We Must Act
We at Lake Country School are heartbroken and furious about the murder of George Floyd at the hands of the police officers sworn to protect and serve all people. We are deeply sorry and extend our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of George Floyd.
WE MUST ACT FOR GEORGE
Our hearts also go out to the people, including the many staff members and families of Lake Country School, who live in the area and have been directly affected by the events of last week. We see you, hear you, and stand with you as we stand with the Black community and with all people of the global majority in this time of pain and anger. We are a community that encourages peace, but can understand the deeply felt rage that comes from not having a voice and the desire to be heard through action.
WE MUST ACT FOR THE COMMUNITY
We acknowledge that we have not done enough internally and externally to combat the systemic, institutional, and historic racism that exists. We have not taken overt action nor provided clear communication to act against racism and truly promote peace.
As a community, Lake Country School is committed the following actions:
-to be an anti-racist/anti-bias community
-to implement a comprehensive anti-racist/anti-bias education at all levels
-to actively recruit staff and families of the global majority
-to remove barriers through financial support for Montessori training for people of the global majority
-to listen, support, and work in partnership with organizations in our community and nationally that support equity and justice for people of the global majority
WE MUST ACT AGAINST RACISM AND FOR PEACE
Our mission and values of respect, responsibility, diversity, inclusion, Montessori education, love of work, peaceful community, and stewardship demand us to follow through with these commitments - if we do not, then we can no longer exist.
Head of School
Equity & Justice at LCS: April 2021 Update
Dear LCS Families,
We are all connected and as we awaited the verdict in the Chauvin trial over the last week, we likely all felt that connection even more clearly. It was clear that if the jury determined Derek Chauvin’s cruel, inhumane, and unprofessional actions that killed a man were legal, then people would feel hopeless and that would likely lead to significant civil unrest, as well as immediate and long term consequences for our community, city, state, and country. I hope that level of connectedness persists and deepens, so we each continue to be champions for the rights and freedoms of each person in our community each and every day, as if our own rights and freedoms depended on it...because they do.
The three guilty verdicts bring an end to the trial and give people a moment of relief; a chance to pause and reflect. This is just a moment of respite for the LCS community though. It is temporary because there is an immense amount of deep and meaningful work related to equity, justice, and inclusion ahead of us to address the systemic racism and bias that exist in our school, community, and nation. I also want to acknowledge that the verdict and process of the trial carries with it strong emotions, and even trauma for those who support the verdict. LCS stands with all of our BIPOC community members and acknowledges that their emotions regarding the trial and verdict may be especially intense.
LCS will continue to hold school for the remainder of the week as planned. During this time we will take time to acknowledge the event and provide students with opportunities to process the trial and verdict in developmentally appropriate ways. In this process, we will continue our practice of following the steps below to support students through challenging situations:
- Emotions check-in
- Ask what students know and what they have heard, and then listen carefully
- “What do you know?” “What have you heard?”
- Help them name and acknowledge the situation and any harm or impact they are feeling
- Ask them for thoughts, ideas, and questions about what to do about the situation
- “What do you want to do about it?”
- Let them know we care about them and help them focus on areas they can control
- “What do you want to do about it?”
- Emotions check out
- Offer more time and space for students who want to process more
As we work with children and adolescents to process this event, we remain committed to open and honest dialogue and prioritize social emotional learning that is safe for all students. (See resources below that LCS faculty are using to guide their work with students)
At LCS, our core values are love of work, peaceful community, and stewardship. For us to actively participate in creating a more just, equitable, and inclusive society, we will have to continue to demonstrate these values every day together as a committed community.
Please see resources below to support you and your family in processing the trial, verdict, and related topics. Please contact your child’s classroom teacher, Bonnie Furlich (Wellness Coordinator - firstname.lastname@example.org), or me (email@example.com) if you have specific concerns.
In partnership and solidarity,
Head of School
General and Family Resources
Managing Your Mental Health During the Derek Chauvin Trial (KARE 11)
Resources for the Derek Chauvin Trial (Guild)
Resources for the BIPOC community during the Chauvin trial (NAMI)
How To Talk With Kids About Terrible Things (NPR)
Talking To Children About Violence (NASP)
How to Talk About Traumatic Events and Tragedies (MDE)
Race Talk: Engaging Young People in Conversations about Race and Racism, New York Times Article (ADL)
How to manage anxiety and talk to kids amid Derek Chauvin trial (GMA)
Accountability, Justice, and Healing After Derek Chauvin’s Trial (Facing History and Ourselves)
Responding to the Chauvin Verdict (Learning for Justice)
Equity & Justice at LCS: March 2021 Update
Below are some resources for you regarding two ongoing situations. The first is the trial of Derek Chauvin. The second situation is the increased violence and attacks of Asian and Asian-American people over the past year due to some leaders and media outlets focusing the blame for the Covid-19 pandemic on China. The murders in Atlanta were a terrible reminder of the hate and prejudice Asian and Asian-Americans face, especially in the Covid era.
If we want peace and justice, we need to start with ourselves and our families. It is important that we as adults continue to educate ourselves and our children about prejudice while we work towards understanding differences and building cultural competence. We also need to model being upstanders in our communities through small and large acts of leadership against racism and prejudice in our own families and communities.
