to become stronger; to take better care of all members of our community. My door is always open.
I look forward to growing and strengthening this community with you.
Salt Lake City School District
P.S. Below are a few online resources to help you engage in anti-racist discussions with your students.
- Beyond the Golden Rule: A Parent’s Guide to Preventing and Responding to Prejudice (Southern Poverty Law Center) (PDF article in English)
- Preparing Young Children for the Inclusion of Children with Disabilities into the Classroom (National Association for the Education of Young Children) (web article in English)
- Social Justice (National Association of School Psychologists) (website in English)
- Talking About Race (Smithsonian) (website in English)
- Talking Race with Young Children (National Public Radio) (20-minute radio story in English)
- Talking to Kids About Discrimination (American Psychological Association) (web article in English)
- Anti-Racism for Kids: An Age by Age Guide for Fighting Hate (Explore Parents) (web article in English)