Juneteenth—A Day of Reflection for MCPS
The following message was emailed to 12-month employees on Wednesday, June 17.
On behalf of the Board of Education and MCPS leadership, we want to thank you for all that you have done for our students and community throughout the year, but particularly during the COVID-19 crisis. Your commitment to the work during this crisis made it possible for us to meaningfully teach, feed, engage and celebrate our students in a remote environment. We know that many of you worked longer and harder than ever before to ensure students, staff and schools had the resources and support they needed to make the best of these last three months.
In addition to the global pandemic, we know that the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and Rayshard Brooks has weighed heavily on your hearts and minds, as it has ours. The blatant disregard for the lives of these black men and woman shines a spotlight on racism in our nation that is overt, covert, structural and institutional. Educational institutions have undoubtedly contributed to this problem. Yet, as a community committed to learning and continuous improvement, we have made it our mission to build an equitable system of excellence for all. Today, we are confident that we are capable of, and committed to, accomplishing our mission.
Recent events have been happening at such a rapid pace that there has been little time to reflect or process. You have been asked to create, implement, serve and support as world events cascade around us. You have done all of this without taking a breath or having the time to think about the meaning of everything that has happened and what needs to happen. Connecting what we do with why we do it and how our work fits into a historical context is important work.
As many of you know, Friday June 19, is Juneteenth, a day commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. With this in mind, we are asking that no meetings be held on this day to give you and your colleagues an opportunity to step back, process and reflect on all that has been happening and how we can move forward to truly fulfill the mission of our school system. We ask that you take time to consider how your work and commitment moves our students and school system closer to our goal of a more just and equitable community. Below is a list of resources to consider as you reflect.
Thank you again for all that you have done and continue to do on behalf of MCPS students.
President, Montgomery County Board of Education
Jack Smith, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Resources for Reflection:
- Teaching Tolerance: Teaching Juneteenth
- NMAAHC: The Historical Legacy of Juneteenth
- Video: History of Juneteenth
- Levels of Racism: A Theoretic Framework and a Gardener’s Tale
- An Educator’s Guide to This Moment