Hello families,

First and foremost, I am praying for all of you, our students, and entire community. We are living in unprecedented times. As your Diversity and Inclusion Consultant, I am working hard with the school leaders and Diversity Committee to give our families social emotional support, resources, and information.

This is the first email of the "Parent Resource Series." In the weekly emails, there will be a personal and intimate reflection from a person on the Diversity Committee. It is important for you to get to know the hearts, souls, and minds of the leaders that carry out the precious work daily for our kids. Also, there is a Parent Resource Center. The resource center is full of enriching education and information. I hope you find the emails helpful and insightful.

With Love,

Alice Prince

Year-End Parent Survey - Diversity & Inclusion Planning

As a part of our commitment to developing a Diversity & Inclusion Plan for each of our schools this year, the Federation of Catholic Schools is conducting a follow-up survey for parents. It is the same survey you were invited to complete in the fall. We would appreciate your time in completing the survey again, as it will assist the principal and core team at your school to continue to write the Diversity and Inclusion Plan to be implemented starting in August 2020. The survey was sent out in May. If you have already taken the survey sent out in May by your principal, please do not take the survey again.

Your voice is vital. If you have not taken the survey, please do so by clicking the link. There should be one survey taken for each child per guardian.

The parent survey will close on June 26, 2020, so please complete it as soon as possible. Your voice is important. Please take the survey.

Personal Reflection by Jacob Reft, Principal at St. Ann School.

As a husband and father of four young children I have a distinct responsibility in the education and upbringing of my kids. As a child, one of the most important and lasting impressions my parents made on my siblings and I was our family’s discussions about race and racism. In recent days I’ve seen headlines and think-pieces centered on the awkward or uncomfortable dynamics of today’s white parents discussing race and racism with their children after they themselves grew up in a household that was likely silent or limited in its teaching and talking about such topics. “Treat everyone the same” or “We don’t see race” or “We’re ‘colorblind’” are common one-liners that end discussions before they can really start. A few simple lines, well intentioned as they may be, are no match for the daily education we all receive from the carefully crafted news cycles, stereotypical and limited representation, and other cultural tropes that form our individual and collective views on race.

Black families in America are often very deliberate in talking about these same topics. These discussions happen frequently and quite necessarily in an effort to teach children about those stereotypes and prejudices, systems and mindsets that have so much potential to harm them in real measurable ways as they grow up. These aren’t the sorts of conversations that black families want to have but they’re so often acknowledged as necessary that ‘The Talk’ is a term widely accepted as an unfortunate but important part of the black experience, especially for black boys and young black men. 

So where’s the white community’s version of ‘The Talk’? Who is coaching white children about the dynamics and nuance of race relations and the dismal history that has plagued our nation? Who is pointing out the systemic and individual privilege that white children are likely to enjoy without even realizing it and illustrating the inherent and unfair challenges that their black peers are likely to encounter? It should be parents, first and foremost. I’d like to believe my siblings and I experienced a pretty good blueprint for what ‘The Talk’ might look like for white children.
My parents began talking to us about race and racism very early and very often. Identifying racism and injustice were not uncommon dinner table conversation topics in the Reft household. They taught us to recognize patterns and stereotypes in the media. They called out bigotry among people we encountered and made sure we understood their disapproval. They pointed out misleading communications in the news about race. They were specific about the individual and systemic challenges black people faced that we didn’t. They defined and used real concrete terms and equipped us with the vocabulary to continue those discussions on our own. When white flight coaxed neighbors away, my parents received the news with “good riddance” as opposed to worrying about what kind of family might move in next. Our version of ‘The Talk’ wasn’t a one time rite of passage but a daily and weekly education from the people we trusted most. As we grew up we learned to perceive the world through a lens of cultural competence and awareness. We were far from ‘colorblind’ and we were more compassionate and empathetic humans as a result. 

This is the experience and education my wife and I aim to give our children. Empathy is the characteristic I most hope to instill in my kids. Silence is not an option. A one time lecture is not enough. Our kids will be learning from someone and developing their own worldview on race whether we contribute to it or not and we can’t afford for the loudest or most frequent teachings to be those based in racism or ignorance. Speak to your children. Speak loudly. Speak confidently.

The resource below is a direct excerpt from the National Catholic Education Association.
Racism and injustice are topics that need to be discussed between parents and children. This Parent Engagement flyer (in  English  and  Spanish ) gives very subtle ways parents can help their children blur the lines between inequality and injustices. Simply having a conversation about each person being made in the likeness of God and treating all people with dignity lets children know this is right and it is expected behavior. Exposing children to many people, cultures, experiences supports the idea that all people are equal in God's eyes. These are a couple of the ideas in the June Parent Engagement flyer. Please be sure it makes its way into the hands of parents. These are confusing times for our children. Let's do our best to help them practice their faith every day. Remember all of the flyers are archived on the  NCEA website .
Additional Resources: