I just want echo Cara’s thanks to everyone who helped to organize, volunteer at, fundraise for and participate in the walk-a-thon! And thanks to Cara as well for her wonderful leadership! It was a lovely and beneficial day, in many different ways.
While I was there a number of folks asked me questions about the motivation behind Monday’s “community conversation” so I want to share my responses with everyone...
First of all, thank you for asking! After 7-8 months of attempted engagement with OUSD board members and staff that many of us felt were ignored, it is understandable that members of our community are dubious about a gathering that addresses our future.
Here are the main ones:
Is this something the District is doing to try to gloss over a situation that many folks are unhappy with?
No. This gathering came about because PTA board members had a similar conversation shortly after the school board’s vote to close/merge Kaiser and we found it helpful to be candid about our feelings, concerns and hopes for the future. That is why we wanted to share the opportunity with the rest of the school. OUSD board members and staff are not invited. This is limited to Kaiser parents, caregivers, faculty and staff. (We will have free childcare onsite for kids.)
Are we going to try to pretend like nothing is wrong?
Nope. We realize that many still feel a lot of pain and anger over what has happened, and there are differing opinions on how best to proceed. At the same time we all want to minimize stress for our kids and make the most of the time we have together this year. We also realize we have very limited amount of time left before we all have to decide what we are doing next year.
We are creating a space where folks can openly express what they are feeling. Based on the number of people and the intensity of what we are discussing, we thought it would be helpful to bring in someone with a background in facilitation, conflict resolution and equity issues, to help us in the process. We realize there are no simple answers and we can’t resolve things in a night, but we hope this will be an important first step in helping us to move forward as a community.
Because we are providing pizza and childcare, it is extremely helpful if you RSVP so we can get an accurate headcount. (But you are still welcome to come either way.) Please note in the comments if/how many of your children will require childcare.
If you already RSVP’d via the web address on the flyer, thank you! You do not need to respond again.
Hope to see you tomorrow if you feel like this would be meaningful for you.