A Message from the Principal Department

Dear Viking Families:
I find myself, yet again, writing a letter that addresses a crisis that significantly impacts the lives and safety, both physical and emotional, of our students. I know that it has taken me a few days to write my thoughts to all of you, but that is not for lack of attention to or caring about recent events. During these last few days, my priority has been to ensure the physical and emotional well-being of my staff so they are able to continue their work in breaking down the barriers that lead to the educational inequities that are so pervasive in our society. They need to have the emotional strength to support our students, who are scared and angry.
And, frankly, I have been paralyzed. While I may consider myself to be an effective leader, these past few days I have been at a loss. Not only do I not presume to know the answers to resolving the crisis we are facing, I am not even sure I know the questions. So, I have committed myself to being quiet and to listening, allowing space for those who are most impacted to lead the conversation so that I may learn. What I do know, however, is that we are at a crucible in this country; the next steps we take in the immediate future will have significant implications on the outcomes and resolution to crises of educational resource inequities, institutional racism, human rights, civil rights, personal safety, economic stability and on and on and on. 
And as a principal who loves her children, the myriad of barriers they face to feeling whole and safe and to getting all of the opportunities they need and deserve are constantly floating through my brain … barriers driven by gender identity, diverse learning needs, immigration and citizenship, poverty, and institutional and cultural racism. And, while all of these issues are true and important, right now the urgency to focus solely on the conversation of institutional and cultural racism needs to be recognized and accepted. Like all of you, I have been physically sickened by the images of Mr. Floyd’s last moments on this earth, and I wanted to look away. If the pain and anguish that has been articulated through all of the actions we have seen in recent days are stifled - and if we look away - we all lose. And we all lose big. 
While we Amundsen teachers cannot correct centuries of institutional practices built on racism and the inequitable distribution of resources and opportunity that have deprived individuals in our black and brown communities of their fundamental rights and privileges, we can - and we will - prioritize creating an educational system that builds generations of students who feel empowered, educated, hopeful, prepared, respected, valued, safe and loved - by each and every one of us, each and every minute of each and every day. It is a work in progress, but we will get this work done! 
Someone said to me once, “When it comes to doing what is right for children, you have to speak up and speak loudly, even if your voice is shaking.” On behalf of the Amundsen administration, we vow to speak up and to speak loudly to ensure that the academic and emotional needs of our students are being met so that they feel empowered, educated, hopeful, prepared, respected, valued, safe, and loved - by each and every one of us, each and every minute of each and every day. 
Anna Pavichevich