June 1, 2020
The tragic death of George Floyd brings racial tensions to the forefront of our country. While our nation and communities have made strides regarding racial equality, the reality is, our nation has a lot of work to do. As a school district, we want to acknowledge the pain our Kahok family is feeling and convey we are here for you.
Our school district is a snapshot of our country and we are fortunate to work with students from all ethnic backgrounds. Our diversity allows students to participate in clubs that support and celebrate ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation. While these are strengths of our district, we continue to look for ways to respect and understand our differences. In the days, months and years ahead, our district will continue to celebrate diversity, expand cultural awareness, and help our students and staff heal from the tragic events that happened most recently in Minnesota, by doing our part to help our society grow and improve.
It is important to understand, these comments are not simply words. Earlier this year, we formed a “Grow Your Own” committee to encourage our students to pursue education as a career and return to CUSD #10 to give back to our communities and combat the teacher shortage. One of our primary focuses is to increase the number of minority students who pursue education as a career and return to the Collinsville School District.
On the surface, this was a good beginning. However, as discussions continued and concerns were raised based on data and viewpoints, our focus has transitioned. Our focal points have become: take steps to break down cultural biases among staff and students, provide regular professional development to employees and alter curriculum to ensure student understanding – all while valuing our differences.
These efforts will help ensure we focus not only on racial equality, but acceptance of all. This will not occur overnight, but we are committed to educating our students and staff, helping each other heal and providing our students with knowledge to not only accept our differences, but embrace them.
Regardless of an individual’s ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation, we are committed to expanding our current efforts and growing as a school district and a community. I plead with everyone, treat others like you would like to be treated. If we can commit to that as a starting point, we are taking the first step towards progress.
Please be safe!
Dr. Mark B. Skertich