On October 15th, Oregon State University and Corvallis School District co-sponsored Finding the Light: A Suicide Awareness Walk. About 50 people representing OSU, Corvallis School District, community members and students participated by holding candles and walking the path from the City Gazebo to the OSU Women’s Center. After a reflective walk, the group sat together for over an hour and shared heartfelt stories and experiences where suicide, depression, and tragedy had impacted their lives or those lives of friends and loved ones. This walk was an example of how we can raise the awareness and provide education to our community on how we can reach out, help others and make a difference.
The Oregon ShakeOut:
The following day, Corvallis Schools and the District Office participated in the Oregon ShakeOut! We practiced our emergency response in case of an earthquake with the mantra of “Drop, Cover, Hold On!” Not only did I participate with the District Office, but I managed to join Adams Elementary School as students took cover under tables and desks in practice. Drills such as these are taken very seriously, as our students and staff practice and model what to do in case of emergencies.
Golden Apple Award and Stellar Service Award Portraits:
I would like to direct your attention to our beautiful portraits of our 2014-15 Golden Apple and Stellar Service Award winners hanging at the back of our Boardroom. Thank you to the Mario Pastega Foundation for their continued support in recognizing our extraordinary educators.
Courageous Conversations National Conference:
Last week I had the privilege in attending the Courageous Conversations National Conference around equity, which included focused topics around racial equity, students of poverty, students with disabilities and students where English is their Second Language. Some of the highlighted learning experiences included:
Spending the weekend collaborating with other leaders nationally around creating and implementing student equity leadership groups at the district level and at each of our schools. These groups provide students the opportunity to share their voice, advocate for equity, and establish a safe and powerful environment to grow leadership skills.
Other significant sessions included how to better engage our community in our equity work and moving from incremental change to transformational change in large systems.
One of the most impressionable moments for me last week, however, was having the opportunity to hear Ruby Bridges speak. Ruby was one of five black students in 1960 to pass a test allowing her to attend first grade at William Frantz Public School in New Orleans, an all white Elementary School. Ruby’s story, shared from the perspective of a six year old, was incredibly touching and shocking. Listening to her account of learning in a room alone with her teacher who came from Boston to teach Ruby. She would look out the windows and watch the children play at recess and would hear children talking in the classroom next door as she hung up her coat in the coat closet, yet initially was not allowed to be in the same room as her classmates. From her perspective, she just wanted someone to play with.
Today, Ruby shares her story with such grace and advocacy for equity for all children. I appreciated her spirit and courage, even years after the role she played in history and am challenged personally and professionally to keep focused on providing all students with access and opportunity for success.
October 13, 2014
August 18, 2014