Noted African-American author James Baldwin once wrote: “We’ve got to be as clear-headed about human beings as possible because we are still each other’s only hope.”

Last week, I shared a few of my thoughts about recent events around the country with the faculty and staff. I wanted to take this opportunity in the Bobcat Newsletter to share these same thoughts with you.

“While the issue of racism is a constant thread that runs throughout our nation’s history, the recent peaceful protests and unfortunate violent reactions and responses surrounding the regrettable death of George Floyd have brought much-needed attention to the topic.

Educators have a responsibility to both be informed ourselves and, in return, to impart this knowledge to our students. Racism is a learned belief and action, and our efforts in the classroom can be useful tools for students learning both how to support people of all colors and backgrounds and how to understand them more deeply.

Though the closures of our school and the lack of face to face contact make connections with our students more problematic, it remains vitally important that we work with them whenever and however possible to develop their empathy and understanding for others. I do not doubt that you do this as part of your everyday teaching and are continuing to find ways to do so even in these waning days of the current school year. The link below is from one of our fellow NWAIS schools and provides a plethora of materials and resources for all ages. I hope you find it useful.

Throughout the summer, I hope to continue the discussion with you regarding how we can be better role models and teachers for our students in the area of diversity and inclusion. Also, the Board of Trustee’s Diversity and Inclusion Task Force will assist us in supporting this endeavor in new and significant ways in the coming school year.

It is difficult to imagine more trying times to be a teacher than today. At the same time, these are teachable moments for all of us and our students. Who better to take the lead in these efforts than all of us? Thank you for all that you do for our students and the Lake Tahoe School community.”

Finally, last week, Mark Crotty, Executive Director of NWAIS, shared his take on our role as educators: “We need leaders who help and heal. Especially in our schools. I contend young people are inherent idealists . . . until failed by adults. Kindle that spirit in them. Have these essential conversations. Help them make sense of what’s raging around us. Equip them with the skills and imbue them with the most basic values and with love. Celebrate the unique gifts of each special individual. Empower them to believe they can make things better. They need you, and the world needs them.”

Whether an educator or parent, Mark’s words ring true. The responsibility to educate and to nurture our children is ours and ours alone. James Baldwin was right as well; we are each other’s only hope. Together, we can raise children of resilience, empathy, and understanding – children who can and indeed will make things better for all of us.