Dear EVCS Family,
Tomorrow morning at 10 AM students, parents and educators all across the country will be walking out of their schools for 17 minutes as a symbol of their solidarity with the victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas school shooting, and to protest gun violence in schools. Given the wide range among our students in terms of their age and readiness to process the context for this event, we will not be doing anything school-wide to recognize the walkout. If any parents want their child to participate in the walkout they will need to sign them out of school. If you plan to participate, with our without your kids, I invite you to join me in front of the school at 9:45. We can walk over to Tompkins Square Park and have a moment together under the elm trees.
And if you haven’t already seen it, there is an apropos piece in the New York Times today that ponders the question How Young is Too Young to Protest? A National Gun Violence Walkout Tests Schools.
Be safe, see you soon.
Dear EVCS Family,
We had a good turnout of parents, teachers and staff on Wednesday morning for our open forum on school safety. The conversation was positive and productive, as usual. And while it’s difficult to arrive at a place of absolute consensus around such a complex and emotionally charged issue as this, there were clear areas where we were all in agreement.
We all feel strongly that our kids should always feel safe at school. Any discussion, curriculum or action we take in response to this or other school shootings, should not only help kids make sense of the world we live in, but also instill or reinforce the idea that their parents, teachers, and school staff are in charge and taking care to keep everyone safe. It can also help them to feel empowered by the notion that they can use their voices to show support for victims and their families and change things in our world that are clearly not OK. Yet, many parents of students of all ages at our school feel unsure about their own children’s readiness to process a violent tragedy such as this. Most of the parents in attendance said that they either have not spoken to their children about school shootings, or they have done so very carefully. There was a common feeling among many in attendance that direct discussion of school shootings in school, or a large scale action such as a walkout might actually work against our goal of helping kids to feel safe, and cause them to feel scared and unsafe. The last thing we would want to do is contribute to the collective fear and anxiety our kids may already be experiencing.
To that end, EVCS will not be organizing any sort of unified action on March 14th during the national walkout. However, if any parents are interested in having their kids participate as individuals in the walkout they will be supported by our school. Parents would need to sign their kids out of the office if they want to participate. On a personal note I want to let you know that as an educator and as a father, I plan to walk out for the 17 minutes on Wednesday in honor of the victims of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and in support of ending gun violence in schools. My daughter Roxy will stay in school with her teachers and classmates. If anyone wants to join me – with our without your kids – I’d love your company. We can meet in front of the school at 9:45 and walk to Tompkins Square Park, where we’ll sing This Little Light of Mine under the “Hare Krishna” elm tree.
There is also an interest in gathering a group to march together at the March for our Lives rally on Saturday the 24th. Be on the lookout for more information about that.
I always appreciate being a part of this wonderful community. But it’s moments like this, when we are confronted so directly with the violent and awful realities of our world, that I take tremendous solace in all the goodwill, kindness, fellowship and joy that we have here at EVCS. We are truly lucky.
Dear EVCS Fam,
Today marks the first day of the Reading Olympics fundraiser! Check your child’s backpack for the sponsor sheet and instructions, and start hitting up your neighbors, friends and relatives for pledges.
This year, please encourage your child to read books by a diverse array of authors, and books that feature characters and topics that reflect a diverse range of experiences and perspectives. The sponsor sheet asks for students to log in 10 books (grades PK-2) or 10 hours (Grades 3-5) between now and April 9. All students who participate in the Reading Olympics will get a prize, but students who log in more than half of their list with diverse books will get an extra special prize! On the sponsor sheet simply highlight the books that honor and reflect the experience of LGBTQIA, Native people, people of color, gender diversity, people with disabilities, and ethnic, cultural and religious minorities. If you’re looking for some ideas for award winning books that reflect our diversity, check out some of these lists: