Hello AmPark Families,
This week two examples of the systemic racism that pervades our country were once again in the headlines. One of these incidents involved a man that many of our staff members and children know. Mr. Christian Cooper has been involved with AmPark’s partnership with the Audubon Society for many years. Students across the grades know him as he has pioneered a free after school birding program specifically for our children. And while I do not personally know Mr. George Floyd, I do know that his life was worthy and had value. A beautiful piece of bird watching, is noticing the subtle differences between the species, such as the length of a tail, the rounding of a beak, or the shape of their feet. It is these distinctions, and sometimes very subtle ones, that make the birds so complex and that draws people, like Mr. Cooper, into studying them. How sadly ironic that in both of these examples, the human complexity, the varied traits, the connections to others, and the totality of both men was unseen when they were reduced to their race and its societal implications.
As a white woman and school leader, I have questioned my role and have deliberated over what to say, what to do, and where to do so. I have felt trepidation and have been nervous to “get it wrong.” So much privilege shows up in these feelings. While speaking about race and privilege may cause me to break from some of the white solidarity that exists in our society and experience discomfort, these worries do not pose a threat of safety to my life, my job, or my family. My intent in naming these acts of racism and sharing my thoughts here today is to invite other white people to examine the role that whiteness plays in their lives and in their actions. I will own that it is not enough, not nearly.
Watching Mr. Cooper’s video has forced me to consider the times that I have seen myself in ways similar to Ms. Cooper. Implicit bias and unchecked privilege have shown up for me at times in irrational fears, in rule-breaking without much fear of reprisal, and in complicit silence. One way that I can continue to do better and be better is through community conversations and using my position as principal to create more spaces for them. I believe that we as a staff are called to the work of equity, and I believe this school was founded with similar intention. We have much work to do.
We have sent our love and support to Mr. Cooper and it was warmly received.
Daily Dose of Self- Care: Affirmations
Monday, June 1st - I can be an upstander.
Tuesday, June 2nd - I am a voice, not an echo.
Wednesday, June 3rd - I do all the good I can by all the means I can.
Thursday, June 4th (No school for students) - I speak up for others.
Friday, June 5th - I treat others the way I want to be treated.
This Week's LIVE Events
All links will be posted in classrooms and shared in the Owl Blog Post email blast : )
Monday - One Book One School Chapter 3 of Rich, A Dyamonde Daniel Book
Tuesday - Worry Doll Art Share with Ina and Mike Molloy; A time to share the beautiful artistry put into the dolls created and even some of the worries that we may be sharing with them.
Wednesday - One Book One School Chapter 4 of Rich, A Dyamonde Daniel Book
Thursday - NO LIVE event as school in not “in-session” on Thursday, June 4th. Teachers citywide will engage in professional learning.
Friday - One Book One School Chapter 5 of Rich, A Dyamonde Daniel Book
AmPark’s Got Talent! (But you need to send it to show it!!)
AmPark, we've been calling out for submissions and only a brave (and incredibly talented) few have answered! We may be remote, but that's no reason we can't showcase the magic that our AmPark Family has to share! We're extending the deadline for submissions and pushing the share of the event to the week of June 8th!
Going remote does pose some challenges, so we're going to ask that all submissions be sent in by Friday June 5th. This will give the AmPark team time to upload and cue up videos to show during the live events.
The videos will be shown in live Zoom events, giving each of our students a moment to shine and be seen for the stars that they are! Please ensure that no video is longer than 4 minutes. All videos are to please be sent to Bonnie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Any families who would like to help in curating and supporting the event, please reach out to Bonnie as well!
We cannot wait to see you shine AmPark Stars!
Optional Tutoring Resource Available through Public Libraries
The City of New York’s three public library systems—Brooklyn Public Library, New York Public Library, and Queens Public Library—are providing free access to Brainfuse, which is an online tutoring platform for families and students. This resource is available seven days a week, from 2:00–11:00 p.m., and provides support to all grade levels in the following areas:
The UFT has re-opened its Dial-A-Teacher program, a homework help line for students, run by classroom teachers. This resource is available from 4:00–7:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday, for students in grades K–5. Due to limitations caused by school building closures, the help line is currently only available for ELA and math homework from teachers speaking English. The UFT is hoping to expand to other subjects, grades, and languages soon. Please share this optional resource with your school community.
Regarding Supplemental Print Materials:
Where possible, digital copies of print material will be available for students and families on the Activities for Students family-facing NYCDOE webpage.