A Note from the Principal

During this morning's half-day for students and with a big assist from our PTO, we hosted the first JH Challenge we've been able to have since 2019. Though the uncertain weather moved our activities 100% inside, students were able to participate in events like human hungry hungry hippo, an inflatable obstacle course, a quiz competition, a hula hoop contest, and more. I hope your own child came home today with stories to share about experiences from today and that memories of the day carry far into the future. Be sure to ask about the events in which your child competed, and congratulations to the light blue "Smurf" team on its championship and pending pizza party!

Unfortunately, the highlight for the week didn't up being the headline. Wednesday's events at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas have been weighing heavily on the hearts and minds of our students, teachers, and staff, and I would venture to guess that nearly every person in our building - and likely our community and our country - has been processing through this. How did it happen? How can the victims' families and friends be supported in this moment? How do we prevent something like this from ever happening again? I would like to be able to use phrasing here that makes this tragedy seem novel, unbelievable, or even impossible. In my own reflections since Wednesday, though, I've been left with a question: What major change has occurred since the last tragedy like this one? 

For our part, we continue to have safety drills and to communicate that students have options in the event of an emergency. We have structural safety mechanisms in place in our buildings. We have an actively cultivated relationship with the Oakwood Safety Department, and we work specifically to develop connections with and among our students. We have professionals specifically in place to provide needed services like social-emotional learning, mental health therapy (when eligible), behavioral intervention, social skills, and counseling. On the home front, families access additional supports beyond school hours and alongside physical and emotional health care providers. We strive to partner with you, too, in addressing any educational needs of your child. Still, the question nags: What major change has occurred since the last tragedy like this one? Written another way, what are we actively and collectively doing to avoid a next one?

I purposely avoid politicized statements, and that won't change in this LINX. That is, unless this statement is political: Each person's life has great value, and we should not simply accept that some will be lost too soon. I am not asking for us to start by agreeing on a proposed solution - I am asking us to agree there is a problem requiring one. I am asking that we ask and answer 'why' enough times that we're left with an actionable starting point allowing each of us to do something. Our children, our educators, our first responders, and all people deserve a safe and welcoming environment in which to learn, play, work, and grow. It is worth it for us to establish that environment - now how do we do it together? This isn't someone else's problem - it is all of ours.

In the past 100 years, our great nation has landed people on the moon. We have led computing advances building connections to everywhere and everyone. We have developed cures and treatments never before possible. Together, we can accomplish great things when we prioritize them. What will we prioritize?

P.S. If your child needs to talk and you don't know where to start, you can call the National Parent Helpline at 1-855-4A PARENT (1-855-427-2736) to get emotional support from a trained Advocate. They are available Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Nobody has the answers every time, and you shouldn't hesitate to ask for help if you may need it!