From the superintendent

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Dear Colleagues:

According to the popular holiday song, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” and for many of us, it is. We look forward to mouthwatering feasts, sparkling decorations and bountiful gifts from family and friends.

I know many of you realize that’s not the case for some of our students. For one thing, they may not celebrate Christmas. For another, winter break can be full of stress and anxiety.

Why? Because the 12 days they have off school for winter break mean 12 days where they don’t know what’s coming next.

You see, school for these children is the equivalent of stability and security. They might not be able to verbalize that fact, but they know it in their bones.

They know that in school they’ll have food. That in school, they won’t get hurt. That in school, activities happen at regular intervals without fail. They can trust that. And they do.

That’s not to say they don’t want a vacation like every other student, but they know that in many ways, it’s not a vacation.

How could that be? Students who qualify for free- and reduced-price lunches in SPPS – if they’re from a family of four – survive on an annual income of between $30,615 and $43,568. And that’s approximately 75% of our students. Some 2,000 of those students don’t even have a place to call home.

I am grateful for the number of students in SPPS who don’t live this reality – those who are heading to Grandma’s house or even a family vacation. At this time of year, however, I can’t help thinking of those without.

Experienced staffers will know that students in need may demonstrate their stress this next week by being jittery, anxious or even acting out in class. Extra patience may be required. Our students need to be reassured that school will come again, and that you’ll look forward to seeing their beautiful faces in the new year.

If you have information you can share with families about where they can get needed food or shelter during this season, please do so. Your thoughtfulness and caring may be just the gift these families need.

Thank you for the love, patience and care you provide our students now and throughout the school year.

Your very proud superintendent,

Silva Signature


 

Valeria S. Silva