From the Superintendent: Our Strong Community
Dear Clarkston Communty Schools Families,
The past 10 days have been incredibly challenging for all of us. My recent notes have focused on the measures being taken to ensure safety in our schools, and these updates will certainly continue. However, these hard facts, procedures, and protocols are only one part of our journey as we move forward.
As a district, we’ve spent a lot of time processing the tragedy in Oxford and doing our own soul searching, both as educators and as parents. We are all human, and not one of us is immune to the myriad of emotions that we have recently experienced. It’s difficult to show vulnerability, but I want you to know that we have cycled through fear, confusion, and sadness, among other emotions. As we all continue to move forward, we can recognize how life constantly changes. It seesaws between hardship and triumph, loss and renewal, and joy and sorrow. At the center of existence, relationships and community is what binds and unites us to a bigger whole. Especially in times like this, our schools, staff, and families are the thread that stitches together a community.
During this past week, I’ve been visiting classrooms. I’ve been connecting with our teachers and students and experiencing an overwhelming sense of community. Each building has its own community, and within that, each classroom is a micro-community or family built on trust and care. Just like a family, our classrooms are comprised of many different personalities and different ways of coping. Some individuals are quick to process, while others need time. There are those who are hopeful and find ways to bring joy to the classroom, while others may still be sad and fearful. That is why coming together is the first step in our healing process. While we all process things differently, I believe it’s important to remember there is no script or timeline. Every adult and child will feel different emotions at different times, and that’s ok.
I’ve been listening closely to the experts with every decision I have made throughout this time. First and foremost, it is essential to get back into our routine. After that, it’s a combination of time, self-care, and reflection. We’ve encouraged our staff to find ways to tap into spiritual or other community connections and to take care of themselves physically and emotionally. This is good advice for all of us. The final piece, and maybe the most important, is to appreciate the sacred moments in our lives. That may be as simple as interacting with your children and loved ones or enjoying a favorite activity. Be sure to take stock of all the good in your life.
While the incidents in Oxford have changed us forever, we will find our new normal over time. In the meantime, we still have supports in place if your students need them. Please reach out to us if you need resources, and contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any additional questions or concerns. We will provide another communication to you next week with a more detailed account of the plans and protocols we’re updating and implementing both in the short and long run.
Dr. Shawn Ryan
Superintendent of Schools
About Clarkston Community Schools: Clarkston is a highly regarded school district with an enrollment of nearly 7,100 students. We have seven elementary schools (K-5), one middle school serving grades 6-7, one junior high for grades 8-9, and Clarkston High School, which serves students in grades 10-12. We also have a virtual academy, an Early Childhood Center serving children ages 3-5, and an alternative high school/community education facility. Clarkston Community Schools students are well-prepared for a future that excites them, and believe that they can achieve their dreams. The mission of Clarkston Community Schools is to create a learning environment where students, staff, and families are challenged, healthy, engaged, safe, and supported.
Read more Clarkston Community Schools News at www.clarkston.k12.mi.us/news.
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