Parents/Guardians and Commack Community:
here in the Commack school district are reflecting on the events and unrest
that our nation is facing due to racism and the myriad of egregious and violent
acts perpetrated upon people of color. As individuals and a community, it
behooves us to examine our views on racial injustice and inequality, and
address these long-standing issues in our own thoughts, feelings and actions.
Commack has always prided itself on being an inclusive district; welcoming everyone regardless of their race, nationality or religion; a District where there is no tolerance for hate, racism, or violence; and our curriculum has been designed to address these matters. However, as we have often stated, “there are things we simply don’t know and perhaps can’t understand.” In this polarizing era, it is easy to get one’s “back up” and insist that I understand this, or I understand that. However, a true community of learners must lean
into the uncertainty and acknowledge that, “every decision is based on missing or faulty data,” and they don’t know everything! As a district, we recognize this reality.
As you may know, we recently formed the Post COVID Reopening Task Force. At this time, we are announcing the inclusion of a multi-racial, Curriculum Review Panel of this Task Force. The Panel will consist of teachers, staff, students, parents, and outside specialists tasked with engaging in a K to 12 review of our curriculum and determining how we can learn from our past and engage in our future. Moving forward, we will endeavor to assure our program is designed in a way that is open-minded and recognizes the need to understand the greater world from various perspectives and confronts the explicit and implicit biases that may shape those perspectives. This may include lobbying the State to allow for shifts in standards and reductions in mandated testing so as to create more time for engagement with these critical issues. More information on this Panel and its work will be published in the coming months as we share progress to engage the “hearts and minds” of ALL of Commack’s students, faculty, and parents.
In closing, the pandemic is stressful enough for all of us, without adding fear and uncertainty of violence to the mix. Please know that our faculty, staff, psychologists, counselors, and social workers are here for our community and are committed to supporting your social and emotional well-being. If you wish to speak with someone or need additional resources to help your children process all the changes and upheaval of the last few months, please contact them at your child’s school. Although we are not physically together at this point in time, we care very deeply about each and every member of our school community. Parents, as we and our children grapple with the many images on social media and television during these challenging times, we urge you to assure your children that there is a future ahead of us with school, friends, and most importantly, hope. The future is bright as we will all come together, taking to heart the lessons of these last months, and our history before it, to support a more peaceful and just society.
sincerest of continued hope and gratitude,
Donald A. James
Commack Board of Education
Hartman, President Jarrett Behar, Vice President William Hender, Trustee
Susan Hermer, Trustee Justin
are some additional resources that you may find helpful:
To Say To Kids When The News Is Scary (NPR): https://www.npr.org/2019/04/24/716704917/when-the-news-is-scary-what-to-say-to-kids
Ways to Talk to Kids About Events in the News: https://www.education.com/slideshow/talk-kids-about-news/difficult-to-predict/