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From Julie Craven

February 5, 2019

Dear RAUC Families,

Last Wednesday, Superintendent Salim sent a Statement on Racist Language to the entire Cambridge Public Schools community. I want to follow up on Dr. Salim’s message by sharing the ways we address concerns about discriminatory language and behavior at RAUC.

First, we work hard to lay a foundation of trust for students and families so that individuals feel safe reporting any concerns to us. You can expect that we will immediately investigate as soon as we learn of a concern. Please see the attached district policy, Dealing with Microaggressions, Harassment, and Discrimination in School to understand what that process looks like. As the policy notes, while our plan of action will vary depending on the situation, our priority is to remedy the problem as quickly as possible. We also believe in healing and growth. Whether the situation is peer to peer, or teacher to student, our hope is to bring the involved parties together so that those hurt are able to safely express their feelings and those responsible have an opportunity to take responsibility for the impact of their words or actions and make a commitment to grow. That may looks like facilitated mediation in the presence of a trusted adult, or a restorative circle. We will always contact families of students directly or indirectly involved--the timing and mode of communication will vary depending on the situation. 

Additionally, we are committed to strengthening our capacity to, as Dr. Salim notes, “identify instances of interpersonal and structural racism within CPS and the ways that we, as individuals, unintentionally perpetuate racism.” We have dedicated five our staff meetings this year to working with the same group guiding school administrators and city elected officials, Disruptive Equity Education Project (DEEP). Indeed, our next equity-focused staff meeting is February 11. I look forward to sharing with you some of the materials we examine to give you a more detailed picture of that work. Social Studies teachers benefitted from last year’s departmental professional development focus on culturally responsive instruction, and have been leaders in bringing that learning back to their teams.

We also want to build student capacity around these issues. Teachers work to embed conversations about race, identity and equity into the curriculum. In particular, our Social Studies teachers start September with an identity unit; themes from those units are returned to throughout the year. Health and Advisory are other places were such work happens. And we are grateful for the conversations we know that families and students have outside of school. You send us thoughtful, engaged young people, ready to make this world a better place. 

Please continue to engage with us in this important and challenging work. Please also consider joining our Courageous Conversations about Race with members of the RAUC, Peabody, and Baldwin communities--our next conversation is Tuesday evening, February 26. Finally, please continue to feel free to reach out to me or any RAUC staff member with your questions or concerns.

With respect and gratitude,

Julie Craven
Head of School