The Norwalk Board of Education and Norwalk Public Schools strongly support the international movement to condemn racial violence and oppression against people of color. We stand in solidarity with the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and the long list of Black and brown people who have been systemically victimized throughout the history of our country. We join the NAACP in calling for concrete action, while we acknowledge that we still have significant work to do in our own community.
No matter where it takes place, police brutality against unarmed Black people deeply impacts all of us as individuals and as communities. Racial and ethnic discrimination of any type is a multi-faceted stain on our society. None of us may be able to influence all aspects of systemic racism, but we owe it to each other to try.
For our part, the murder of George Floyd requires all of us at Norwalk Public Schools to reflect on our past successes and failures. We must renew our commitment to closing the achievement gap for ALL children, faster and more effectively than ever before. Achieving equity in educational outcomes can equip our children to lead influential lives and sever the multiple tentacles of racism in their time. Our schools exist to serve as the engine of the American Dream for students of all colors, backgrounds and persuasions.
As we welcome Dr. Alexandra Estrella to our district as Norwalk’s next superintendent of schools, we view this as an opportunity to embark on a guided process of self-reflection and examination. We will focus on equity, using data to identify the areas where we need to improve in serving our Black students and all students of color. We will continue to address discipline policies and other practices that may unfairly impact students of color. We will ensure that students of color are not over-diagnosed for special education, and that all students have equitable access to gifted programs and academically rigorous instruction. We will hire and advance the careers of more educators who reflect the diversity of our district. We will continue to train staff to recognize and address bias within themselves, their colleagues, and the system. And we will expand and enhance our age-appropriate work with children at all grades levels to discuss race and racism, teach tolerance, and empower students to enact changes for a more just society.
We are working to make a world where all students have the same opportunities to succeed and be fulfilled, where the playing field is truly level. We would love to hear thoughts and suggestions from the community. To send an email to the whole board, please write to: [email protected].