Sunday Memo January 15, 2017

Martin Luther King was an agent of social change, a politician, a father, husband, minister and warrior for equity. Sometimes, I feel that we have diverted from the honesty of his legacy due to the nature of his death. He became a martyr, a role he never aspired to or accepted. He was a human, with a heart for justice. At the end of the day, he inspires us because he acknowledged the brokenness of the human condition. He did not believe that all humans would understand his vision, his dream, for equal outcomes for all children. He did, however, continue to work for this dream, regardless of the personal cost. That is the power of MLK day - an acknowledgement that the work he began is not finished. All of us encounter the gap between our aspirations for equity and the day to day reality of our educational and social systems. It is the tension between this aspiration and the reality that motivates us to continue our work. One of my favorite MLK quotes is, "Justice is really love in calculation." For me, this means that nonviolent resistance is not passive, but active. To make a difference in a child's life, to change a trajectory, is to act with love and calculation. It doesn't happen without this commitment to action. Words alone will not change hearts and minds. In the spirit of Dr. King, and our district's commitment to All Means All, I honor the equity work that continues in our school, our community, our state and our nation. Together, we can make a difference.

Reminders for the Week

  • MLK Day - No school on Monday
  • Staff Meeting on Tuesday @ 3 PM in Library
  • Wednesday late-start is teacher-directed
  • We are on a special assembly schedule on Friday, Jan. 20th. This is our rescheduled Movie/PJ day that was delayed due to snow days before Winter Break.

Curriculum Highlights

  • I-team walkthroughs on Tuesday @ 10-11 AM. District and school staff will visit i-team classrooms to observe and debrief together. We will be looking for evidence of 21st century teaching and learning in our classrooms. This is always a wonderful chance to see what's happening in our classrooms and to practice our observational skills together.
  • The Schedule committee is convening for a full day on Wednesday, Jan. 18th at the D.O. This meeting was moved from last Friday due to inclement weather. Much thanks to Aaron and Cis for their flexibility and extra work to prepare for subs. It's been a difficult process due to unexpected weather constraints and changing dates. We will share more information about next steps after this meeting.
  • Kym LeBlanc-Esparza will visit CV on Thursday from 12-2. We usually spend some time talking about leadership and then we visit classrooms. Be prepared for a drop in with Kym on Thursday, especially if you are a Humanities teacher.

Heidi Hopkins and I met multiple times in the past two weeks to plan for the next iteration of our Kindness Matters initiative. Here is a quick synopsis of possible next steps:

  • Recognize students and staff who interrupt negative behavior by "upstanding." This term is aligned with taking a stand against harassment and bullying in our school by "standing up" and making sure students are safe and respected @ CV. The goal of the #upstanding campaign is to move from idea into action - and to notice when this happens in our school community on a regular basis.
  • Recognize Kindness leaders through at least 2 more celebrations/activities.
  • Host a a series of student/parent focus groups to begin a conversation about race, gender, identity and harassment/bullying.
  • Collaborate with Peace Village, a local organization that supports students in the development of peaceful communication strategies. Peace Village offers a summer camp yearly and has an established curriculum that supports peace in our community. We hope to collaborate with Peace Village leaders @ CV to support our commitment to kindness and peace in our school community.
  • Transform our "Intensive Thinking Room" or I.S.S. room, into a Mindfulness room - with a focus on self-awareness and self-regulation. This is a project that Heidi is leading, with parent volunteers. Tomorrow, they plan on hanging murals with calming imagery on the walls. In addition, mindfulness resources will be available in the room to assist students who are having a hard time self-regulating. As this project comes to fruition, please stop by and visit our new Mindfulness room.


As we prepare for our last master schedule meeting this week, I have been reading research and digging into the priorities and criteria we articulated at our last meeting. As with any big endeavor, it's easy to miss the forest for the trees. For me, the power of the master scheduling process is to reinforce our district and school mission and vision for teaching and learning. There will always be logistical constraints in any schedule - from transportation, to lunches to start and end time. These logistical constraints are real but I think we seldom look outside of the logistical box when we envision a new way of scheduling our day. For me, the purpose of the schedule is to support powerful teaching and learning @ CVMS - and to stretch the constraints for the purpose of deep learning - for adults and for our students. I ran across some very interesting research and I'd like to share one article that really got me thinking from the educational blog, Mind/Shift. Here is the link:

Enjoy your MLK holiday. I hope it inspires you to strengthen your commitment to equitable outcomes for all students @ CVMS. Although it is hard work, it is just work. Know that I appreciate all of the effort you are making in our classrooms and in our school community to realize the dream that Martin Luther King so eloquently articulated.

Cheers, Karen

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