West Clermont Words: Learning to See Beyond Ourselves

by Natasha L. Adams

These past few days have weighed so heavily on me and I’ve simply been at a loss for words. As I reflect on everything that has been happening in our country, I am overwhelmed by how large the issues that we face as a society are and how much work we have ahead of us, not just as a school district but also as a society and one human race.

Acts of hatred, racism and social unrest in America have caused us to be outraged, heartbroken and disempowered. Moments of crisis, however, also amplify the need for courageous leadership.

Our students mean everything to us and we know that they are watching, listening and waiting for us to be responsive. With this sense of courage, obligation and urgency coupled with the spotlight on the inequities and injustices across our community, what is our path forward together? How do we turn this turbulence into a positive outcome for our students, families and community?

I believe a big life lesson in all of this and a great opportunity for us is to model for our children the importance of seeing beyond ourselves. We can create positive outcomes by changing the way we view and regard our connections and obligations to others.

In West Clermont we condemn violence and are committed to continuing to create positive impacts for our students’ lives and their futures. We use the hashtag #WCconnects to represent the value we place on relationships and making connections with others, and to remind us that coming together around a common goal makes us better. And there are some key words in there: connections…together…us; because at West Clermont we stand for all students.

But it has to be more than words of support. We must follow with action.

To change the way we view and regard our connections and obligations to others means that we may have to unlearn some things. During these tumultuous times, changes that are implemented might not be perfect and they may even at times be uncomfortable but we can promise to try. We need to make sure we are deliberate in our words, yes, but also in our actions.

Caring for one another transcends schools, politics or even a pandemic, and to be a healthy organization, we must continue to partner with all of our key stakeholders to listen, learn, and analyze how our policy, curriculum and staffing models can become more responsive to best serve our children.

A big part of that work includes putting our strategic plan into action. Year 2 of implementation involves a concentrated increase in our efforts. In order to realize our vision to Learn, Lead and Succeed we must commit to excellence with every learner, every day and in every way.

But what does that look like in action?

Our emphasis on developing a high-performance culture, our deeper implementation of the social-emotional curriculum, and continued strengthening of our Positive Behavior and Intervention Support (PBIS) system will enhance individual student outcomes such as improved academic results, responsible behavior, caring for others, optimism and positive interactions district-wide. In other words, this is not a quick fix or short road. This is important work that ideally will facilitate systemic change.

Here are two of the top priorities we will focus on throughout the summer in preparation for the 2020-21 school year.

Our top priority is to create a safe, orderly and caring learning environment. This is not only about physical safety, but social-emotional safety and cyber safety so that we can be responsive and ensure each learner can thrive and grow.

Our second priority is to know each student well and elevate their voice. We will help each learner to feel seen and heard to know they are special and they matter.

We are all learning that we have much to do, and we will keep you updated in the summer and throughout the school year on the actionable progress we make in regards to our priorities. One of the most important things we can all do right now with our child is to observe, listen and have conversations that help them process their thoughts and feelings. Together, we can make a positive difference. We look forward to continuing to partner with you.


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