From the Superintendent: Effects of Ebola on Immigrant Families, Recognize Native American Heritage Month in November

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Dear Colleagues:  

Time and time again, I find that what I’ve learned about racial equity here at SPPS has practical applications in many parts of my life.

Because of my racial equity training, for example, I look differently at how Ebola is affecting our country. I can’t help but think about how new immigrants coming to our country have hopes and dreams for a better future for their families. But with the widespread fear of Ebola, their hopes and dreams can become nightmares when their children are shunned or ostracized for a virus they do not carry.

Let’s all work hard to balance our students’ absolute right to safety with other students’ need for compassion and dignity. Let’s show the nation how Saint Paul Public Schools can be secure AND loving.

Another way SPPS can lead the way for the nation is by recognizing that November isn’t the only month for recognizing the rich contributions of our native peoples. True, President George H.W. Bush in 1990 proclaimed November as National Native American Heritage Month. But I hope our schools highlight contemporary American Indian contributions throughout the year by:

  • Displaying individual American Indian students’ work in display cases and on bulletin boards.
  • Visiting the Multicultural Resource Center where trunks full of American Indian artifacts and lessons are displayed and can be borrowed by schools and classrooms.
  • Going to a school media center or library to get a fabulous book written by or about American Indians.  
  • Highlighting foods indigenous to Minnesota as part of the healthy foods on "Minnesota Thursdays."

It hardly seems possible that we are approaching Halloween and November is around the corner. I look forward to getting out into our schools to see you teaching and connecting with the students over the next months. I can’t wait.

Your very proud superintendent,

Valeria Silva