Dear Shorewood Families,
Like all school districts in the country, we are embarking on a historic year. In the midst of two pandemics (Covid-19 and Racism) and a divisive political climate, 242 Shorewood school staff members joined on a virtual call last Wednesday, August 26, to begin to prepare for what lies ahead for us for the 2020-2021 school year. The reality is that we cannot fully prepare for what is ahead because of all of the unknowns. What we can control is how we take care of ourselves and each other during a time that I am confident we will all be telling our grandkids about some day.
I have felt the conflicting effect of the need for distance and the need for closeness over the last five months. Mask wearing and physical distancing have been scientifically proven to mitigate the spread of Covid-19 and should be practiced until the pandemic is over. At the same time, I never realized how good a smile and a handshake felt until I couldn't have them anymore.
Our staff mantra this school year is: “Embrace the Adventure!” Like any good adventure, we can’t come out of it the same way we came in. Our destination has to be different. One of justice and peace. Not one or the other. As Dr. King said in his speech at Stanford in 1967 entitled The Other America, “social justice and progress are the absolute guarantors of riot prevention.”
To end both pandemics, and therein, the violence resulting from injustice, it will require us to expand our hearts and minds and place three strategies in our plans as we move into the 2020-2021 school year: Grace, Humility and Persistence.
Grace is providing ourselves and each other the love and mercy we need to make mistakes and get stronger. Humility makes it clear that none of us have all the answers to our issues. The answers lie among us. And persistence is the stubborn continuation in a course of action, in this case toward justice, in spite of its difficulty.
So as we all head into the 2020-2021 school adventure that will be written in the history books, let’s be sure it becomes a tale of grace, humility and persistence. That it is an adventure with a new destination, justice for all. A destination our Founding Fathers called for but never had the courage to act out. A tale with heroes from every race coming together to conquer our invisible enemies of Covid-19 and racism, and resulting in new levels of student achievement for all students. This is our time. This is our duty. Let’s do this together.
Dr. Bryan Davis
Shorewood Schools Superintendent