Superintendent's Newsletter - Feb. 18, 2021
Dear Salt Lake City School District community,
It has been a pleasure to host the three superintendent search finalists this week. They have toured our district and answered questions during different forums. With the current pandemic, most of these forums were conducted virtually. That allowed us to record them and post them to our district YouTube channel, where they are available for you to view.
The final forums for one of the finalists, Dr. Timonthy Gadson, will take place tonight. They will be streamed live on our YouTube channel. Please go to http://www.youtube.com/slcschools to view the Parent Forum tonight at 7 pm or to view the recorded forums for Dr. Wendy González and Dr. Jharrett Bryantt.
You can find a YouTube playlist specifically for the parent forums at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLqGbpVJk4XuS23zcIPWfRUOd9R5dnieo7.
After you watch the forums, please take a moment to fill out a Candidate Impression Form for each candidate. These forms are crucial to helping the Board make the best decision for our district. Candidate impression forms need to be completed no later than 11 am tomorrow, Friday, February 19.
The Board of Education will soon announce their decision on who will be the next Superintendent in Salt Lake City School District.
BLACK HISTORY MONTH
The month of February has started with great excitement as Salt Lake City School District welcomed students back into schools on February 8, 2021. As we celebrate the return of students to in-person learning, we are committed to providing Excellence and Equity: every student, every classroom, every day. We continue our effort to create welcoming and inclusive schools in which our rich diversity is celebrated. Nationally, we celebrate diversity when we honor the contributions of communities who helped shape our nation’s beautiful cultural tapestry. The month of February has been officially designated as Black History Month, during which time we honor the contributions of African Americans.
Black History Month was established in 1926 by Carter G. Woodson, founder of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). Initially, it was held the second week in February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, both of whom Woodson viewed as American symbols of freedom. Dr. Woodson never intended to dictate or limit the exploration of the Black experience; rather, he was asking the public to extend their study of black history. In officially recognizing Black History Month in 1976, President Gerald Ford called upon the public to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” Since 1976, every American president has recognized February as Black History Month.
Locally, our African American families play a central role in the increasing diversity of the Salt Lake City School District. African American students compromise 4.8% of our enrollment. Our district is lucky to be one of the most diverse districts in Utah, and our students are fortunate to have this dynamic experience. Our families represent cultures from around the world; only 44.3% of our students identify as white.
This year, the 2021 theme selected by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History for Black History Month is “The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity.” As our students read, write, and think about the contributions of our African American and Black families through the history of our country and the world, they will also have an opportunity to reflect on the events in our own country during the past year.
In Salt Lake City School District, we recognize the need to honor the contributions African Americans have made, are making, and will continue to make toward our understanding of our history, our world, and our lives. During February, and throughout the year, students will be provided with opportunities to listen to the voices, views, and perspectives of African Americans.
Salt Lake City School District supports building inclusive learning communities in all of our schools. We continue to ask ourselves how we can increase the representation of African Americans and all our diverse communities in our schools and learning. We view our diversity as a strength and our teachers are committed to honoring the contributions of our diverse communities. Throughout the month of February, we pay particular attention to celebrating African Americans and ensuring that students’ learning experiences include opportunities to understand and honor the contributions of African Americans in our community, state, and nation.
Salt Lake City School District