As we approach the last week of school (the last day was moved up to June 19), one kid in my house still has a few Zoom meetings left even though he turned in his “last homework of the year,” and the other has to use this final week to wrap up his missing work. If there was a narrator, they would tell you that all of that work would indeed go unfinished. Though it seems impossible to think about the next school year, State Superintendent Chris Reykdal wrote a letter to the school districts this week saying, “To be very clear, it is my expectation that schools will open this fall for in-person instruction.”
Reykdal included guidelines for returning to school, one of which calls for masks for all students and staff. Gov. Jay Inslee added that this was not a “guarantee” that school will open in the fall, “but for now, this guidance provides a path that schools, educators and families need to plan for the coming months and the fall.” Inslee also said the plan to reopen schools would be reassessed if COVID-19 cases spike in the state.
The Edmonds School District responded by saying it is “committed to exploring the viability of this reopening plan for in-person instruction.” The district added that outgoing Superintendent Dr. Kristine McDuffy is working with our new Superintendent Dr. Gustavo Balderas to use the guidelines to make “specific plans for different school scenarios when we reopen in September.” The message from the school district does say that school will look different than it did before the pandemic and that they are preparing for several different scenarios. You can find the entire message HERE.
On Tuesday, June 16 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., the Edmonds School District is holding a virtual community forum to discuss school safety and the current role of School Resource Officers after a petition requesting that the district remove police officers from schools made its way around social media and gathered 900 signatures. The conversation is not new to the district but has been renewed with recent discussions about race and police brutality toward people of color. Last week, the school board read public comments submitted from district families on both sides of the issue.
Registration is required for this special school board meeting, described on the registration page as a “Public Forum on School Resource Officers (SRO) and the Relationship between Edmonds School District and our local Law Enforcement Agencies.” If you are interested in participating in or speaking at this community forum, you can register for this event HERE.
As the Black Lives Matter movement continues and gains support, more and more anti-racism resources are being shared. There have been many articles/infographics with lists of popular anti-racism titles, the bestseller lists now read like one of those articles. As those titles sell out, Sno-Isle library has some instant access featured titles by bestselling authors that includes So You Want to Talk about Race by Ijeoma Oluo and Me and White Supremacy Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor by Layla F. Saad. You can find those titles on Sno-Isle.org.
Anti-racism book titles are not the only resources being shared. At our house, we are learning about Black history, authors, and artists. Artist Danielle Coke shares her art on Instagram, @ohhappydani, which features steps for “Allyship During A Crisis,” “Reading The Signals (Allyship During Race Conversations)” and “Areas to Diversify In Daily Life.” Of the resources posted this week, let’s start a virtual option for education about Juneteenth, a holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.
Washington State Rep. and former Snohomish County Executive John Lovick is hosting Juneteenth: A Celebration of Freedom via Zoom on Friday, June 19 from 7 to 8:30 pm. “All are welcome” to join Rep. Lovick and his guests and “bring your inspirational messages of peace, hope, and freedom to share.” Those interested are asked to register in advance at https://tinyurl.com/JuneteenthJohnLovick. You can find more information on the Facebook Events page.
Recently, the dyslexia organizations and groups that I follow have been highlighting Black authors, graphic novels featurings Black protagonists, and a list of Anti-Racist Graphic novels – I mentioned graphic novels twice because the text in comics is better suited to dyslexics. Decoding Dyslexia’s Washington Branch shared Doctor Dyslexia Dude, otherwise known as Dr. Shawn Robinson. Dr. Robinson writes about the achievement gap among black males and also pens the comic which follows Dr. Robinson/Dr. Dyslexia Dude as he struggles with school and then learns how to read. You can find the comic on his DrDyslexiaDude.com. While you can’t find the title on Sno-Isle.org yet, you can find some of the titles listed in the School Library Journal’s list of 12 Graphic Novels with Black Protagonists. We used our Sno-Isle library card on Hoopla.com to access Newbery Medal winning New Kid by Jerry Craft, the Shuri comics by Nnedi Okorafor and Rachael Scott, and Quincredible by Rodney Barnes – I called a friend who has a career in comics expert and he added Naomi by Brian Michael Bendis and David Walker
This week, a group of families with dyslexic students in Washington posted a list of Anti-Racist Graphic Novels compiled by Publishers Weekly. This list includes a lot of books and has suggestions listed under the categories Black Life and History, Civil Rights Movement, Criminal Justice, and Race and Social Justice. This list includes March by John Lewis, Black Panther by Ta-Nehisi Coates, and Your Black Friend and Other Strangers by Ben Passmore.
— By Jennifer Marx
Jen Marx, an Edmonds mom of two boys, is always looking for a fun place to take the kids that makes them tired enough to go to bed on time.