Resources about Anti-Asian Violence and Atlanta Shootings:
Connection between racism and misogyny towards Asian and Asian-American women
How to help kids of color navigate racist experiences (Seattle NBC News Video)
How to Talk to Children about Shootings: An Age-by Age Guide (Today Show)
Mom talks to her kids about anti-Asian violence goes viral (Seattle NBC News Video)
How parents can support kids through (and beyond) the latest wave of anti-Asian American violence (CNN Health)
Asian Americans, Racism, Anti-Racism in the COVID Era (Embrace Race)
Resources for Supporting Our Families with the Chauvin Trial:
Tips for parents during the trial of Derek Chauvin (Children’s MN - video and simple steps)
Doctor explains how to help kids cope with mental and emotional trauma during Derek Chauvin trial (KARE 11 News Video)
Equity & Justice at LCS: December 15, 2020 Update
The Equity and Justice Staff Committee members with the support of Head of School Ben Moudry have continued to put the work of re-evaluating our own biases and dismantling white supremacy culture at the forefront.
The staff members that attended the Dismantling White Supremacy Culture in Schools webinar over the summer were so inspired that they wanted to share the language and main points they learned with the rest of the staff. By having a shared language and knowledge of what makes up white supremacy culture and how we all are negatively affected by this culture will help us all better understand it and hopefully work against it. During the two weeks of staff prep time, all staff took some time to talk through definitions of key words. These words and terms ranged from “racism” to “white privilege” to “anti-biased, anti-racist education.” We then focused and talked about the elements that make up white supremacy culture, some of these elements are perfectionism, sense of urgency, either/or thinking, fear of open conflict, and worship of the written word. If you would like to read more about white supremacy culture, Tema Okun has a wonderful document online titled White Supremacy Culture.
During another one of our staff prep days, we broke out into small affinity groups by race to discuss our initial thoughts on learning these different keywords, definitions, and elements of white supremacy culture. There were a lot of good and constructive conversations and a lot of thought was put towards the idea that we all perpetuate and are harmed by white supremacy culture.
We continue to dedicate time during one of our bi-monthly all staff meetings to discuss a topic related to Equity and Justice work throughout the school. At our most recent all staff meeting, we took a deeper dive into the White Supremacy Culture article by Tema Okun and shared stories or experiences of how the different elements have an impact on all of us.
Ivonne Rodriguez, who works in Children’s House 1 and who has led Spanish Club, was hired as our Equity Facilitator. She will now work with all levels of the school to help bring conversations regarding race and identity into the classroom. Ivonne will help by providing resources, books, and lessons and by working in collaboration with the classroom guides.
During our All Staff Retreat this fall, local presenter Donte Curtis joined our group to continue our conversations. Donte’s workshop was titled Collectively Healing: Breaking the Cycle of White Supremacy. After our online session with Donte, many of the staff felt inspired and were able to see the power we each have to help disrupt this culture that we all live in. We look forward to continuing to work with Donte and have him help lead our Intercultural Development Identity assessments with our new staff this year and all of the members of our board.
We know this is big work and takes time as well as courage. Our hope is to continue these conversations, continue to challenge ourselves, and continue to create change-makers within our community.
Equity & Justice at LCS: September 1, 2020 Update
The Staff and Board Equity and Justice Committees and the administration at Lake Country School, as well as individual staff members, have been working on important issues in the past few months. As you know, in the spring, following Derek Chauvin's murder of George Floyd, members of both the staff and board E&J Committees met with Ben Moudry and Robyn Bruggemann, Chair of the Board (at the time), to craft a public statement in response to this tragedy. In that public statement, we made commitments. Here is an update on our work over the summer.
- Members of the staff E&J Committee have been compiling a list of resources dealing with anti-racist work.
- Members of the staff E&J Committee have been working on creating flashcards -- cards with a picture and some facts -- that will help teachers and students celebrate the various Heritage Months.
- 13 staff and board members attended a two day webinar on Dismantling White Supremacy Culture in Schools and continued to meet to discuss and plan every two weeks or so throughout the summer
- 9 staff joined Minnesota Montessorians For Equity and participated in monthly meetings to talk about resources and accountability as well as to attend webinars with other Montessorians across the state.
- A number of staff and board members took advantage of opportunities for a variety of individual webinars and videos.
- A number of staff and board members read books to help us learn: Paulo Freire's The Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Robin DiAngelo's White Fragility, Bettina Love's We Want to do More Than Survive, Ibram X Kendi's Stamped from the Beginning and How to Be Antiracist
- 9 staff worked through The Food Solutions Network's 21 Day Racial Equity Habit-Building Challenge and participated in periodic discussions
- Ben and members of the staff and Board E&J Committees drafted a job description for two Equity and Justice Coordinators (Part Time 0.15 to 0.2 FTE), which will be posted internally
- Staff are planning to do a review of books in the RC, with the goal of identifying books that will help us in our goals of being anti-racist as well as including talking points for books that include biased content, in order to aid staff and students in these discussions.
- At least 3 staff/parent community members participated in Embracing Equity's virtual conference on "Building Stamina" for the work of dismantling white supremacy culture in schools, and bringing healing.
Links to Educational Resources:
Talking about Race and Anti-Racism with Children (Reading List from Ramsey County Library):
Link to page at Hennepin County Library with great resources for caregivers:
Hennepin County ebooks and audiobooks widely available:
Teaching about race, racism and police violence:
How should teachers and parents talk to kids about police violence - The Washington Post
Teaching Tolerance - Don't Say Nothing - the importance of talking about racism
How to talk to kids about racism: An age by age guide:
Are your kids too young to talk about race? Use this helpful chart as a guide to starting these conversations with children and adolescents:
Anti-racism resources for white people:
Talking to Children Authentically about Race and Racism (PBS Kids for Parents):
Raising Antiracist Kids: Ibram X. Kendi with Derecka Purnell (Online Event Opportunity):