Dear OUSD Community,
I have been deeply troubled by the tragic events in recent days, weeks and months that took the lives of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd, as well as many others in recent years. My heart is heavy as we witness yet another series of atrocities.
As a human being and a school leader responsible for educating Black youth, I want to acknowledge what is taking place throughout the country. I feel the weight of these events and their impact on our students.
I want to reaffirm our commitment to racial and social justice in the Ojai Unified School District and to support our students in finding their voices and expressing themselves. We deeply value ALL of our students and their families, and have an explicit value of creating an inclusive culture in OUSD.
We remain committed to positive change to move us forward in making our community safe and healthy for all students. As educators, we have the power to make a tremendous impact in the pursuit of equity. Here are some of the actions we are taking moving forward:
*Equity is not possible without ensuring that students are not stuck in a predefined academic tack based on race or ethnicity and offering high-level content to all students to help end the racial disparities we currently see. We are committed to ensuring that high levels of learning are available for ALL students.
*Another crucial action is teaching students to value each other’s ideas, and to respect each other. We can do this through specific Social and Emotional curriculum in all grades. We will continue to refine and enhance activities to help address issues of bias.
*We are committed to keeping issues of equity at the forefront of our work at OUSD.
We mention these ideas as examples of some of the ways that we will work to make a difference. In addition, our school community of teachers, counselors, leaders, and staff are always here to help. If your child would benefit from talking to a counselor, please use the HELP form here https://bit.ly/OUSDhelpform.
We have also collected some resources for talking with kids about these events.
1. Something Happened in Our Town https://bit.ly/OUSDourtown
2. NPR What to Say to Kids When the News is Scary https://bit.ly/OUSDScarynews
In a civil society, we are all responsible for justice, and we show our humanity by coming together to support each other in trying times. Ojai Unified School District does not and will not stand for racial intolerance, and we will continue to work together to provide a safe, inclusive environment for all students.
Take Care, Tiffany Morse, Superintendent