It is my personal and professional belief that the most important thing that we can do as a school community is to provide a safe, nurturing, respectful place of belonging for our children to learn. It is my goal that all children in our schools grow to become empathetic, contributing citizens who reach their full potential and make our world a better place. In order for this to be possible, the school environment we create must be free from hateful speech and actions that encourage discrimination and violence.
Racial and ethnic slurs, insults, and other disrespectful or threatening behaviors based on a person's individual characteristics have no place in our schools. Instead, we must choose to embrace a culture of kindness that celebrates the differences that make us all unique. Each of us has a special story to tell about our family, heritage, and traditions. Let's open our hearts and minds to those stories to better understand one another. We are stronger together! We all belong!
I ask you to join me in this commitment to ensure Avonworth is a place of belonging for all. Have the courage to stand up, to intervene, to be kind. It is the right and most important thing we can do for our children.
With kindest regards,
Thomas W. Ralston, Ed. D.
SUPPORTING AN ANTI-RACIST SCHOOL CLIMATE
BY THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE AVONWORTH SCHOOL DISTRICT
At the July 13, 2020 meeting of the Avonworth School District Board of Directors, the School Board adopted a resolution supporting an anti-racist school climate. Below is a statement from the President of the Avonworth School District Board of Directors, Mr. Beau Blaser. Please use the link above to access the resolution.
July 17, 2020
Over the course of the past several weeks, the United States finds itself facing the effects of racism and violence in our country. To complicate matters further, this is happening during a worldwide pandemic. Our nation’s children are scared, confused, and have the need to feel safe while all of us struggle to understand and make sense of the situations and our options for possible solutions. The challenges we face as a society are real and profound, and they will not be overcome in a day. However, they will never be overcome if our schools are not effective in the critical work ahead.
There is a long history of public education in our country tracing back to the inspiring ideas of thought leaders such as Horace Mann and Booker T. Washington. Both believed that only through education would our society be able to effectively provide opportunity and give people an informed voice in our democracy. In order for this to be possible, the school environment we foster must be free from hateful speech and actions that encourage discrimination and violence. The Avonworth School Board’s work on and adoption of the resolution on July 13, 2020, reaffirmed our commitment to support and maintain an anti-racist, safe, and inclusive school environment that provides an equal opportunity for all students in each and every one of our school programs. There is no place for racism in our country, especially in our nation’s schools.
Avonworth is a vibrant school community; a teaching and learning environment where all of our children can be their authentic selves without a fear involving the effects of negative stereotypes or prejudices. As residents and parents ourselves, our Board has recommitted to recognize, respond to, and speak out against all injustice, including any racial injustice, in our schools.
Working with our talented and committed administration and teachers, we will continue to do our part to raise awareness and educate our students so that when they see injustice, they will have the skills necessary to become part of the solution. Our resolution also makes a commitment to support the professional growth of our teachers and staff by focusing on unconscious bias training, exploring partnerships with diverse schools, and supporting the continued work of our Diversity Committee.
We also want to empower our students by guiding them as they lend their experiences and voice in the conversation through student clubs in school, encouraging the celebration of family heritage through a multi-cultural festival, and the implementation of a “No Place for Hate” program in our Middle and High Schools. Additionally, the creation and use of an annual stakeholder survey will provide a new channel for feedback on underlying cultural sensitivity/social justice/equity issues.
The Avonworth School District has continually undertaken self-reflective practices to ensure that we are offering the best possible education for every child in our community. Adopting this resolution will support the furtherance of our positive, constructive, and affirming school environment. I am proud of our community for doing its part to ensure that we stand together against racism. Each of us comes from different backgrounds and have unique stories to tell. Upholding a school culture that builds awareness and cultivates the skills in our students to have an open dialogue around difficult issues is one avenue that we can use to encourage tolerance, understanding, and positive change in our society.
Mr. Beau Blaser, President
Avonworth School District Board of Directors
STATEMENT OF THE AVONWORTH SCHOOL DISTRICT ADMINISTRATION
At Avonworth School District, our administration, faculty, and staff are committed to the creation and maintenance of "inclusive learning" spaces. Inclusive learning spaces are classrooms where you will be treated with respect and dignity and where all individuals are provided an equitable opportunity to participate, contribute, and succeed. In our classrooms, all students are welcome regardless of race/ethnicity, gender identities, gender expressions, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, disabilities, religion, and other diverse identities that we each bring to class. Your success at Avonworth and beyond is enhanced by the innovation and creativity of thought that inclusive classrooms facilitate. The success of an inclusive classroom relies on the participation, support, and understanding of you and your peers. We encourage you to speak up and share your views but also understand that you are doing so in a learning environment in which we all are expected to engage respectfully and with regard to the dignity of all others.
Avonworth School District supports an inclusive learning environment in which diversity and individual differences must be understood, respected, and appreciated. We believe that all students benefit from experiences that will help them learn, lead, and serve in an increasingly diverse society. All members of our school community must accept the responsibility to demonstrate civility and respect for the dignity of others. Expressions or actions that disparage a person's or group's race, ethnicity, nationality, culture, gender, gender identity/expression, religion, sexual orientation, or other diverse identities are contrary to the mission of the Avonworth School District. We expect that all Avonworth students, faculty, and staff will promote an atmosphere of respect for all members of our Avonworth school community.
Civility and respect for the opinions of others are very important in an academic environment. It is likely you may not agree with everything that is said or discussed in the classroom. Courteous behavior and responses are expected at all times. When you disagree with someone, be sure that you make a distinction between criticizing an idea and criticizing the person. Expressions or actions that disparage a person's race, ethnicity, nationality, culture, gender, gender identity/expression, religion, sexual orientation, or other diverse identities are contrary to the mission of the Avonworht School District and will not be tolerated.
At the July 13, 2020 meeting of the Avonworth School District Board of Directors, the School Board adopted a resolution supporting an anti-racist school climate and listed action items. In a letter to the community that followed, the School Board "reaffirmed their commitment to support and maintain an anti-racist, safe, and inclusive school environment that provides an equal opportunity for all students in each and every one of our programs. There is no place for racism in our country, especially in our nation's schools."
The Avonworth School District Administration will continue to support the creation and maintenance of an anti-racist and inclusive school environment. Behavior, comments, or actions contrary to our District's mission of creating this school environment will not be tolerated and will be disciplined accordingly. We need a school environment where everyone plays a role in making sure everyone feels they belong and are respected. We are one school community and we need to take care of, support, and respect one another. We thank each of you for your contribution to making Avonworth the amazing school district that it is.
Dr. Thomas Ralston, Superintendent
Dr. Jeff Hadley, Assistant Superintendent
Mr. Brad Waters, Director of Fiscal Management
Dr. Matt Erickson, Director of Student Services
Mrs. Andrea Patton, Athletic Director
Mrs. Keera Dwulit, Avonworth High School Principal
Mr. Mike Hall, Avonworth Middle School Principal
Mrs. Kaitlin Remensky, AHS/AMS Assistant Principal
Dr. Bill Battistone, Avonworth Elementary Principal
Dr. Scott Miller, Avonworth Primary Center Principal
Mrs. Pharlan Ives, APC/AES Assistant Principal